Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Live and Let Dye

I've been playing with yarn dyeing with foodstuffs and I luff it so much, you guys.  Miniskeins of yarn are perfect FOR SCIENCE because time and ingredients are reduced and there's a lot less failure-guilt, if one is me (which in this case, one is). Kool-Aid dyeing is very popular, of course, but I've also been poking around my (practically empty) kitchen and experimenting with paprika and tea!

All of these tests were done using Red Heart Heart & Sole (fingering weight, 70% Wool, 30% Nylon) in original colorway 315 Ivory; each 5g miniskein maths out to about 20ish yards...
but look at me talking, when there's science to do.

OPERATION DARK SOLID with KOOL-AID
  • soak miniskein in hot water 20 min
  • mix 1.33 cups dye solution (3 parts water/1 part white vinegar) with 1g special secret Kool-Aid mix (3 parts tropical punch/2 parts grape) -- theoretically, twice as much Kool-Aid as I need for this amount of yarn -- and pour over yarn in 2-cup microwavable measuring cup
  • nuke 7 minutes (in 2-min intervals) until water is clear (forgot to let rest between, oooooops)
  • rinse in hot water, allow to dry overnight
  • clean microwave, consider destroying photographic evidence of dirty microwave, decide on judicious cropping
  • skein dry yarn and hug it

OPERATION FAUX-GRADIENT with KOOL-AID
  • wind miniskein into loose ball; soak in hot water 20 min
  • mix 3 cups dye solution (3 parts water/1 part white vinegar) with 1g special secret Kool-Aid mix (3 parts tropical punch/2 parts grape) -- again, 2x what is needed for yarn weight
  • heat dye mix in saucepan until almost-boil
  • simmer wet yarn ball in hot dye mix, stirring/trying not to unwind
  • at 26 minutes, notice that ball is taking no more dye; remove from heat, let sit 5 minutes
  • rinse in hot water, drape into skein loops without burning hands or tangling (!), allow to dry overnight
  • skein dry yarn and hug it

OPERATION THATSA SPICY MINISKEIN with PAPRIKA
  • soak miniskein in hot water 20 min
  • mix 3 cups dye solution (3 parts water/1 part white vinegar) with 1 tablespoon paprika (why that much? why not?/go big or go home/the whole world is watching)
  • heat dye mix in saucepan until almost-boil
  • simmer wet yarn in hot dye mix, stirring gently very occasionally
  • remove from heat after 45 minutes, let sit 5 minutes
  • rinse in hot water, allow to dry
  • skein dry yarn and hug it

OPERATION LONG REPEATS with BLACK TEA and KOOL-AID
  • wind miniskein into looooong repeats using kitchen island; soak in hot water 30 min
  • prepare Kool-Aid dye: mix 3 cups dye solution (3 parts water/1 part white vinegar) with .5g special secret Kool-Aid mix (3 parts tropical punch/2 parts grape)
  • prepare tea dye: steep 3 bags of tea (I chose a peach-flavored black tea -- why 3? dunno!) in 1 cup boiling water for 15 minutes; add 1/3 cup vinegar
  • pour dyes into separate microwave-safe measuring cups, place side by side in spotless microwave, and put 50% of the skein into each vessel
  • nuke 9 minutes (in 2-min intervals, resting 2 min between) until water is clearish; there may be some nudging to make sure the yarn between the cups is also dyed
  • rinse in hot water, allow to dry (shown with good buddy Thatsa Spicy Miniskein)
  • skein dry yarn and hug it

There may be some more SCIENCE in the near future, but for now---
what should I knit with these?

2 comments:

bekswhoknits said...

Totally more scientific than any of my attempts!

I'm definitely going to try your method with the loose ball. That effect is very cool.

Carolyn Zick said...

This looks totally rad!! I want to try some yarny science! Socks would be totally awesome with the hand-dyed yarns.