Friday, October 25, 2019

Yarny Fun

Many of you know that I enjoy (and have even taught classes about) dyeing with Kool Aid. A few weeks ago, I decided to play around a little bit with Kool Aid again. I had some white worsted weight and fingering weight yarn, and I wanted to try dyeing some true self-striping and gradient yarns. There are a handful of ways to accomplish this, but I decided the knitting blanks would be a fun way to play. So, I ordered a hand-crank, 40-needle knitting machine from Amazon. (For some reason, I haven't taken a picture of it....) It's a finicky little tool, but once I got it figured out, I was off to the races! I made four 50g tubes of fingering, one 100g tube of fingering, and two 100g tubes of worsted. I laid them out on my kitchen table, mixed up my Kool Aid, and had some fun. 

The picture below of my yarn steaming might look pretty familiar to those of you who attended the River Knits Retreat a couple of years ago.

After steaming and drying them, I decided I wanted them in skein format (even though you can knit directly from the blank). I'm blessed with a dad who is an amazing woodworker, and he made me a skein winder so I wouldn't have to use a niddy-noddy!

This fabulous tool makes winding skeins go so much faster! But look at how kinky they are!

A little soak and hanging to dry straightened them right out. Below, from top to bottom: two 100g skeins of worsted in self striping cool and warm colors, respectively; two 50g skeins of self-striping fingering weight (shown above on the table); two 50g skeins of fingering dyed in rainbow gradients; one 100g skein of fingering dyed in a long rainbow gradient. 

Y'all. This was so much fun! But I found myself wondering what kinds of effects I could get if I had "real dye." Note: Kool Aid is a real dye. It dyes yarn beautifully and safely, but it does have some limitations. There are a limited number of colors, and color mixing to expand the pallet is disappointing. For example, if you mix cherry (red) and mixed berry (blue), you won't get purple. The red will take up very quickly, and the blue won't take up much at all.  

So, I went to Bluprint (formerly Craftsy Unlimited) and watched a couple of classes. Professional Yarn Dyeing at Home and Next Steps in Yarn Dyeing were both very helpful. Last weekend, I dyed some mini skeins (that I made with my awesome skein winder!), and you guys? I'm in love.

I took this basket of bare yarn (the grey ones have stellina in them! SPARKLES!!!), and dyed tons of samples, playing with color mixing, depth of shade, and fiber content.

Pure colors in jars in a water bath, ready to steam:

Mixed colors, after steaming:

Sparkle yarn, ready to steam:
Here's the same basket, filled with all of my little sample skeins.
Now I have some ideas for how I want to do some full skeins and projects I'd like to knit with them. Guess how I'm going to spend my weekend!