Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It's time to dye!

I've been knitting baby Autumn a winter hat with some grey Patton's wool I picked up at Joann's.  I was hoping to have some nice pink stripes in it as well, but the closest Joann's is small and they didn't have any pink wool in stock.

No big deal though - if it's a Koolaid color I can just dye it!   I've done it before when dying yarn for Isaac's wool longies and Eve's playsilks.
...but given it's been a few years since then, I had to go read my notes on it from last time.  I had documented the process with playsilks well, but for wool yarn, my notes were scarce.... so I'm filling them in!

To start, you need just a few things - vinegar, Koolaid, cream/white wool yarn and water.  Since we're using the microwave method, we'll also need two microwave safe bowls and... a microwave.

I checked out this website before picking up the colors at the store.   I referenced the colors on my kindle while dying, to see if I wanted to adjust the intensity. 
I'm using strawberry (fist one top left) and pink lemonade (third one, top left).
First step, put the sweet baby in the mei tai.  You'll might want two hands :)

Soak the yarn in a mixture of vinegar and lukewarm water.  You don't need much vinegar, about a table spoon.

Mix the koolaid and a tablespoon of vinegar in lukewarm water.  The size of the container doesn't matter much.  It just needs to be able to hold enough liquid to cover the yarn.

Now we start microwaving.  Heat in two minutes at a time, with about a 3-5 minute break in between.  When the water goes clear/white, all the dye is absorbed, and you'll all done microwaving.
Before microwaving
After 2 minutes

After 4 minutes
 I could have gone another round, as there was a little pink left in the bowl, but I was happy with the color I got.  Place it in a another bowl and set that aside, to cool it a bit (and so you can work on the other colors).

Here's my strawberry with about half a packet of pink lemonade mixed in.  I probably should have done half a package of strawberry and a whole pack of pink lemonade to get the color I wanted.  Still, it turned out nice.

Here's the progression of this color -
Before Microwaving
After 2 minutes
After 4 minutes
I pulled this one out early as well.  I could have gotten a lot darker of a color if I wanted. 

Once the yarn has cooled, it's time to run it under the faucet until the water runs clear.  Be mindful not to "shock" the wool with big temperature changes.  I kept the white bowl under there so I could be sure the water was actually clear. 

A trick to get the yarn (or anything you have to handwash) to dry quicker is to wrap it up in a dry towel/washcloth.  The colors in the photo below are fairly close to real life.

Once it's rolled up. Squeeze.  Re-roll and press again.

 Leave it to dry and go relax and have some tea do laundry.  Who am I kidding, if you have kids, dying wool is the relaxing part of the day :)
Note, the colors are off

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