Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Better Kool-Aid Experience.

Um, so this is how I did the Kool-Aid dyeing the second time, which was distinctly more successful.

Since I have poor impulse-control, I'd gone out and bought more white mohair yarn with which to Try Again. This time after I'd unwound the yarn into hanks on the creaky rocking-chair and pre-soaked the hanks in cool water, I decided to eschew the whole tarp-and-pouring technique. Instead, I plugged up the kitchen sink, filled the bottom with about 3 inches of water, and mixed in 4 or 5 Pink Lemonade Kool-Aid packets.

Then after a few minutes when the yarn had gone a light pink, I put a hank around an old white cutting-board and painted different Kool-Aid colours (pre-mixed in warmish water) on with cheapo paintbrushes. And, I took an action-shot...

I also cheated and didn't *just* use Kool-Aid. Until a few days ago when I exhausted myself cleaning them out, our kitchen had quite a few drawers and cabinets that were filled up with junk. Happily, I discovered some old Easter egg dye tablets in one of said drawers, and the red & yellow tablets came in rather handy.

Plus, I had a half-empty jar of Manic Panic hairdye in Vampire Red (which is a blue-based, magenta-y red, in contrast to the largely yellow-based, orangey reds in Kool-Aid), so I diluted that with varying amounts of water and vinegar, and painted that onto the yarn too. I didn't use much of the hairdye on the fresh, new Pink-Lemonaded yarn, but when I got to the old, ugly, horrific first batch, I had to use a lot of it to try to blend the brown patches I'd accidentally made via mixing Orange and Berry Blue.

So, on the New, Lovely Fresh Batch of yarn, I used lots & lots of Pink Lemonade, and painted it with Strawberry, Cherry, and Orange, plus a bit of diluted hairdye. I'd added some of the red Easter egg dye to the Cherry, too, because it was all looking much too dark-muddy-orange for me, and put some of the yellow Easter egg dye in with the Orange Kool-Aid, since I was afraid I'd just end up with pink yarn instead of having it look at least vaguely interesting and variegated.

Here's how the hanks looked once they were rinsed and drying...

To fix the First Ugly Horrid Batch of yarn, I soaked it in the sink with 4 packets of Black Cherry and a couple of inches of water, then put the hanks over the cutting board and painted big chunks with the Easter egg red and the hairdye. I'm okay with how it turned out, but I think the first batch is my favourite.

Oh, and then when I'd almost finished cleaning up I realized I had a leftover, unfixed hank of the First Ugly Horrid Batch, and I kind of randomly decided to dye that one with nothing but the hairdye mixed with vinegar. It turned out to be lovely in a novelty, too-bright-to-wear way, so I think it's getting saved for a while until I figure out what to do with it. I also dyed one hank of this beige-y heavy-worsted wool I had, because a) it was there, and b) sent it to me even though I didn't order it, and I didn't know what else to do with it.

So, here are all the colours I ended up with, dried and unravelled and re-wound into hanks again...

In an annoying discovery, however, I realized that I had about a swatch's worth of the First Ugly Horrid Batch of yarn left, and I decided to try knitting with it just to see what it would've looked like, and it looks fine. Perfectly acceptable. Possibly even quite a lot better than that batch looks now, actually, because it's lighter and more subtle. So, another thing I shall keep in mind if I try the Kool-Aid dyeing again is that it pays to let the hanks dry, then unwind them and knit a swatch. Even if the hanks are patchy and have huge spots of brown, when you knit the yarn up the colours spread out and I think more often than not it'd end up looking fine.

Oh, and I'd wear really heavy-duty kitchen gloves instead of the thin hairdye-package ones, and I'd probably even Vaseline my hands underneath those, so there would be a much smaller chance of ending up with citric-acid-and-vinegar-burned hands afterwards. And I plan to re-rinse all the yarn again, since the ouch factor when I touch it is still pretty alarming, so I want to make sure all the dye and vinegar are definitely gone before I start knitting my sweater.

Oh thank goodness that's all posted. ~intense relief~ I'm so sick to death of Kool-Aid and mohair and pictures of dyeing things I can't even tell you.

I'm off to curl up and listen to a book and work on the scary Hallowig.


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