Wednesday, September 29, 2004

How Not to Dye Yarn. A Visual Essay.

Well, after an exciting and cramp-filled morning, I am now ready to post some pictures of the Kool-Aid process.

I would like to file an official Note-To-Self at this point, however. Dear, stop taking so many photos. There's just no way to keep up, and no one really wants to see your favourite hank-winding chair, I promise.

There.

Oh, but here's the hank-winding chair anyway. It's the only one that works well for me, and it pleases me to use it because it's the rocking-chair my mom used to sit in when trying to soothe my infant self. I was big on the crying for the first few months, apparently. So here's the chair...



In an interesting (well, interesting to me anyway) side note, the above-pictured chair was left out in the rain once, so all the glue in the joins went to bits and now the chair, when rocking back and forth, creaks and squeals like anything. My mom used to sit in it when I was practicing the piano, too, and so the creaking and the chair are all very Mum-ish (new word I've just made up) for me.

So it makes me kind of happy to use my mom's rocking chair for the yarn-winding. Here is the creaking chair modelling the white mohair I used for the Kool-Aid experiment...



See? I was going somewhere with the whole chair story, ye readers of little faith. So there.

Now, after I read the instructions that go along with the To Dye For sweater-pattern, as well as a *staggering* number of online advice-pages on how to dye yarn with Kool Aid, I used my university education to distill all this information into a workable plan-for-dyeing-yarn.

That is, I put a tarp down on the floor, put the hanks of mohair in the bathtub to pre-soak, mixed up the Kool Aid (and cleverly taped the label-bit from the packet onto each glass so I'd know what flavor was inside), and prepared to start pouring...



You may be interested to note that the above photo is saved under the name "knit-koolaid-tarpidiot.jpg" -- just in case it gives you any idea about how well my carefully-prepared Ideal Dye Setting worked out.

See, I may have mentioned this in my immediate-post-dyeing entries, but if you just pour the Kool-Aid on, or squirt it on with a turkey baster or whatever, it just sort of goes right through and pools underneath, where the tarp keeps it from draining away. So really, it's like one side of each hank is stewing in a combination of all the colours you've used.

This is not a good thing if, like me, you used Orange and Berry Blue together. No, no, no. My advice is, if you're not experienced with the Kool-Aid dyeing, use either warm colours or cool colours, but not both. That is, I think, my Kool-Aid Golden Rule.

That and don't use a tarp.

Using a tarp and the pouring-method, in addition to the nasty mixed-colour stewing effect, also makes it difficult to get all the yarn covered. So you end up having put in all this effort to get lovely subtle variegation, when really you've got something like this...



And when you were going for subtle, having your shower-rail full of dripping, pulpy, bludgeoned-jellyfish-looking** stuff, and then turning around and seeing how very much you've got to clean up before you put the whole episode behind you? Not good. Not even one bit of good.

So, that was Night One of the big experiment. I'll just post this and then move on to how I kind of managed to fix the old icky yarn, and also make a prettier batch from new white mohair.

**I do actually know that jellyfish don't have blood, as such. Still, I feel that the image evoked by my bloody-jellyfish description is accurate and worth distorting facts of biology.

Also, I'm reading Hard Times right now, and thus I have Very Little Respect for facts and reason when they conflict with imaginative pursuits.

Just, um, please don't tell my Dad all that. He's a marine biologist so my attitude would get him right pissed off.

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December 25, 2012 at 2:01 AM  

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