Friday, March 18, 2011

Dying with Kool-Aid

Last year, I decided I wanted to give my hand a try at dying yarn.  I'd been seeing a lot of craft projects worked up with hand-dyed yarn and thought it looked so amazing.  The trouble with this plan is 1) I'd never dyed yarn and had no clue what to do and 2) Little fingers getting into the dye and getting hurt.  But then I saw where people had dyed yarn using Kool-Aid.  You know that drink from your childhood.  So I thought, Awesome!  This is something I can try and it's non-toxic.

So I did.

Here's the process I used to Kool-Aid dye two skeins of Debbie Stoller's Full 'O Sheep 100% Natural Wool (colorway Little Lamb).

Tools Needed: 100% Natural Wool, Packages of Kool-Aid in color choice(s), Pan, Pot, Water, & Space for drying

First: Unravel you're yarn and tie loosely.  This will allow the dye to reach all the yarn.

Second: Pull out your Kool-Aid packages.  I used two packs of Black Cherry and two packs of Lemonaide. (I had kind of tie-dyed effect with the yarn, where the color is lighter in areas.  Next time I will use more Kool-Aid for a stronger, and hopefully more even, dying.)

Third: Soak your yarn in a very luke warm water bath.  If the water is too hot it could start to felt and you don't want that.

Fourth: While you're yarn is soaking, you want all the yarn to get good and saturated, fill a pot with water and let that water start to warm on the stove.

Fifth: Just before the water starts to boil, remove from heat and drop in your Kool-Aid packs and give it a stir.

Sixth: Gently place your presoaked yarn in the Kool-Aid water.  Stir gently around to help the dye reach all the nooks and cranies of the yarn or just swirl around to help create a kind of tie-dyed effect.  Becareful not to cause too much agitation however, because you do not want to felt the yarn.

Seventh: Let your yarn sit in the water.  The yarn will start to absorb the dye from the water, and you will see you're yarn become colorful.

Eighth: Once the yarn has cooled and absorbed all the dye, remove from the pans and place in a fresh pan of water, roughly the same temperature as the yarn. Rinse the yarn (You can use a mild soap to wash the yarn.).

Ninth: Once your yarn is rinsed, gently wring it out to get as much excess water out of the yarn as you can.  Then hang you're yarn and allow it to dry.

Tenth: Roll, wind or ball your Kool-Aid dyed yarn and use!

There are a lot of great tutorials online for dying with Kool-Aid. Just Google How to Dye Yarn with Kool-Aid and you'll get about 1,250,000 results.  I read many of these tutorials and watched some YouTube videos and thought, this is something I can do.

And it really was that easy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A February Lady

Here she is!  Isn't she won-der-ful?!

I might have mentioned, in my last post I think, that I was doing a few KALs. (Knit A-Longs) This was the KAL for the February Ladies Sweater that the Knit Wits Podcast was hosting for the month of February.

Since I'd been eying this pattern for awhile and loving the FOs I saw on Raverly, I grabbed my nose and dove in.  A LOT of firsts for me.  Well, the overall project was a first.  My very first sweater.

But I took a big gulp and did my first buttonholes, My first sleeves, Not my first lace but it was a lot of lace! First time casting on stitches mid-row.  All those firsts!  And I loved it!

Loved it so much I can't wait to make more. This is a wonderful pattern, and is very easy to follow and memorize.  At first glance, read through, it might seem a bit confusing for a first time sweater knitter.  But it all comes together if you take your time.

Here are the notes, I made for the sweater while working it up.  I don't have Pre and Post Block measurements yet, mainly because I haven't blocked it yet.  But I'll update the post once I have them.  Soon.  Very soon!

FO Notes:

  • Cast on for size smaller because I wanted that upsidedown V look to the sweater.
  • I made my buttonholes all in the garter stitch yoke, because I wasn’t crazy about the look of the other sweaters where the last buttonhole was down into the lace. But I think next time I will space them out a little farther apart.
  • I chose not to do the full length sleeves or even to the elbow. When I cast on for the sleeves I realized I wanted my instant gratification to last longer. Blame it on the rising temps here in the south. So I cropped the sleeves and by doing this I only needed two skeins of yarn.
  • I did 18 repeats of Gull Lace for body and the 1.5 inch border.
  • For the sleeves, I did 4 repeats of the Gull Lace and then 4 rows of garter stitch for the border. I didn’t want my border to overwhelm the lace. Especially with my cutting the sleeves so much shorter.
  • Also for the sleeves I used a 16 inch cir. I couldn’t imagine using a 12 in cir like the pattern called for. At times working the lace was tight even on the 16 in.