Thursday, October 29, 2009

All I'm Going to Say is "Kool"

My latest project, the Aestlight Shawl, came to an abrupt standstill when I ran out of yarn about 4 inches from the end. I knit as fast as I could but it didn't help. ;) That's like driving as fast as you can to a gas station when your tank is low. So I quickly ordered not one, but TWO more skeins of the lovely Dream in Color Smooshy in Shiny Moss from Little Knits. My plan is that I will then have enough wool to knit another shawl when Aestlight is complete. Dye lot should not matter that much with the variation in color inherent in the skein, but we shall see. I might be in for a rude awakening.
In the meanwhile I had ordered a few things from Knit Picks. Carmen Banana is in the works. She is a female sock monkey with several outfits including a poodle skirt. What a fun, though fiddly, knit. I doubt that saucy Carmen will have a boyfriend anytime soon in this household, at least from the needles of this knitter, but who knows? I estimate that she is taking about as much time as a pair of socks, which is fine. The kit was $19.95 and that included quite a lot of wool. In fact, I'm sure you could get two sock monkeys out of one kit.
Among of the items I ordered from Knit Picks were some skeins of Bare, their undyed wool. What a bargain! Fingering Weight, 75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% nylon, 462 yards for $6.29! (free shipping if order is over $50, which mine always is). It is actually quite lovely in its bare state. Given the "hobby gene" that runs in my family, it is incredible that I have never in my knitting or former spinning life, dyed even one little bit of wool. No, I was not going to GO THERE. It was another world of chemicals, pots, mordants, and a load of paraphernalia that I did not want to deal with. Then some time ago along came dyeing with Kool-Aid, to which I gave a cursory nod. Can you tell what I am leading up to?
First I read through quite a few tutorials online, all of which varied somewhat in approach. Since microwaves and I don't get along real well lately (I've ruined two), I chose the crock pot method. Armed with a dozen or so packets of unsweetened Kool-Aid, my largest crock pot, a few towels, and a skein of Bare, I delved into the world of color. It was easier than I thought it would be and the result wasn't too bad. I found that although I thought I had PLENTY of Kool_aid, the wool sucked it up pretty fast. Less than 10 min after putting the dye in the crock pot, the water was clear. So I mixed up more "dye" and poured it in. That got sucked up quickly too. Note that my first doses of dye were 3 packets of Black Cherry mixed in water for one end of the crock pot and the same in Cherry at the other end. Still there were areas where the strands are light pink. (It was not my intention to try to match the color of the crock pot.)Nonetheless, I will be excited to see how this fruity wool knits up. It is rather pretty, isn't it? It still smells like Kool-Aid but I think that will dissipate.

Has anyone overdyed something like this to tone it down a bit (just in case)? Is there a food related way? Back in the 80's we used tea to stain muslin for sewing projects. I'm wondering if that would work.
Now I'm taking a poll on how you feel about music on a blog site. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand I find it a little distracting and on the other hand I've found some music I really like through blogs. So what do you think? Of course, you can always click on the pause button...


nicole said...

What a fun post! Using kool-aid to dye wool - fabulous! And the music player was such a fun idea that I had to get one for our family blog!

KPiep said...

I've had similar problems with shawls...and had to come up with rather creative ways to finish them. In one case I found someone on Ravelry who had the same yarn in her stash and begged nicely for 5 yards!

I've still not had the urge to dye anything....and probably won't. Just guessing. I'm not one for messes, being a touch too fastidious.

I've got to start Carmen Banana myself. Mom and I each ordered a kit, and I'm making the monkeys while she's making the clothes for the girls for Christmas!

Joy said...

Well Carmen Banana is a *hoot* - my oldest granddaughter (23!) has a thing for sock monkeys, but doubt I'll tackle her. Pretty yarn colors!

Diana said...

Lovely notation on the dyeing today. Are you taking a vote on music playing on your blog? My vote is NO! I'm usually playing what I want to hear and get upset when something comes on to interfere. I could always not come to those sites that have automatic music. The only reason I'm saying something about it is because you asked.

Anonymous said...

I vote no on the music. I often read late at night and it can be rather loud in a quiet house.

Travels With My Baskets said...

Love the music and the posts!

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