Archive for the ‘dyeing’ Category

After a long hiatus, I’ve started on the Babette Blanket again. I didn’t like the oranges and browns–a bit too 70s–so I ripped out a bunch of the squares to start fresh. Now I’m making purple the dominant color, rather than taupe/brown. And I finally got the time and motivation to dye some yarn.

Swish Overdye#1 & #2

Both of these started out as Knit Picks Swish Superwash in Bubblegum pink. I added red #20 powder food coloring and red Kool-Aid to the one on the left, and Wilton’s violet to the one one the right. Really love the coral/watermelon color, but it never stopped bleeding in the rinse water. I’m sure it was the powder dye that did it.

My therapist gave me a great tip today: use citric acid powder (from a natural food store) instead of vinegar. Doesn’t have the nasty vinegar smell, and it’s the same stuff they put in Kool-Aid. I find that Kool-Aid colors set pretty well.

Swish Overdye #3

Knit Picks Swish Superwash in Coast Gray, overdyed with Wilton’s violet and a splash of random red Kool-Aid. I’m going to go back and re-do it with grape Kool-Aid, since I was looking for a darker color.

My partner and I hosted afternoon tea–that’s right, a tea party. I made fresh lemon curd* for the scones, and finger sandwiches with the crusts cut off and everything. Cucumber and yogurt/dill/cilantro spread; smoked wild Sockeye salmon and fresh dill with a cream cheese spread; sliced Bosc pear (the Concorde season is over, alas) and deliciously creamy Fourme d’Ambert blue cheese. YUM! Wanted to take pics but my friends think I’m a loony foody as it is. But we did receive this beautiful beautiful teapot, which a friend left behind when she left the country.


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Mixing different colors in Wilton’s and Kool-Aid is tricky! I tried a dozen different permutations, aiming for lilac (reddish purple) and periwinkle (blueish purple) for the Babette Blanket. The bit of yellow in some of the colors wreaked havoc, creating mauves and brownish pinks/purples. Next time I’ll look more closely at the list of ingredients. Even the unspecified “artificial color” can cause problems when you mix colors. I suspect the Red #40 was also causing some problems; it just wouldn’t mix into a true purple when combined with Blue #1. Still hunting for something with pure Red #3.

Finally, I came up with these:

Hand-Dyed Yarn, originally uploaded by Rina7.

On the left, a lilac/periwinkle blend using Wilton’s icing dye in Violet (Blue 1 & Red 3), plus a tinge of Strawberry Kool-Aid. Right: Berry Blue Kool-Aid, plus a tinge of red (I think Cherry KA). Both are Knit Picks Bare Superwash, worsted weight. I put the main dye in first, and then fished the yarn, stirred in a tiny bit of the second pigment, and put the yarn back in. I repeated this process several times to get the right color saturation level.

The semisolid effect is great for Babette, but I was still struck by how unevenly the yarn drank up the dye. I wonder if pre-soaking without the vinegar might make a difference? Maybe it was the yarn: I did my test batches with Patons Classic Merino, which took the colors more evenly, though it resisted blue and generally turned out muddier looking.

Anyway, now my Babette yarn collection is complete! Until I have to buy/dye more, of course. I’m already running short on a few.

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Goody Friday

Okay, it’s actually Thursday, but I’m taking off for Ashland tomorrow. Considered”Fiber Friday” but there are other kinds of craft related goodies, so…

Assorted Kool-Aid

Clockwise from left: Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Lemon-Lime, Berry Blue, Slammin’ Strawberry Kiwi, Blastin’ Berry Cherry, and Pink Lemonade.

The Safeway & Albertson’s monopoly in the East Bay carries only the basic flavors. So I scoured the web. E-Bay is wonderful! Quite a mark-up over retail prices, but I was on a mission. Still need a source for Mandarine Tangerine, though.

invisible Kool-Aid


It’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit and these arrived at the LYS. Malabrigo Worsted in Shocking Pink, ordered in February. I have 5 skeins. When the fog rolls into the Bay, I’ll think of a knitting project for this. The delicious pink wants to be a feminine sweater, don’t you think?

shocking pink Malabrigo

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Sorry about no pics, but I had to put this on the record.  I take back almost everything I said about overdyeing Woolease.  Evidently with most colors it’s not a good idea.  I had tremendous success tinting dark rose heather with grape and black cherry Kool-Aid, but when I tried again today with several other yarn colors and Wilton’s food coloring paste…  let’s just say the results were not very appetizing.  Some colors just wouldn’t take.  Guess I just got really lucky the first time.

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Dyeing for Babette

Received a Knit Picks shipment — more Babette yarn, will it ever end? The Swish Superwash Chili Pepper red is perfect, not to bright, but still intense. Then there was Coast Gray, and the Bare Superwash. I started out with the Bare, shooting for lime green/chartreuse with a mixture of Wilton’s icing dyes in Leaf Green and Sunny Yellow. This was my first time with Wilton’s and, er, I had a bit of a mishap…


I noticed right away that the Sunny Yellow gel looked orange. Paying it no mind, I mixed a bit into a heavy solution of Leaf Green. Then, trying to save time, I put the yarn (pre-soaked in hot water and vinegar) into a pyrex baking dish intended for the microwave. Took the green solution and started pouring.

Uh-oh! The solution was waaay too dark, and quickly got soaked up instead of diffusing. And it was an ugly brownish green. When you mix a secondary color (in this case, green) with the opposite primary (in this case the red in the yellow cake dye), you get brown. Hastily threw the yarn into warm soapy water and washed it out, but the large dirty brown patches remained. I re-dyed it on the stovetop with just the green. It needs more yellow and I’m unhappy with the muddy green parts, but I don’t want to abuse the yarn further. Lesson: do a small test run first! The hard part with Wilton’s is that there’s not really a good way to control the amount of pigment, given the gloppy consistency of the gel.


Had better luck with the overdye project with Coast Gray Swish Superwash. Goal: very dark plum. First try was with Grape Kool-Aid. It needed more pigment and I added a bit of Cherry, but that tilted too much towards red. A final dunk in a solution of Wilton’s Violet did the trick. In real life the yarn is a very dark purple; my camera tends to minimize red and shift towards blue.

Still on the agenda for Babette yarns: overdye some Woolease to get tan, lilac, and periwinkle. I have a pretty good handle on ovedyeing Woolease, so hopefully it will go more smoothly.

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Last night I tried over-dyeing some of the lackluster Plymouth Encore colors for Babette. (With shipping charges, it’s hardly worth returning a few skeins.) But the colors are off in the photos… rrgh. Anyone have a good digital camera recommendation? Something light, compact and good for detail shots. My mom handed me a wad of cash to buy a pretty nice one, as a graduation gift. I tried to bid her down, but it’s hard with the Korean parental thing. She’s known for secretly stuffing bills into our pockets or purses when my sister and I aren’t looking. Oh yeah, did I mention we’re both in our mid -30s?


Back to dyeing: Dunked the peachy Encore into a pot of hot water containing three packets of Orange Kool-Aid (plus a bit of vinegar). It went from peach sherbet to orange sherbet–not the pink you see here. I’d still like a more intense orange.

I like the yellow results better. Most of a skein of baby yellow (original color in small cake on right) went in with three packets of Lemonade Kool-Aid flavor mix. But this turned a pale yellow, so recklessly I took the empty Orange flavor packets and swished them around in the dye bath, frantically agitating the water when I saw how quickly–and unevenly –the dye was absorbing. The mere dusting of pigment gave it a bit more life, a sunnier canary yellow.


Next time: re-do the peachy Encore with a bit more orange plus yellow, to push some of the pink towards orange. Dose some lavender Encore with Strawberry and Grape Kool-Aid, hopefully resulting in a red-purple. I’m obsessing a bit about the colors, aren’t I? I just want the blanket to pop.

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Have to make this quick because I am seriously behind on my last dissertation chapter–and then onto the Intro that has been the bane of my existence for 3 years. But I’ve been happy to have quick-crocheting garments to work on. What they have in common is that they’re not bulky and stiff, like crochet garments can often be.One is a lacy design with sport weight yarn. Even with a relatively lifeless acrylic, it’s turning out to be very wearable. The other is a sideways construction vest using a worsted acrylic blend. Simple back loop single crochet not only gives it a ribbed effect, it creates a supple fabric.

smokey-quartz-tunic.jpg from F06 Interweave Knits

1. “Smoky Quartz Tunic” from the Fall 2006 issue of Interweave Knits. Happened to have a ball of Lion Baby Soft (sportweight) that I’d rejected for another project, and it’s working up quite nicely with this pattern. (Only complaint: the yarn splits and is kind of uneven.) I’m calling it “Black Quartz.” This acrylic yarn doesn’t drape well–any ease tends to puff out–so a tighter fit made more sense.

The lace yoke was challenging and fun. Then the rest of the pattern moves fast:


blackquartzsweater2.JPG (more…)

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