Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kettle-dying Wool Yarn with Koolaid

Originally uploaded by LittlePoopie
I am LOVING this yarn. Really, how can I resist loving the play of colors on this swatch?

Amazingly enough, I hated it when I first finished dying it. I was highly disappointed and felt that I had ruined $15 worth of yarn. It looks marginally like my mental image of what I wanted, but it wasn't close enough and I felt bad. I had been saving this yarn for a year, waiting for just the right project and felt that I had failed myself.

Let me back up a bit. I was talking with a friend about some custom knitting that she was having done. She is getting a very good deal on the work and I was contemplating sending some yarn to the same knitter. I thought I would dye some natural wool yarn that I had and send it in, but in the end I realized that any hand-dyed yarn would need to be knit with alternating skeins and I wasn't convinced that the knitter in question was experienced enough to do so in a manner that would satisfy MIss Perfect.

Nevertheless, I was stuck on the idea of dying some yarn. I came across the following tutorial and fell in love with the yarn that the author had produced.

I wanted that yarn. I checked my Koolaid stash. I had almost exactly the same colors that she used!!! I made a few substitutions and viola.

I hated the yarn.

I thought it looked muddy and orange and yucky. So I put it back into the crock pot and added blue and purple Koolaid to every light spot and I also added black cherry to some of the larger orange patches in hopes of toning it down a little.

I still wasn't satisfied with it, but figured I'd wind it into a cake and see if I liked it any better. I did like it better.

But it wasn't until I started knitting a sweater for M that I decided that I really REALLY like this yarn. I would absolutely do this project again and maybe pick a few different colors or perhaps just mix the ratios differently the next time.

Kettle dying wool yarn with Koolaid is fun. It's easy. It's satisfying in a way that traditional variegation dying isn't. It's unpredictable and that is the true joy in it.

Tonight, I plan to start another dying job with my older daughter, A. She has picked out a large assortment of pink Koolaid and Klaas packets to use. And a single blue one to spot in for a few purple flecks. I can hardly wait!

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