Thursday, June 12, 2008

Branching out?

Today the new issue of Knitty came out. You can find it here. I am a devoted Knitty reader of several seasons now. The patterns are free and usually pretty easy to follow. And the magazine covers cool new books and tools in an evenhanded manner.

Most exciting this time was the announcement of the calendar contest for 2009. I am thinking about making a submission. More to come on that one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Fun with Kool-Aid

How do you like the new picture? It is the first foray I have made into the vast land of dyeing. Those are wonderful hanks of a merino/silk blend in a sport weight that are now trying to decide what they want to be when they grow up. The "wheels" of yarn look a lot different than the dyed hanks. Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to do a "before" and "after" shot.

For the past few weeks, the knitting circle has been kicking around the idea of dyeing yarn. has a few great articles, but we decided to use the technique described here. Kool-Aid as a dyeing agent -- who knew?

It's safe and relatively inexpensive if you are just trying out dyeing as a test project. Not including the yarn (under $20), I spent around $7 on Kool-Aid in every color that the store had and another $3 on a gallon of white vinegar. We had enough to cover all of the yarn, the carded fluff, the uncarded curls, and probably a stray sheep or two. There is definitely enough to have another go at a later date.

It also causes no permanent damage to your house or cookware. The dye is food grade, so no worries about lingering residues. I do, however, recommend gloves. The dyes did not damage our skin, but my cuticles and nails still had a zombie-esque look after repeated scrubbing with soap and baking soda. Another perk was the fruity sent left behind in the kitchen and the shower (where the skeins drip-dried.)

The only down side was that it took most of an afternoon. We used a handpainting technique that applied the dye to specific parts of the skein using a turkey baster. It put the dye where you want it, but it was tedious. After all the dye went on, the yarn had to be wrapped in plastic wrap and zapped in the microwave for a while to set the colors. This is supposed to keep the finished garment from fading as well.

All in all, it was a successful venture. I am definitely interested in doing it again, but right now I am thinking about knitting a test swatch to see how these work up.