Saturday, February 2, 2013

So. Kool.

As an example of my nearly limitless ability to avoid cleaning my house, I am preparing to dye yarn.

This is an experiment.  It is always an experiment.  I enjoy experimenting with botanical dyeing, usually with Black Walnut hulls from local trees.

Black Walnuts make brown yarn.  Turns out, I really like brown yarn.  "Brown" is more exciting than it sounds.  Well, it is exciting to me, anyway.

See, here's some:

This yarn is an 80% superwash merino/20% bamboo blend.  Doesn't that color look like soft, sweet, homemade molasses taffy?

Don't you just want to hold it up to your nose and inhale deeply?

Ahhhhhhh.  Mmmmmmm.

No?  Well, okay, moving on.
Almost exactly 2 years ago, I tried dyeing with Kool-Aid for the first time. There are many, many, many online tutorials for Kool-Aid dyeing, and at least one dedicated group of enthusiasts on  The rav group is called What a Kool Way to Dye, and if you want to see projects made with some bright and cheerful home-dyed yarn, that's a very good place to look.

It's easy to see why Kool-Aid dyeing is so popular, especially for a crafty project to do with kids: it is quick, easy, safe, and fun.  The colorful results can be startling (at least to someone who is so enamored of the many subtle and delightful shades of brown) but there is also a sense of playfulness that comes with the crayola crayon hues.

This is what my first Kool-Aid experiment produced, and it is quite tame by Kool-Aid standards:

I was aiming for variegated forest greens on this 100% superwash merino.  After my first "flavor" produced a brilliant green that would knock you over backwards, some mighty fast back-pedaling with a blue "flavor" turned down the visual volume and yielded this spruce-and-snow-colored, variegated yarn.  Whew!  Nice save!

I wish I could show you the gorgeous socks that were made with this yarn!  But I did not make them.  Lucy Locket made them, and if you happen to read this and have a snap of those socks handy, Lucy, please email it along and I will add it to this post!!  I love those socks!

Update: Yay!  Lucy came through with a picture  :) 

After that first rollercoaster Kool-Aid experience, I try to be prepared to just have fun and expect the unexpected.  But this time is different.  This time, I am looking for a specific result.

Kool-Aid: the Search for a Soft Pink

I've done my research, poked through my box o' dye stuff, and found what I hope will produce a soft (Soft, please! Do you hear me Kool-Aid?) pink tone, on a hank of yarn I've been saving for Something Special.

The yarn is a squooshy fingering weight from Cherry Tree Hill, called Sockittome Select.  It's 80% superwash merino and 20% nylon.  I plan to use 1/4 to 1/2 the Kool-Aid I would expect to produce a saturated color.  My guess is that the superwash component will soak up the dye like crazy, and the nylon will absolutely not, producing a yarn that has some fairly deep pink and some almost white fibers blended together along its entire length.  (Mind you, this may be totally and completely wrong.  Yarn dyeing!  So exciting!!)

Would you like to come along for the ride?  Because I am not writing this post after the fact; I am writing in "real time."  The yarn has not yet been soaked, the dyepot has not been filled or even been dusted (see opening line on this post).  Nope, it's Saturday and the yarn will be dyed on Sunday.

At least, that's the plan...