The Hexapox (Part III: To Dye For)
By kirstinknits on April 01, 2013
Even though I was able to resist the urge to splurge on more minis, I still needed a lot of yarn in different colors for my beekeeper's quilt. An unused Groupon for the Lion Brand Yarn Studio (which I used to live a few blocks away from and love) gave me the perfect answer:
(Boy are these wonky -- it'll all come out in the joining, right?)
Two cones of LB 1878, a fingering-weight 100% wool that I was able to get in a nice off-white and Natural Heather (no longer available, sadly). Since I'd never dyed before, I thought it would be really interesting to see what these base colors did to different food dyes and I dove right in. My standard method of Kool-Aid dyeing for puffs is to soak a 15-yard mini (as much as I needed, based on the sample puffs above) in water for about an hour, remove the puffs from the dyeing vessel (either Corelware or a Mason jar), add a packet of Kool-Aid, add the yarn back (no stirring, because I prefer a semisolid look), and microwave until the dye is exhausted. My standard method involves frequent dyebath explosions in my microwave, so I recommend more patience than my typical 2 minutes on, 2 minutes of rest. Here are some of my minis dyed this way. As you can see, the Natural Heather base usually gives darker, more muted yarn, but is generally indistinguishable in the darker dyes.
(I like to pretend that I can tell the difference between the Tropical Punch and the Cherry. I can't.)
After I got comfortable with Kool-Aid dyeing, I moved onto other food colors. Since these food colors don't include citric acid like Kool-Aid, I added vinegar to the water when I did my initial soak. I usually use about 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a knife tip of Wilton food coloring or 12 drops of McCormicks. Otherwise, the process is as described above.
I've also done some trickier dyeing, which I'll try to show off in future posts. I'm really pretty hooked on it.
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