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Sunday, 11 August 2013

Yarn Dyeing: The First Attempt

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A few years ago I bought some hideous neon green virgin wool from an estate sale. It seemed like a good deal at the time ($0.50 a skein!) and the vintage label (which of course I don't seem to have kept) appealed to me. This was old yarn! And unused yarn! I can save this yarn and give it purpose.

Skip at least two years and one baby, and yeah... no purpose was found. So this afternoon I decided to get off my butt, hand the baby toddler to his father and dye this yarn into acceptability. Perhaps not being completely hideous will help it find it's way.

For reference: I followed Maiya Mahem's Kool Aid Dyeing 101. It's very easy: soak the yarn, heat water on the stove, add dye, leave yarn until it's soaked in colour, squeeze out water, leave to dry. I also received valuable guidance on prepping the yarn from my knitting wizard elizarde. The helpers on the internet, they are the best.

OK, so first I used two packs of Cherry and one Orange Kool-Aid. This was the result:

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Not as saturated as I would have liked, but I was dying over an existing colour, so it was to be expected. Definitely more useable than neon green.

Then I moved onto Kroger food coloring. This is a liberal application of blue:

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Much better. In fact, this is really awesome! I love this colour! I especially like the variation food coloring provides, you seem to have greater control over how the colour spreads across the hank.

So I went all daring and did a combination of green, yellow and red. The yellow turned the neon green towards celery, the green saturated the neon and the red might just be there because I realised there were undyed parts still showing. But it looks marvellous:

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It took most of the afternoon to air dry (I think I should have squeezed it out more), but this was otherwise a quick and easy project that gave me new yarn without much effort. Kool-Aid is cheap, food coloring is about $4 a box and with the right care, the colours shouldn't fade much over time. Definitely going to do this again - I have undyed hanks AND RIT dye in my stash. Who knows what could happen.

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