Who's Gonna Have a New Sweater Soon?
At the request of a few people, I have a few photos of my Kool-Aid dyeing process. I really just followed the nicely written directions on Kool-Aid dyeing given in Knitty, but people have asked to see "my equipment and setup."
Well, I did a whole extra skein and a photo shoot, but in perusing the photos afterward, I was so embarrassed as to what of my bad housekeeping was visible in the photos, I could hardly show you. But after prodigious cropping so as to take out the most offensive background mess (if you see the compost in the vegetable sink, please don't tell me), here are a few. I will slink back into my cave now.
The wonderful thing about Kool-Aid dyeing is it's pretty cheap, it's very fast, and it's nontoxic. Therefore it really doesn't require any special equipment. You don't need to run out and buy anything, except perhaps a pair of rubber gloves if you don't already have some. (the Kool-Aid directly out of the packet can sting your skin a little. Ask me how I know.) A couple of Pyrex bowls and a large stainless steel bowl that I own (or any clean vessel that's big enough to soak your skeins of wool in either vinegar and water or soapy water for a few minutes) that's all the equipment I used. I have a sink that has a very large bowl on one side and a small vegetable sink on the other, so it is perfect for holding the two bowls I need, thereby minimizing any mess. I put a denim apron I have on the counter to catch any dye drips from stirring, but that's all the surface-covering I did. Once again, I'm not the housekeeper of the century. A couple little red rings on the counter? Meh, who's gonna notice?
1 skein of Cascade 220 soaking in a little soapy water, a smaller bowl with a little Kool-Aid poured in the water. Please note the upper left-hand corner of the photo. I wasn't lying about the compost. That is red onion peelings you see there. I might as well just go ahead and tell you rather than have you see it on your own and talk about me behind my back. I'll shout it out to the world: Hey! I have compost in my sink that is just sitting there! (Hey, I'm doing something good for the planet. It goes in the compost bins out back. It just gets a good start on the composting process right here in my kitchen.)
Anyhoo, for washing this skein, I used Brown's Top of the Lamb Shampoo, just because I had some. All week long in my dyeing, I had soaked the yarn in water with a splosh of vinegar in it, rather than soapy water, but I had run out of vinegar, so I used soap. (Rinse the soapy one before you put it in the dyebath, but I didn't bother rinsing the vinegary one.)
Then we have:
A trip in the microwave. I couldn't show you that picture because I was just plain too humiliated at the streaks on the glass and food bits on the microwave. You'll just have to imagine it. 2 minutes. Then take it out. Swirl it around a little bit, gently. Then 2 more minutes in the micro.
Take it out. Wait. Admire the blue (well, in this case it's blue). The color of Kool-Aid here is "Raspberry Reaction" and I used 4 packets for this skein of Cascade 220:
It's fun to squish around in it. Watch the miracle as the water loses its blue and the yarn gains the blue. Very much fun. When the water is almost clear (or fully clear, as happened most of the time), let it cool a bit. Or, if you're like me, you're impatient. So you wash the wool in hot water and a little more soap. Rinse. Use a similar temperature of water so it doesn't felt. Hang to dry. I have a shower caddy that has two little arms that are very handy for yarn-drying. I let the most of the water drip out in there, but then I can't stand it anymore and I move it to the wooden pegs in the kitchen so I can see it better. Stand and admire your handiwork. Sniff it often to smell the fruity smell and to see if it's DRY YET. It's a bonus when your significant other says (mine did): "This is pretty. It can stay there as a decoration!"
This batch came out looking like so:
See? It's really NOT rocket science. But it's FUN!