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Archive for the ‘Kool-Aid dyeing’ Category

After a year’s hiatus, I’ve decided to get back in the swing of things. Sand In My Stitches, Unique Kettle-Dyed and Handpainted Yarns, is now open for business, once again, and hopefully this time, to stay in business. I’ll be working on increasing inventory very soon. Any requests? ūüėČ

So, check it out… you can find me on:

Ravelry — Sand In My Stitches

Etsy — Sand In My Stitches

Twitter — phototw

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Acid-dye handpainted yarnThat’s what it seems like these past couple of days! All that’s been in my head have been the limitless color combinations I could possibly put together onto some lovely woolly strands, and it’s fun to think about, but very time consuming.

When I get out the paper and crayons and start scribbling some stripes to design a potentially winning combo, nothing else gets done until it’s found. Then I have to start the planning phase. Which yarn would work with these colors? How much yarn should I dye? Should I use acid dye, Kool-Aid or Wilton’s colors? Or should I try RIT dye on cotton? And on it goes.

So, before I ramble on too much more about dyeing yarn (because I really think I’m becoming obsessed with this new hobby), let me start posting pictures about this wonderful day’s fun.

Acid dye handpainted yarn

This skein, and the one at top right, are the same skein, believe it or not. I just rolled it over to take another picture. I’m calling this one “Electric Lilies”, although I’m not sure that this colorway will be a keeper.

Acid dye handpainted yarn

Aqua, blues, teals and greens are my favorite colors, so I love how this skein’s colors blended. I’ve decided to call this one “Dragon”. Both of these skeins are approximately 233 yards, and are 100% Merino worsted weight that is ideal for felting.

After I finished twisting these lovely skeins of yarn, my teen asked me if I would put his Kool-Aid yarn into a skein like mine. So I did and he liked it so much, he wanted me to add it to my inventory of handpainted yarns to see if anyone would show any interest in it.

“But,” I said, “I was going to make a felted bag out of it.”

“But Mom,” he said, “you can always dye more of this.”

“But…”

Kool-Aid handpainted yarnI couldn’t convince him otherwise. Regardless of my sentimental reasons for keeping it (my teen’s first Kool-Aid handpainted yarn), I did have to finally admit that there was sure to be someone out there who loved pink and purple yarn. Then I made the mistake of telling him that if there was, and it sold, I’d give him 100% of the profit. Now he’s all excited.Kool-Aid handpainted yarn

And, of course, wouldn’t you know my youngest son had to have HIS Kool-Aid handpainted yarn twisted up into a nice skein, too. But he wants to keep his, and that’s what I’ll use to make that felted bag. We’ve renamed his yarn, too. That skein on the right is now known as “Tuti Fruti Melons”.

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Kool-Aid¬†yarnCody’s yarn didn’t take long to dry,¬†so I was able to skein it,¬†wind it into a ball and knit up a swatch, then take pictures in natural daylight. The dry yarn’s colors are much lighter than the wet yarn, much to my son’s chagrin. He was hoping for a vibrant, bold red with the cherry, and a deeper red with the black cherry, but they lightened up quite a bit. The yarn turned into dark pinks and medium purples and he doesn’t really like it, but I think it would work well for a modular scarf of some sort. There are only 233 yards of it, so whatever project I make can’t be very large. Although he didn’t get the colors he was hoping for, it still looks great and the colors blended very well.

Kool-Aid yarn swatch

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Handpainted Kool-Aid¬†yarnCorey’s¬†Kool-Aid yarn finished drying this morning and I¬†twisted it up into a nice skein. This is actually the first time I’ve done¬†that right. Making the skein twisted enough so it can be tucked inside a loop, then tucked again, wasn’t the easiest thing to figure out¬†as¬†I was unable to find any¬†online directions for this.¬†(The first time I tried to make a twisted skein,¬†it ended up looking like a turban!)

Handpainted Kool-Aid yarn swatch

I love how the colors¬†blend! Although the lemon-lime bled into the cherry, and the orange bled into the green, I think the resulting¬†shades are very pleasing with some nice olive and salmon tones. I haven’t the slightest idea what I’ll end up knitting with it. This wool can be felted, so maybe something with that technique.

My teen¬†got his gloved hands into the Kool-Aid today, as promised. He wanted to use cherry, black cherry and grape, and here’s his yarn cooling off after being steamed:

Handpainted Kool-Aid yarn cooling off.

I wasn’t sure how the grape Kool-Aid would turn out because I’ve read conflicting reviews about dyeing with this flavor, but as you can see, it looks rather nice. It was fun watching him squirt on the colors while he was dyeing his yarn — he was being very precise! I think he’s going to be a perfectionist after my own heart, and I don’t know if that’ll be a blessing or a curse! His yarn has been given its second bath and is hanging outside on the line to dry in the sun. A knitted swatch is sure to be made later tonight or tomorrow.

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Today has been a really full day for us here in Furryland. When I woke up, I decided today was the day that my youngest would have a chance to Kool-Aid dye some yarn, because¬†he¬†was constantly pestering me about it. Wouldn’t you know there would be an issue in this grand plan somewhere? Issue number one: I don’t happen to have a swift yet! Although one has been ordered and should arrive sometime next week, one of the most important steps in preparing yarn for handpainting or dyeing is to put it in a skein (or hank). The balls of Paton’s Classic Wool had to be skeined, and I didn’t know what household item I could use to accomplish this task.

The piano bench, emptied and flipped upside down would have done the trick, and I was halfway through winding the ball into a skein around two of its legs when Cody asked, “How are you going to get the yarn off the legs?”

At that moment, my ambitious winding came to a screeching halt!¬†I just sat there and stared at the legs of the piano bench.¬†This idea of mine was working wonderfully until¬†my¬†teen brought this obvious issue to my attention — the legs on the piano bench have a little fancy woodwork on the ends which makes them a bit wider¬†at the feet than where I was winding. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t even considered this! Issue number two! It wasn’t easy, but I was able to get that tightly-wrapped yarn off one leg without breaking a strand, and then finished off the ball of yarn. It was all different lengths when I was done, so I decided to look up something on the Internet: How to Make a PVC Niddy Noddy. I made a list and sent my DH to get the goods!

At Home Depot, he picked up a 10-foot length of 1/2-inch PVC pipe, four 1/2-inch PVC T-connectors, PVC glue and a ratcheting PVC cutter. With that little bit, he had enough to make two niddy noddies. It took him all of¬†15 minutes (maybe) to construct one perfectly simple, and more importantly, perfectly functional,¬†PVC niddy noddy. Here’s how he made mine:

Measuring PVC pipe

Measure for four 6-inch pieces and one 18″ piece of 1/2-inch PVC pipe.

Cutting PVC pipe

Cleanly (and easily) cut those pieces with a ratcheting PVC cutter — no need for sandpaper with this handy tool!

Putting PVC pipe glue in the T-connectors.

Swab the inside of two 1/2-inch PVC T-connectors with PVC glue.

DH glueing the niddy noddy together.

Attach the 6-inch pieces and the 18-inch piece to the T-connectors, making sure that one end is turned 90 degrees and all pieces fit as snugly as possible. Let dry according to the PVC glue specifications, and make another!

Teen using the new niddy¬†noddy.My boys were very interested in the whole process, even though they didn’t have a clue what¬†the niddy noddy was for. So once the glue had dried on my new niddy noddies, I found directions on how to use them, which also included a brief summary of their uses (if you don’t have a clue either). I got started making a skein right away, because most of the day had passed by this time and my youngest was anxious about dyeing his yarn. Of course, with all that winding,¬†my arms got tired halfway through, so I taught my teen how to use it and he finished making the skein for me!

Yarn wound from a ball onto the new niddy noddy.

Now it was finally ready to be tied in numerous places to keep it from getting tangled during the wetting, dyeing, steaming Paton’s Classic Wool in a wetting bath with some Kookaburra Wool Wash.and washing process. I used some scrap white acrylic I had in my stash to tie the skein in eight different places. These scraps of acrylic will not dye with the wool, because Kool-Aid does not do anything on cotton or synthetic fibers; only animal fibers, silk and nylon. The yarn soaked in the wetting bath for an hour or so (this is to make sure the yarn is soaked through and all the air bubbles are gone before dyeing).

Plastic-wrapped yarn sausage ready to be¬†steamed.When the kitchen had finally been sufficiently prepared for a six year-old’s attempt at handpainting yarn with Kool-Aid, we got to work. He did a pretty good job at it too once he learned how to upend the squirt bottle without prematurely squeezing it and shooting Kool-Aid across the table. He chose to dye his yarn with Lemon-Lime, Cherry and Orange Kool-Aid, and we call it Tuti Fruti. The image on the left shows his handpainted yarn wrapped up in plastic wrap like a sausage in a colander, waiting to be Kool-Aid yarn cooling off after it‚Äôs steam¬†bath.steamed by the water in the pot below.

After it steamed for half an hour, I placed the colander outside on the deck to cool down. When it was cool enough, I brought it back in and gave it a Kookaburra Wool Wash bath and rinse to get any excess Kool-Aid out of the yarn.

Kool-Aid yarn in its final Kookaburra bath.

Now it’s hanging on a towel rack in the bathroom to dry overnight. It’ll probably still be damp in spots tomorrow, so I’ll take it outside to hang in the sun¬†to finish drying, and that shouldn’t take long at all. Tomorrow after it’s dry, I plan on using my wool winder and making a yarn cake out of it, and knitting a nice stockinette swatch for everyone in blogland to see what my sweet little boy has made. My teen is dying (pun intended!) to get his hands into this new creative outlet too, so we’ll be handpainting his yarn tomorrow. Good things are coming!

Until the next post, I’ll leave you with this… the perfect ending to a¬†most wonderful day in Furryland. While we were handpainting yarn for ourselves, God was handpainting His sky for all of His children to enjoy. Isn’t it beautiful? I think these colors will have a future in fiber someday soon… ūüėČ

Perfect ending to a very fun day!

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I just finished knitting a small stockinette stitch swatch of the handpainted Kool-Aid yarn that I dyed Wednesday. It came out nicely variegated and now I have so many ideas for other colors that I want to experiment with! The possibilities are endless!

Kool-Aid handpainted yarn swatch

Note: These colors are not too far off the original shades, but just a little brighter because I used a flash. The dark red is deep like a brick red, the lighter red is close to the color of a just-ripened strawberry, and the orange is reminiscent of a fresh carrot.

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I suppose I’m going to have to suck it up with this image-issue thing, deal with the image code¬†and get back to blogging because God only knows when there will be a “bug-fix” for it. I’ve been patiently waiting for this fix for a few weeks but it hasn’t come yet, and I am getting really backed up on my blogging stories. Yes, I could have typed the posts with full-size, unedited images, but I wouldn’t have been able to live with¬†that — perfectionist here, remember? It’s a curse at times. Although it does boggle my mind that WordPress is as big as it is (see June Wrap-Up), but hasn’t found a fix for this issue for weeks.

So, how did you spend your fourth of July? The first part of mine was spent in my kitchen playing with Kool-Aid and inhaling the fruity fumes that permeated our house. I was going for bright, bold colors, and I got them! Have a look:

Kool-Aid dyed yarn

This is 560 yards of 100% superwash merino DK dyed with Kool-Aid that just came out of the microwave. What does it remind you of?

I learned a very valuable lesson during this first dyeing session: Only use flat dish drain plugs or a basin in your sink when washing and rinsing your beautiful, freshly-dyed yarn,¬†otherwise it may become caught on the drain plug’s knob and possibly get damaged!

With that lesson learned, I do believe that if the rest of my Kool-Aid yarn dyeing experiments turn out as well as this first one, I will be spending a small fortune on Kool-Aid packets. Now I just need a swift or two and a yarn meter, perhaps a niddy noddy, and then I will have all the supplies and tools I need to continue with this wonderfully-creative outlet.

Kool-Aid dyed yarnAfter hanging this hank of yarn outside to dry, we all went over to my in-laws (right next door) and had a Fourth of July feast! We enjoyed each other’s company and conversation over some jerk chicken tenders, Amish potato salad, classic macaroni salad, broccoli salad, pickles, baby carrots and perfectly sweet, fresh honeydew, watermelon and pineapple. I don’t think we’ve ever had¬†a get-together without hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, but even though those all-American meats were missing, it was quite wonderful.

Strangely, I took my camera over, but didn’t take¬†a single¬†shot of anything or anyone, and I don’t know why.

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