Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Yarn Dyeing with Kool-Aid

Yep, you read that title correctly.  (Did you know you could do that?  I didn't know you could do that.)

First off, this is for the HPKCHC Three Broomsticks challenge, which was to dye yarn using a food product of some kind.

I found a couple of resources, and quickly decided that I wanted to try for green or blue yarn.

  • http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEfall02/FEATdyedwool.html
  • http://www.dyeyouryarn.com/
My DH did some research for me (okay, he looked under the bed in my unused yarn stash) and found this gray wool yarn:

I then sent him off to Wal-Mart on our weekly shopping run to buy me 5 packets of Kool-Aid (it's one packet per ounce, but I wanted to be absolutely sure I had enough dye to do the job).

I then unwound the original skein and tied it into smaller bunches:

It was then I discovered that the last part of the skein had apparently been attacked by scissors; there were many shorter pieces, instead of a solid strand of yarn.  I tied those up to dye anyway.

Then I dunked my bunches in lukewarm soapy water, while preparing the Kool-Aid in my microwave-safe Pyrex bowl:

DH bought 5 packets of Blue Raspberry Lemonade (which smelled very good).  I mixed the packets with 1-2 cups of hot water to dissolve the powder...and I mixed with the fingers of my right hand.

If you're going 'herp derp derp DERP' right now, you're doing better than I did.

It's taken me over three decades to encounter Kool-Aid ever.  I didn't drink it as a child.  Thus, of course, my fingers turned blue.  Three washings and a hand sanitizer bath later, only my nails were affected:

Anyway, on I went.  I squeezed my soapy yarn out so it was damp but not dripping, then dropped it into the seemingly-inadequate Kool-Aid bath.  I then added water enough to cover the yarn (or it would have, hadn't the yarn floated) and stuck the bowl in the microwave:

I zapped the bowl for two minutes, then let it rest for five.  I repeated twice more for a total of three zaps, until the water was colorless:

Then I had to let the yarn cool completely.  DH and I went out to Mike and Midori's apartment for dinner and Smash Up.

When I got home, I rinsed the yarn, then dunked it back into the soapy solution before rinsing again.  I squeezed out the excess water and laid it out to dry in the bottom of our bathtub:

A close-up of the original color of yarn (the center, tiny bunch):

At this point, I was starting to doubt that my Kool-Aid had done the job.  In the morning, I took the still-damp bunches outside to dry on the clothesline in the back yard:

Now it was more readily apparent that there was at least going to be some slight change:

Then I put up the tiny gray bunch of original yarn all the way on the left for comparison:

Finally, when I got home from lunch at Panera and some Christmas Tree Store shopping, all of the yarn was ready to be balled and photographed for funsies (and I even found a chameleon to help me, as he is a distant member of the dragon family).

Final close-up of the After and Before colors:

Close-ups of the ball:

And my cover photo for Ravelry:

Besides the Three Broomsticks Challenge, I was able to turn it in for Care of Magical Creatures:

Professors, in my study of dragons I was particularly fascinated by the Swedish Short-Snout’s coloring. The blue tint was what at first glance sets it apart from other dragon species. I love the blue-gray scales and thought I would try to replicate their tinting by over dyeing some gray yarn. Please note, this was my first time ever using this incantation and I did get my fingers in the way (like a complete novice). I’m sure the coloring will wear off in a week or so…

For this badge:

And I turned it into the SFAC for the Engineering Mission:

Instructors, when analyzing the molecular composition of Mr. Mudd’s formula, I realized that our replicators were not equipped to handle the spiral-like fibrous structure I found in my Science mission. I decided that I would use a basic remolecularization test to determine when I had correctly recalibrated the replicators to the sensitivity they need to produce Mr. Mudd’s “fountain of youth” potion.
I knew that when the test matter finally retained a blue or teal hue that the recalibrations were complete.
I’m now pleased to report that our replicators can handle any volume of replication deemed necessary of Mr. Mudd’s elixir. Thank you for reading my lengthy report!

I'll put the Three Broomsticks badge up in my End of March report; the staff are checking around for it, but it may not be available until the end of the month.

Have a great day, and craft on!

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