Thursday, July 2, 2015

My First Adventure in Dyeing Yarn

Why yes that is about 25 packets of kool-aid. In the past year, I have become obsessed with the idea of creating my own yarn colors. I combed the internet for different methods of dyeing. I stalked etsy for any idea of how these gorgeous color combinations had been reached. And finally, after some research, I decided it was time I give it a try.

From left to right: method 1, method 2, method 3, method 3

I am going to give a quick review of my thoughts on each method along with what colors I used and a swatch of how it looked all knit up.

Method 1, as found here

This method was for a nice ombre yarn. I really liked the idea of a red/purple/blue ombre, and so I grabbed 5 packets of blue raspberry lemonade and 5 packets of black cherry, hoping the two would meet in the middle and make purple.

I wound my yarn into a ball, got it wet, tossed that sucker in my pot with the blue, and started heating up the water. When the water became clear, I unrolled my ball, wound it the other way, and tossed it in a clean pot with the red and followed instructions.

I was worried that this would felt my yarn, which was 100% wool (dyeing with kool-aid only works on animal fibers) but it came out fine.

What didn't come out fine were the colors.

Don't get me wrong, I love the way this yarn turned out once it was knit up, but there wasn't any purple. My red and blue did not meet each other and resulted in a very patriotic looking bit of yarn. The ombre was interesting, though not as gradual as I had hoped. There were definitely some sudden, harsh lines of color. I would say it was a happy accident, though. Picture on the left shows the yarn, pattern is from a previous blog posting.

Method 2, as found here

With this, I used 5 packets of grape kool-aid. Again, I was worried that the boiling water used in this method would result in my yarn being felted, but I was once again pleasantly surprised. This method was definitely the messiest, however, as when I poured the water into the dish, it splashed everywhere, and I was covered from head to toe in tiny splatterings of kool-aid.                                                                             I love the way this turned out, however. Because of the way the yarn sucked up some of the dye but not all of it, I ended up with some really pretty lavenders and periwinkle along with the darker purple. A downside to this is the grape has a really strong scent. I rinsed this for much longer than the other colors, but it still smells while the others the scents washed out pretty well.

Method 3, as found here

This by far was my favorite method. I loved the colors I used. I loved how easy (and non-messy) it was. There was no splattering, and I didn't have to sit by my pot of water to make sure it didn't boil.

I used 5 packets of watermelon and 5 packets of peach mango. The two mixed in the middle and created the most gorgeous orange/pink/peach color, and I'm completely in love with the way it turned out.

All being said, I'm excited to try out some different methods in the future. I'm most excited to experiment with natural dyes made from plants, though I might also venture into the realm of more professional dyes. 

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