Hello KP Community! I have Good Friday off today which I haven't had off in years, but my new company allows for it - so yay! Since it's my day off, I'm going to push off some home chores for a bit and have some fun.
Last month I hand-carded and spun up some Huacaya alpaca into a single ply yarn and had it undyed for a while. Until one day after work, I decided I missed painting so much I took out the Kool-aid and food coloring and had at it! Here are photos of my progress:
Step 1: Bathe your yarn.
I used 2 tbsp vinegar to a bowl of water and added my yarn, which was tied in about 2 places. I pushed it down and got all the air bubbles out and even had a bowl on top to weigh it down further. I let it sit for about 30 mins.
While the yarn is taking a bath, take out your Kool-Aid and food coloring and start mixing your dyes.
For this session, I used:
2 packets of Berry Blue Kool-Aid
2 packets of Lemon-Lime KA
Dark green = 15 drops of green coloring with 2 drops of black
Dark Blue = 15 drops of blue coloring with 2 drops of black
Here the kool-aid colors are on the left, the corresponding food-dye colors on the right. (and the speckles of black is me being clumsy with the black).
If you're going to use bottles like I do, mix the colors into little bowls, then transfer into the bottles.
Step 3: Start painting!
Take your yarn out of the bath and gently squeeze out as much of the water as you can. Keep it damp but it should not be soaking as you want the dye liquid to go through.
Place the yarn in a flat container and lay it out in a manner that is easy for you to maneuver. I am using a Pyrex baking dish with the yarn kinda 'folded' in half.
Start applying the yarn using the bottles. I did put one glove on, but ended up taking it off (not sure why). I did have very colorful fingers afterwards, so if you don't want to have to explain to your co-workers why your fingertips are blue and green, you might want to use gloves.
When I'm done with one side, I actually flip the yarn over and apply the other side. I know some folks don't do this as it might mix the colors, but it works for me - so do what works best for you. Here's one side of the yarn:
Back in Step 1, I bathed the yarn in a Pyrex bowl. Once I started to paint, I got rid of most of the vinegar solution but kept a small amount. Now that I want to set the dye, I put the yarn into that same bowl and add a little bit of that leftover solution.
Cover the bowl with a plate so the steam won't escape and microwave on high for 2 mins. (I have a 900 watt microwave oven). Let it rest for 2 minutes in the micro. Make sure NOT to move the plate on top as you still want that heat/steam inside. Microwave for another 2 minutes. (Short version: Micro on High for 2 mins, REST for 2 mins, Micro on High again for 2 mins.)
Once the second zapping is complete, I take the bowl with the plate on top and let it cool completely. I usually set it aside somewhere I can't see it so I won't be tempted to take a peek (that means I set the whole thing on a potholder in the corner of the bathroom and close the door). I'll eventually remember and by that time it's cooled completely.
Step 5: Rinse the yarn.
Once it's been cooled and the dye set, I take the yarn out of the bowl and lightly place it in a sink filled with warm water. I let that sit for 15 or so minutes to make sure no dye is releasing. I do this one more time so it's rinsed twice with clean water, then take it out and squeeze the excess water out.
Step 6: Final product!
After I dyed up this alpaca, I have leftover dyes so I painted some merino wool as well.
Here are photos of both versions.
*for this one, I used 1/4c vinegar in the dye bath. This was single-spun, then thread plied using a silver/gray thread.
This one I also just posted on the shoppe.
I hope this has been entertaining and somewhat interesting - LOL!! Have a great holiday everyone :)
Much Aloha, christina