Saturday, January 31, 2009

On Death and Dyeing

I realized that I mentioned Kool-Aid dyed wool in my last post without any previous mention of dyeing. I got started when I was back in Montana for this summer (should you ever work up the courage to brave the depraved microcosm of hell that is a Montana Wal-Mart, they have a truly extensive collection of Kool-Aid). I had tried it before in my dorm room at college, but I am seriously not a big fan of microwave dyeing. Nonetheless, it resulted in this:


Seen here drying. I took great pleasure in how much this looked like some part of an internal organ hanging out my window.

My first attempt, once I had use of a full kitchen, was with food coloring. My one hint as far as achieving colors that aren't INSANELY NEON BRIGHT with Kool-Aid/food coloring is to dull the color a little bit with a drop or two of its compliment. Unfortunately, our food coloring box was missing the red, so this one turned out INSANELY NEON BRIGHT.


Maybe that picture isn't quite capturing the full effect. That shit is blinding. In the immortal words of Nicole, it looked like TOXIC SNOT. And it got felted in the dye bath. It was basically the world's biggest waste of Corriedale and I'll be damned if I was going to waste my time predrafting this hideous, eyeball-scorching, felted mass of refuse. I threw it out my window and spent the fall getting a savage stab of pleasure when I would see it lying there amongst the leaves and mushrooms, getting rained on.


Don't fuck wit dis.

My next attempts were much more successful. I split up the rest of my fiber into little 1 oz. batches in order to experiment and dyed them in the oven, using Hello Yarn's oven dyeing tutorial. (Can I take a moment to make a plug for Adrian? Look at how friggin' cool she is. She puts her methods, IN A TUTORIAL, up on the internet and we still go completely insane and sign up for massive wait lists and crash her server because we want her fiber so badly. She literally cannot dye fast enough. Good lesson to the ruder, more spiteful and secretive artists out there.)

I dyed up some more Corrie...


I spun this up into about 80 yards of sport weight sock yarn, which would be terrifically disappointing if I didn't have a seriously awesome plan.

(I'm somehow missing pictures of this really great orangey pinky sunrisey one I did, which I spun up into bulky singles and knit into a Calorimetry for my friend Hannah and it's probably the best thing I've ever knit ever. So naturally, I have no pictures. GFS.)

And some BFL.


The one on the right got spun up into about 100 yards of laceweight, which I have absolutely no idea how to use. The one on the left is my precious, which I am too scared to spin because it is the most beautiful thing ever created by my hands. It is worth noting that this sample, which I thought would suck, was created by me mixing a bunch of random colors, saying, "Holy shit, that is the ugliest orange I've ever seen in my entire life" and throwing it into the oven with reckless abandon. This is how you get cool things. Planning makes lame stuff, random chance makes awesome. For me, kind of the total opposite of knitting.

I'm definitely hooked on dyeing. Kool-Aid really isn't cheap, though, when you're going through it in such quantities, so I'm thinking about picking up an acid-dye kit. More adventures, ho!


Brie said...

Oh, gorgeous! This makes me want to get back into spinning and dying. I'll have to go check out hello yarn's site again. And I'd love to see the yarn you spun up with some of these!

knittingiris said...

"the depraved microcosm of hell that is a Montana Wal-Mart"
Hear, hear! Thanks. I got a good laugh out of that one.