Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's supposed to look like that. (Yeah, that's the ticket.)

Ta Da!

Sort of.

I finished my first attempt at "handpainted" yarn with Kool Aid. (I have done a bit of dying with easter egg dye, but I used a different technique.)

At first I was relieved it wasn't a murky mess. Then I was disappointed that I had splatters and white spots instead of clean color repeats. But then it started to grow on me in a Jackson Pollock sort of way.

As I mentioned earlier, I had trouble finding the colors I wanted. I finally settled on Kool Aid in Lemon-Lime, Grape and Watermelon Cherry and Hawaiian Punch in Berry Blue Typhoon. this Knitty article was my guide. The yarn is Patons Merino Classic in "Aran."

Step One - Wash the yarn.

Step 0 - clean the sink.

Step 1 - Wash the yarn. I decided to use the baby shampoo because I didn't want the Lanolin in the Kookaburra to affect the dye.

While it soaked, I continued my other preparations.

I mixed four packs of each drink mix with about half a cup of water. It was really concentrated, but the directions said to only add a few tablespoons per package.

I went through a whole debate about covered the table and finally settled on trash bags and saran wrap. I was a little worried about fitting all four skeins on the table, but I decided it would be ok.

I used a turkey baster to apply the dye. The results were, well....

...splotchy with lots of white space. I was a little worried. Fortunately, I had bought 5 packets of each, but only (thought) I needed four. So I opened The others. Then I realized that the fifth Hawaiian Punch I bought was red, not blue. OK, so maybe just the blue would be splotchy.

So I mixed them, this time with more water. Then the dyes started to run. I did the best I could.

I pressed the yarn with my hands. Despite wrapping them in saran wrap, I still got my fingers all dark. But it made a big difference. It was time to cook it.

Funny story about the pot. I knew they used a steamer basket in the Knitty article. I thought a steamer basket rested at the top of the pot, not the bottom. Thinking I needed the extra room, I bought 4 pots and 4 baskets.

After trying to pull apart one of the baskets for 10 minutes, I realized that it had those little legs for a reason. I finally called my Mom and confirmed that, yes, they do sit at the bottom of the basket.

(And yes, I did get my money back at Walmart. Although the checker said "you want to return all this?" I had my receipt, and the tags and packaging were still in place. Needles to say, I didn't ring the bell for outstanding customer service.)

Anyway, when I put it all in the pot, I was worried because there seemed to be a lot of dribbling and mixing. At this point, I decided just to go for it. Maybe I was supposed to do just one skein at a time?

After "cooking" for about 45 minutes, I turned off the stove to let it cool. Despite the fact that it was Friday night, I decided I was tired and went to bed.

But first I had to clean up. Fortunately, I only had one "major" mishap. I don't know what possessed me to leave the towel under the plastic bags. Fortunately, it was (mostly) purple on purple, and I had plenty of Spray and Wash on hand. We'll see just how color fast this stuff really is.

The next morning, as I took the skeins out one by one, I was pleasantly surprised to see they hadn't blended into one murky shade of brownish-gray.

And it didn't run, as evidenced by my first rinse (it's pretty hard to see the water in the picture.)

However, I was concerned at the "milkiness" left behind. Did I use too much soap? Was this some strange residue from the pot? The drink mix? (The blue and pink seemed unusually milky."

Also, I noticed little crystals on the yarn (something I couldn't capture on my camera.) Did I not mix the dye enough?

After multiple rinsings, I gave up on the crystals. I've knit with recycled sari silk, so I can handle a bit of crystalization.

Finally, and hung it on hangers in my bathroom. It's now about a day and a half later, and they should be good to go tomorrow.

What have I learned?

- I need to tie the hanks tighter, and in more spots.

- I need to try to do less skeins at a time (particular squeezing them on the tab;e so then hang off the table, leaving white spots.)

- I have a lot to learn about handpainting yarn.

Finally, go see Stephanie's yarn. I think she did a much better job than I did.

1 comment:

aija said...

Hey there! When I used KA, I had the same milky whiteness remain... I think it's from the packets/additives in them.

Hopefully your towel will release the purple! :) Since it is cotton (assuming!) and not wool, it may release it more readily. The first socks I've knit from KA yarn have held their colors very well... a year and a half old?