A recent diversion (ADDENDA)

So, lately I've taken to boiling the remnants of farm animals in the bodily fluids of a structure-destroying glass golem.

And dyeing wool yarn in Kool-Aid is fun!

It's simple. The felting is a problem, but a bit of hair conditioner really helps. The first two individual yarns were skeins of Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool. The second were Ella Rae Classic. The two purple skeins were originally blinding magenta pinky-pink. They were also *full* of knots; I believe one had three and the other four. (One knot came apart as I was hanking the ball.) All the other skeins had about one each. The purple and red skein pair were done in the same pot together.

Now, I have no idea when I'm going to use these, though I have plans for them. (The first lavender ball I've already started a brioche rib scarf, the red will be diagonal garter, the two purples will be a triangular shawl, and the red/purple will be opposing triangles.) I'm still working on last Christmas' knitting.

So, I'm trying to start a new urban legend to assuage my guilt: The Alien Dolphins who will be returning on the Mayan New Year, 2012, are yarnoholics. The more yarn you have, the more likely they are to whisk you away to the stars before the earth freezes or burns or SNL's "Sarah Palin 2012" movie trailer comes true. Face it, it's just as believable as the, "Oh, I still have a few openings in my 2019 Hanukkah knitting plans, so I *know* I'll get to it!" you hear from other knitters.


ADDENDA: So I was sent a note with questions....

The variegation: Each picture is something done in one four quart pot. (It's a cooking pot. Kool Aid and salt are safe. The conditioner washes out easily with soap and bit of Windex.)

400 yards of yarn in a pot does not leave a lot of room for water. There was some KA in the initial water, and a follow-up wash when there was white spots. However, most of the KA was poured in, and so it doesn't travel far. This is how I got red and purple in the same pot. The deep maroon streaks are where the two skeins touched. Otherwise, as long as you have more yarn than water and you don't mix thoroughly, you can keep colors fairly distinct, and even end up with very pale areas.

Otherwise, the two single skeins were done separately the first day, then the two pairs were done separately a few weeks later.

Felting: It is very easy to felt yarn when dyeing it, as you have to heat up the water without reaching a boil and you have to stir the water a bit, and then there is agitation with rinsing. (I do several, as I don't like fruit-scented yarn.) The yarn will felt a little. It doesn't turn to a mass-o-felt. It's what I've seen other knitters call "fulling", but even not that extreme if you're careful. The wool usually comes out slightly felted. With a tiny bit of unscented conditioner (I used stuff for "thick and coarse hair) mixed into the rinse water, the yarn comes out softer. It doesn't and can't undo felting, but it "undoes" the slightly felted feel.


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Kerry's picture

Good colours.

Tallguy's picture

I have found that too many people just can't keep their fingers out of the pot! LOL So when dyeing, you MUST not touch! Simple. There is the tendency to get a stick in there to stir, to lift and check on dyeing. But you shouldn't do that. A turn around the pot once is okay, but that is not stirring.

As for rinsing, there should not be any touching there either. You have to learn to let it soak and then drain, but do not squeeze or wring. Just let it rinse. Put back into the water, and let it sit again. This is a real test of our patience! And so if you do it that way, there won't be any fulling or felting at all.

So to get the variegation, you just did incomplete dyeing. And then some over-dyeing to cover up the white spots. And that is okay too! There are many ways to do the same thing. As long as you like the results, then it is all good.

So now the next quesion: what will you make of it? I would like to see those yarns knit up. Could be so many possibilities!! There would be a difference in how it looks depending on whether you knit in the round, for flat, or how many stitches you cast on. You just never know until you do it.

akkamaddi's picture

My plans (at the moment) are:

Red-ish Fisherman's wool: diagonal garter scarf, periodic eyelet rows or some such.

Purple-ish Fisherman's wool: I've started a brioche rib scarf. I may also do a hat, give there are ~425 yards of yarn.

Two pink-to-purple Ella Rae: a long (wide?) triangular scarf. One ball has more read. I will start with that in the top/center, so the edge will be more purple.

Mixed Ella Rae: I'm planning on doing scarves using short rows to make garter triangles. The red and purple will be on opposing sides. I've already gotten a few balls of Noro to do this. I may do a different pattern, but I think this red and purple really should be used together.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Very nice results. I look forward to photos of the projects.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

scottly's picture

Really nice colors. Kool Aid? I would never have guessed you could get such nice subtle colors. Is bleeding a problem when you soak to block?

akkamaddi's picture

From everything I've read, no, it binds to animal protein strongly. The first rinse has kosher (non-iodized) salt, which would help set it. I do at least 4 rinses, and usually the first is a little cloudy (from calcium in the water and Kool Aid), and the second is clear. I do four to get rid of the candy smell.

steve kadel's picture

agreed, felting comes from wet and agitation. can't avoid the wet, so....

we put birds on things

Bill's picture

Soap aids felting...it opens the scales of the wool so they can grab each other...so avoid soap and agitation. Also, sudden changes in temperature aid felting, so try to keep the wool at an even temperature while dyeing.