Saturday, August 22, 2009

You Spin Me Right Round

As you may know from reading the great wool fiasco, I have a great store of lovely rovings to be spun into yarn. So, I obtained a spinning wheel a few weeks ago, and now I have a new obsession. I hated trying to spin with a drop spindle, but where it was clumsy, tedious, and mind numbingly slow, the little wheel is efficient, easy, and fun! Yeah, it really is fun, but perhaps I am easily entertained. I find myself trying to sneak in a little spinning time whenever I can, taking procrastination to a new level.

The quality of my yarn still leaves something to be desired, but practice, practice! It is gradually improving. Now that I have a pretty good stash going, I thought I would experiment with some overdying.

On the far left here, is the pink that I so strongly objected to initially, since it was supposed to be "scarlet". I confess, it has really grown on me, it has sort of a nice warm, coral tone to it. So, I am letting it be. The other two colors just seem dull and washed out though, blah-boring.

I had heard of dying natural fibers with koolaid, so I did a little research. Everyone seems to like the effect, and it has enough acid that you do not need to add anything else to it to set the color. In fact, the first ingredient is citric acid. So, I tried dying these two skeins with similar colors to see if I could brighten them up a bit.

Here's the procedure, it couldn't be simpler. Presoak the skein in cool water for a couple of minutes:

Meanwhile, hotten up about 3 liters of water in a big pot, and stir in a couple packs of koolaid. The water should be smoking hot, but not boiling, I set the eye on the lowest setting.

Toss your skein in there. I am using Tropical Punch here, good ole red dye # 40!
Then wait for the wool to suck all the color out of the water. Neat, huh?

Next, I just squeezed out the excess water, and hung up the skeins in this elegant fashion-ha. I have given them a bit of weight in the form of a rolling pin wrapped in a towel. This will help gently straighten the yarn as it dries, so it doesn't get all kinked up and weird.

I must say, I really like the end result. The colors are definitely deeper and more intense. Unfortunately, it's a bit hard to see the difference in the photo below, because this wool has such a nice luster to it-it really reflects light. You'll have to take my word for it. I especially like the blue-the Blue Raspberry Lemonade turned it a pretty robin's egg color. Yes, koolaid is the dye for me. It seems to be colorfast-the wet wool left no stain on the white towel. It does make your house smell a little fruity, but I'll take fruity over sheepy.


Billie Jane said...

What is Koolaid? Apart from a wool dye that is! We dont seem to have this product over here... and I am intrigued.

Sara said...

Ah, sorry Jane, Kool-Aid is a ubiquitous product in the states, marketed towards children. You buy these little packs of powder full of artificial colors and fruit flavors, then mix with sugar and water for a cool, refreshing drink. Nasty stuff. It's a cheap and handy wool dye, though, and according to my father, you can use it to remove rust from metal objects! (: I'd be pleased to mail you some, not for consumption, of course.

ACE said...

Fruity over sheepy, any day! Snort!

j.d.h. said...

i dig it!!!

Billie Jane said...

OMG it sounds vile!! Makes great dye though! I'll pass for the moment thanks Sara... but spinning is on mylist of skills yet to learn! I havent seen a spinning wheel like that before either... very modern looking. x