last night i dyed my 6.5 + oz. of 50/50 merino silk batt.
i was kind of nervous because it’s such nice fiber and it didn’t want to ruin it. i was mostly worried that i wouldn’t like the color, but then i thought, i like bright colors and the flexibility of mixing, i don’t want to work with smelly chemicals, and i like the fruity smell of kool-aid so kool-aid dyeing it is!
last summer i took a kool-aid dyeing class at far north yarn co. so i had a little experience. the only problem, i don’t have a microwave! so i did some research and found quite a few sites with microwave and stovetop instructions.
the results of my yarn from class last summer:
i decided to split the batt in half and do two solid colors. one grape, one lemon lime.
the most useful info i found: click here.
for other instructions and great photos of the many different kool-aid colors, click here.
so, i started with raw fiber above.
you mix up the kool-aid to the shade that you want (the more water, the lighter the shade, duh).
you are supposed to soak the fiber in hot water for 30 minutes or so, but i totally forgot this and remembered as i was starting to pour the purpleness on my dry fiber. so i stopped and soaked:
this is the biggest saucepan you will ever see and a ton of fiber (though it doesn’t look like it in the picture). i used 5 packets of koolaid on this fiber.
i could have used more kool-aid to make the fiber more uniform, but this batt is merino and silk. silk does not soak up kool-aid dye as well as merino- which i really like about dyeing with kool-aid. i think it gives a more interesting yarn and it will have a better variation of color and white space.
when you have the fiber the color you want, make sure you cover the fiber with water. put it on the stovetop covered at about medium heat. as it starts to get warmer, turn it to the lowest setting, or turn it off if you have a gas range that doesn’t allow it to simmer and let it “steam” – DO NOT BOIL. the steaming sets the color. you can flip it if you want, but by now the color should be saturated where it is going to stay.
after 25-30 minutes, you can remove it from the heat. it will be extremely hot, so be careful! the water in the pan should be clear.
rinse with cold water to cool off the fiber. once cool, you can give it a light soap rinse (i didn’t do this since i’m going to spin it and i will wet finish once spun into yarn). hang to dry.
i followed the same method with the lemon-lime kool-aid (i used 6 packets). and i mixed up one packet of lemon to add some extra color to the white spaces.
the wacky wild results:
you can do the same with undyed yarn (and it doesn’t have to be white). animal fibers do well with kool-aid dyeing, but plant fibers need a more chemical dye. i’m not an expert on this, but there are plenty of websites and instructions out there!
i love the vibrant results and the fruity smells wafting through the house and can’t wait to spin it!
oh, i forgot about this in my last post. last week corinne brought me this:
the lighter color is from nootka (the wolfy one buku is snuggling with) and the darker fiber is from harley (the darker dog on the couch):