Saturday, 15 August 2009

Kool and the Gang... Part 2

In my last post I showed the results of my first Kool Aid experiments (using five skeins of superwash sock yarn). I promised to elaborate on a couple of things, so here we go...

Firstly, I want to show the before and after pics for the overdying that I did on the deeper red...

You may recall that this skein was initially dyed using 1 part Grape to 2 parts Cherry. The result was a pretty shade, but patchy coverage, with several undyed sections that did not look good.

So I overdyed it the following day using a madcap mixture of cherry, black cherry tropical punch and grape.

As it turns out, that was far more dye than I needed, and the skein did not soak it all up - but I did get a lovely rich red at the end of it - and all of the bare patches soaked up the red beautifully...

So moving on from sock yarn, I'd like to show what happened when I progressed to two beautiful 100g skeins of lace weight merino/silk (80% merino / 20% silk). Each skein has about 1200 yards - easily enough for a shawl, so I was looking for shawl-friendly colours.... or something less psychedelic than my sock yarns anyway.

When these raw skeins arrived through the post, I was so taken with the beautful, silky texture of their undyed state that I was tempted not to risk dyeing them at all. But then.... you only live once, right?

So having become comfortable with Knitty's recommended microwave technique, I decided to go straight ahead with the first batch of laceweight. So I mixed up one part each of Black Cherry and Tropical Punch - with a little Grape thrown in also and bunged it in the microwave for 2 mins.

When I took it back out, I started to feel a little nervous. It occurred to me that the water and glass bowl felt far hotter than the max wash temperature would be for this yarn. So to minimise damage, I took the yarn straight out of the water and left it in the sink to cool, then rinsed it and hung it up to dry. At this point I was already noticing that the texture of the yarn had changed... it no longer seemed silky - more like "felty" (argh!) and the strands were sticking together somewhat.

As it dried it started to look like this... still a little on the felty side for my liking.

After several days, it was fully dry and the colour was a sort of matte, pinkish red. I'm not sure how exactly to describe this colour - but it calls to mind the sort of dusky hue that you would find in a heritage range of wall paint, aimed at traditional dining rooms. It's really very pretty.

The really good news is that when I came to wind the ball, it was not felted after all - hoorah! It had simply changed texture slightly - effectively it had 'bloomed' and is still very soft.

For the second skein, I wanted a pale apple green, and managed to get exactly what I was after by using just one sachet of Lemon & Lime Kool Aid for the whole batch. This time I only gave the yarn one minute in the microwave, and I think it has retained more of the silky sheen than the other skein did. It has a slightly variegated finish, which is subtle enough to be very pleasing to me :-)

Right now it is being wound via my swift and trusty nostepinne.

So, finally.... I thought I would finish up with gratuitous yarn shots.


  1. Your yarn cake is far tidier than mine - how do you wind them like that?

    I love the dusky rose colour - it's beautiful.

  2. Hi there... I think I am starting to get better at using my nostepinne. All of the coloured balls were done by draping the yarn over my swift and hand-winding with the nostepinne... and they all turned out a slightly different shape! But with the last (pale green) skein I think something clicked and I have managed so far to keep to an exact 45 degree angle the whole time while winding, which has resulted in a square-ish cake. Fingers crossed I don't mess it up.

    And thank you - for liking the rose pink :-)

  3. I think I just need to keep practising! I was *very bad* yesterday and bought 2 types of Manos del Uruguay yarn that needs to be wound into cakes/balls, so I'll give that a go later on.

    I do like your dyeing - including that in your previous post. The colours are fabulous :)

  4. Absolutely beautiful! Hooray to you for taking the plunge!!