This posting is dedicated to Kaae.
She was the one who persistantly insisted that you could dye wool with CoolAid. And easily dye both wool and silk with silk dye on a vinegar base in your microwave.
And after that wonderful day in Jane´s garden, she had me convinced. I decided to try on my own, and after having found two containers of CoolAid in the back of the cupboard, I had the means as well. (Orange and cherry - sorry if I offend anyone, but it tastes disgusting, but the colors are great!).
So, vacation time finally there, and a garden at hand (and perfect weather for fooling around outside with water) I followed her directions and did this:
First make skeins of your yarn of choice. Here three skeins of white sock yarn, 85% wool, 15% poly-something. Then I soaked the wool in 1:1 water/vinegar mix for at least 20 minutes to get rid of any lipids or dust in general. I have used about 30g of CoolAid in about 200ml of a 1:2 vinegar/water solution, and after wringing out the yarn from the initial soak, carefully plan how you want it to look. I decided that white parts in between the colored ones would only heighten the color-play. On this picture I have soaked a 50g skein. Soak for 15 min and then place the whole thing in the microwave and nuke the curls out of it (4 x 2 min at full effect). Make sure that the white parts are still wet with the vinegar solution, so the yarn wont burn.
After nuking, leave as is till completely cool, then wring it out carefully (here the garden and especially the weeds come in handy, they don´t like vinegar and CoolAid, killed me off some nettles during the process, huzzah!) and hang till all dry, stiff and smelling of.....orange and cherry!
The sock yarn is the three skeins on the right, the two long skeins are dyed with CoolAid as well, but one in each color, in a bigger bowl (about 50g of CoolAid/skein and 500ml of water/vinegar). Make sure the yarn is covered by the dye in the microwave.
When I wrung out the bigger skeins, the vinegar left in the bowl was clear - all the dye from the CoolAid had been transferred to the yarn. The two big skeins are a 1-ply 100% lace-type wool. A pleasure to dye and work with.
When all dry, rinse well in lots of cold water (be careful not to felt the wool, just dip and press) and then wask in the washingmashine on a wool program (30C, almost no stirring, 800 rpm, very little soap if any) to get the residual sugar out of the yarn, dry again and wind on a ball-winder.
Here you see the yarn after the final wash.
And weirdly enough still smelling a bit fruity! I have learnt a lot doing this, but one thing stands out: I will never drink CoolAid again.
Here is a close-up of the finished coral (cherry) red wool. Love the color play.
Well, the next day I got a bit more gutsy. I took out the silk dyes I bought at Panduro and mixed plum, moss green, warm yellow, marine blue, cinnamon and dark brown into different containers. I mixed them 1:2 with the 50/50 vinegar-water, while the yarn of choice (this time a silk-wool-linen mix, some more 1-ply wool, and some pure natural silk) was soaking in a bucket of the same mix.
Here is the silk-wool-linen mix dyed in a thin marine blue solution, in a tehcnique I call: Too Cheap Now, Heidi. I had mixed too little color for the two skeins and would have had to break into a new container of dye, when I realized I quite liked the result! So I just added more of the water-vinegar mix till the yarn was covered and nuked it as before. Love the resulting yarn.
I call the color Blue Velvet. I am knitting the Forest Path Stole in this yarn now.
This is an example of the wool dyed with silk color, I call this one: Now I know where the kids were.
From left to right:
´Husband doing the white laundry´, ´Blueberry Roast Beef´, ´Pistacchio Mistacchio´, and the ´Now I know where the kids were´.
I also dyed silk: from left to right:
´Old Tractors´ and
Here are the original skeins before winding:
the two sky blue silks, Malenes Attick, Old Tractors, Rattlesnake and Plums Away. And then the 4 skeins of wool: Pistacchio Mistacchio, Blueberry Roast Beef, The Kids and Husband doing the white laundry.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself, it was easy to get a great result, I painted the dye on, I poured it on, I dipped and wrung, mixed, stained and flung. And they all look great, even the combinations where I spilt an unwanted color on my yarn......
So, go! Free your inner colors. Try it blindfolded, or in the dark or as a color relay (in these olympic times): one starts, another finishes!
Good luck, can´t wait to see the results!