Tag: <span>dyeing</span>

Dyeing Roving with Kool Aid

I’ve put together a little step-by-step with photos of how I do this at home with as little mess as possible.

Things you will need:

  • Kool-Aid or other sugar-free drink mix.  Store brand will work just fine!  More packets mean more color, so you want to have more on hand than you think you’ll need, just in case.
  • Clear glass, microwave safe bowl
  • Gloves (unless you want tye dye hands!)
  • Old clothes or an apron
  • Vinegar (optional – most drink mixes have citric acid in them which sets the dye without needing vinegar)
  • Colander or strainer
  • White plastic utensil
  • Roving of your choice – cream, brown, grey, any color!  4 ounces is a pretty standard amount.
  • Old rag or towel
  • Microwave
DSC_9370_square 1. Gather all of the items you’ll be needing. Fill the clear glass bowl about 3/4 of the way with lukewarm water.
DSC_9373_square 2. Squish the roving gently into the bowl of water. Completely submerge the roving (this may take a little time) and leave it in the bowl for about an hour. You want to make sure that the roving is thoroughly wet so that it doesn’t singe in the microwave later. My roving is a grey/brown blend of BFL.
DSC_9374_square 3. After the hour is up, gently pour out the bowl of water into your colander over the sink. Give it a few good shakes to get most of the water out, but make sure the roving is still very damp.
DSC_9376_square 4. Prepare your Kool Aid! I usually cut the tops off and set them upright in a dry cup or bowl so that they’re within reach and don’t spill all over the table.
DSC_9379_square 5. In the glass bowl you used before, lay out the roving so that there is one level of roving in the bottom of the bowl. Here, I’ve gone in a spiral pattern, making sure not to overlap the roving. Start sprinkling on the Kool Aid – I did half/half here, but you could do one color per layer or any sort of pattern you can dream up! I’ve used Cherry and Grape Kool Aid and Raspberry Ice store brand (Great Value) drink mix.
DSC_9380_square 6. Squish the dye in with your fingers. This will help ensure a more even distribution of dye if that’s what you’re looking for, otherwise, hands off! The dye will only take where you’ve laid it. Repeat Step 5 and 6 until you’ve used up all of your roving.
DSC_9383_square 7. Gently pour in water to cover the roving. Again, we want to make sure that the roving is thoroughly wet so that it doesn’t singe in the microwave. If you pour too quickly, the top layer of dye may wash off a little – don’t worry, there’s still enough dye in the water to take, but you can re-layer dye on top after the water has been added. If the roving isn’t completely covered on the top, that’s okay, as long as it’s good and wet, it’s fine.
DSC_9389_square 8. Carefully place the bowl into the microwave and set it on high for two minutes. Check after the two minute cycle with your white utensil in the bowl to see if there is still a lot of dye in the bowl or if it’s mostly clear. Wait a few minutes and run the cycle again. Depending on the type of wool and color of dye, this can take a few cycles, just keep going!
DSC_9390_square 9. Here you can see that the water in the bowl is mostly clear. Allow the glass to cool until it’s cool enough to touch and remove from microwave.
DSC_9396_square 10. Gently dump the bowl into your colander over the sink again. Give the colander a few good shakes to get most of the water out. Fill the glass bowl about 3/4 of the way with water that is about the same temperature as the roving and place the roving gently in the bowl. Give the roving a few squishes to make sure all the dye is out, and pour the whole thing back into the colander. Shake to remove excess water and gently squeeze as much water out as you can.
DSC_9400_square 11. Hang your roving up to dry! Here I’ve got a cookie cooling rack placed over a plain white dish tub and spread the roving over the top. The colors came out great and I can’t wait for it to be dry!

February wrap-up

Still working on the  knitting resolutions!
1.  Clear the WIP queue from last year by the end of the month.
February is gone and I haven’t really made any headway there.  I managed to start way too many new projects at once and not make any real progress on any of the big ones.  I did knit three hats though this month, so that counts for something!  This means that I’m officially dedicating March to clearing the WIP queue completely.  Once that’s done, I’m going to start a sweater.

3. Knit one pair of socks per month
So close on this one!  But, I think I’m still on track for 12 pairs for the year, so this shouldn’t be a big deal that I’m 4 days over budget.  February is short anyway, right?  Just finished up the socks tonight, so I’ll have photos of them hopefully tomorrow.

4.  Spin four ounces of roving per month.
Boy did I ever make this one!  There were the four ounces of superwash BFL for Thorpe  and then a whopping eight ounces of superwash Merino from Crown Mountain Farms for my Sunshine Surf Scarf.   I’ll post something more on that project later.

5.  Dye more yarn and roving.
Got this one already too, though I hope to do this again throughout the year.  I attended a class at a local art center with the wonderful Pam Pawl who took us through the process she uses for dyeing.  It really made a lot of sense and I loved her method and great organization of the process.  I got to dye two skeins of yarn that the class provided (not great quality and really scratchy, but they’ll be wonderful for a felted project!).  With the leftover dye, I was able to dye some merino roving I had brought along.  Photographic evidence:
IMG_1466 IMG_1464 IMG_1465