Thursday, 25 August 2011

Dyeing to spin - part 1

I've been having fun in the kitchen this week, playing around with dyes. There's nothing complicated about these dyes though, they are Kool-Aid dyes, made using the powdered fruit drink from America. I was sent loads of sachets of different flavours in a Ravelry swap, and decided to try dyeing some fibre. So if you'd like to try dyeing either some yarn or fibre, using Kool-Aid, here's how to do it!

First, get your fibre. I used Blue Faced Leicester fibre and weighed out about 100g.

dyeing to spin part 1 001

Soak the fibre for at least 30 minutes in warm water. Add a squirt of washing up liquid.

dyeing to spin part 1 003

While it's soaking, choose the colours of Kool-Aid you want to use. You can buy Kool-Aid here. And if you look here, you can see what colours you get from the different flavours. I chose pink grapefruit, cherry, grape and tropical punch. Mix the powders up with a little warm water. You can make the colours more or less intense by changing the amount of water you add. Mine was a bit trial and error!!

dyeing to spin part 1 004

Lay out the wet 'sausage' of fibre on a table or worktop, on top of cling film. This cling film will wrap around the fibre once it's been dyed. The Kool-Aid will stain so wipe up any spills straight away!

dyeing to spin part 1 005

Apply the dyes to the fibre. I used a separate syringe for each colour. Make sure that the dye penetrates right through the fibre so that there is no undyed fibre left. You might find it useful to wear some rubber gloves for this. Where two colours meet, blend them together.

dyeing to spin part 1 006

Roll the cling film up around the fibre and place it in a microwaveable container. Make sure that the steam can escape from your container. I made some holes in the lid of mine. Microwave on medium power for about 5 minutes. Make sure that your yarn doesn't dry out.

dyeing to spin part 1 007

When it's dyed, the residual liquid in the container should be pretty clear. If you need to, microwave for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool and then rinse in warm water. If you use water that's too cold, you might end up felting your fibre! Hang up and allow to dry.

dyeing to spin part 1 008

When it's dry, make it into a braid.

dyeing to spin part 2 005

Coil up your braid so that you can admire it in all its beauty! It is now ready to be spun!

dyeing to spin part 2 002

Come back soon and I'll show you how it looks when it's spun! Byeeeeee! xxx


Deb at Merciful Hearts Farm said...

I often use KoolAid dyeing when working as artist in residence in the local schools. The fruity aroma in the art room always draws passing strangers to the door. They cannot figure out what we are doing ;-) Can't wait to see your spun yarn!

Kat Jorgensen said...

You did an amazing dye job! I'm so impressed with your skills. Great process photos, too!

peahen said...

Excellent post and gorgeous result! Look forward to seeing it spun.

I find it a little sinister that such an effective dye without nutrition or flavour is added to food for kids.

But good news for us. Has anyone tried this with Sunny Delight?

Lynne said...

That's fantastic!! I love the colours you picked. I've dyed yarn (rather than fibre) with Koolaid, and it's great fun! I was very pleased with the results.

I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out when it's spun now.

pinkundine said...

One of the best things about kool aid dyeing is the smell of the yarn/fibre when you're done too!

Anonymous said...

what fun!!

your braid come out fantastic!!
can't wait to see it once you've spun it up.