Dyeing rainbows

Right then, where were we? Oh, yes, drinkable dyes. This one’s pretty photo intensive, so for those using dial up or a feed reader, you may need to click through the jump to see it all.

I’ve dabbled with Kool-Aid dyeing before, but Liz had never played with it. She brought some beautiful natural roving and we hatched a plan involving I think 4 different flavors of Kool-Aid to do some sort of color progression dyeing. Given that neither of us had put *too* much advanced thought into this, I think it worked pretty well.

We mixed the Kool-Aid with water (unsweetened and no sugar, obviously) in teacups – two packages of Kool-Aid per cup because we were worried that the dye wouldn’t be saturated enough otherwise. Liz laid the roving out on a plastic bag and arranged it so that she could apply the dye in a stripe, but it would hit several sections throughout the length of the roving. Then, using a syringe I got with a marinade kit some time ago, Liz started applying the dye to the wool.

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The grape looked very dark in the dye, but it mostly washed out to a red in the finished roving.

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I think she used strawberry and black cherry for the next two sections. If I recall, the strawberry is the lighter of them.

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She capped it with orange, but ended up with a bit of white left at the end. We briefly discussed mixing up some lime, but were worried it would be too jarring with the rest of the colors, so in the end just made up some more orange to finish out the tail end.


Once all the dye was applied, we needed to microwave it to heat set the dye. The roving was pretty saturated and we were a little worried about all the colors mixing, so coiled it up in a large Pyrex mixing bowl with the grape on the bottom and the orange on the top. Microwaved it for a couple minutes, let it rest, and then a couple more minutes. It smelled.. well.. fruity. And sheepy. Wet fruity sheep. Once it was heat set, Liz carried the bowl into the bathroom to rinse it.

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She squeezed out all the dye water and then ran the sink full of warm tap water to let it soak. The dye baths were pr’bly a little too saturated for the amount of roving, but it’s dead cheap so neither of us were worried about it. The mixture left in the bowl was pretty nasty, but there wasn’t too much muddying of the dye in the roving and when Liz squeezed the water out of the roving to begin with, it was mostly clear, which is a good sign.

I thought I got a picture of the roving once we’d rinsed it and set it to dry, but I can’t seem to find it. The last picture in the sink is pretty color accurate though – the grape, as I mentioned, wasn’t nearly as dark as it had been in the original dye, which all things considered will pr’bly make the whole thing transition between the colors a little more gradually. I can’t wait until Liz spins it up to see how the resulting yarn comes out!


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