Saturday, April 26, 2008

Solar Yarn Dyeing with Kool Aid

Well, I did it!
I've been wanting to use my sun room to dye yarn for a while now, but wasn't sure it was going to get hot enough to set the colors. After a few info-seeking posts on a couple web forums I finally jumped in and did it.

We started at noon when the sun room was about 83F.
Started with this...
100g undyed, aran wt BFL, pre-soaked in warm water.

The colors: Cherry, Mandarinas, & Lemonade
All Kool-Aid flavors.

The ratios:
1 packet per 1/6 of skein for Cherry & Mandarinas.
2 packets per 1/6 skein for Lemonade with...

just a DASH of Mandarinas.

Add water.

Add yarn

Watch thermometer (it's on some diapers that were "sunning" too)...I have since learned that wool needs to get to 180F in order for the color to set (170F for silk).
It only got up to 60F outside.

Exhausted yellow & red dye baths (after 7hrs)

Let it sit in some vinegar water for a bit then gave it one 2-minute zap in the microwave for good measure (I was nervous about the orange even tho it was BARELY bleeding in the rinse).

Done :) Destined to become a pair of shorties for Owen.

Things I'd do different next time:
1) Stir the dye baths sooner than 5hrs into the process (temp was already going down).
2) Cover table with black cloth & move into direct, unshaded sun (top of sun room is tinted).
3) Try to be more patient...boy that's really hard!
4) Add vinegar to the orange (see below) & red (just in case)

I also threw in some test strands of Paton's Classic Merino already dyed in the "Camel" colorway. I've got 6 skeins & big plans :)
I DID pre-mordant this with vinegar (did not with the bare yarn).

As I rinsed, the orange was faintly bleeding into the water. I thought I just needed to rinse more...but it didn't stop. I zapped it in the microwave & let it sit overnight in vinegar change. Accidently rinsed with warmer water & MORE orange came out (follicle opening?).
After getting some advice/reminder about acid + heat = set color, I piled it into a pyrex dish with orange on the bottom. Covered only the orange with vinegar water (wet the other sections just a tad) & zapped it a few more times. I think/hope/pray that it's FINALLY set.
Pic after all that with no orange in the water..YAY!! I'm myself!
I blame my inexperience.
While I was rinsing after the above pic was taken, I saw that some red & orange had contaminated my yellow!! SO UPSET!!!
So now I'm overdyeing the yellow with two more packets in the microwave.

Pic of orange-infiltration of yellow. It is not complete. About 1/2 of each segment is still plain yellow. I guess I'll have to be ok with it.

I'm sure the sun-dyeing had nothing to do with all my troubles. I'll just have to try it again to prove it.

"Firestorm" dried & reskeined

1 comment:

MamaMay said...

Very fun! Also remember you can do this in your car on a hot day...