Friday, December 08, 2006

Am I dye-ing?


Exactly one month after recovering from my last cold, I am sick again. What gives? You'd think I'd been licking subway poles or something! (I assure you, I haven't) My sniffles kept me home from my office holiday party last night. Boo! I'm sure my co-workers happily took care of any spare drink tickets floating around in my absence. On the upside, I am certainly NOT hungover today. Besides, two days of no-worky make for two days of much-knitty.

As most of my knitting these days is Christmas-related and must remain strictly on the down-low (I don't want to blow Santa's cover), I thought I'd dig into the vaults and tell you all about my ghosts of knitting past. Here's something I documented ages ago and never got around to blogging about: Kool aid dying!

This summer I got a great bargain on some natural, un-dyed wool. I'd read about dying yarn with Kool-aid on and thought I'd give it a whirl. I had so much of this bargain yarn, I figured even if I destroyed a few skeins with a lousy dye job - it would be no biggie.

After reading and re-reading the instructions, I headed off to my local grocer and purchased about a bazillion packets of grape Kool-aid. Okay, it was really just a dozen packages of grape with a few cherry thrown in for interest. I actually found myself embarrassed in my Kensington market grocery store to be purchasing something so utterly un-healthy, un-organic and generally un-bohemian. I felt like anouncing to everyone " It's okay folks! I'm not drinking it! I'm using it to dye yarn!". Realizing I would probably get more strange looks for dying wool with Kool-aid than merely drinking it, I kept my mouth shut.

Back at the ranch (aka, my apartment), I took out my big, red enamel pot, tossed in the kool-aid, the yarn, the water and turned up the heat. After a short prayer to the knitting gods, I left the kitchen, fingers crossed.

When I came back a while later to check on it, it seemed to be 'done'. The water was clear which, according to the instructions, meant all the colour had been absorbed by the wool - but the wool was mauve. NOOOOO! I hate mauve! Purple, no problem. Amethyst, violet, eggplant... any incarnation of purple - but mauve? Ew! I think mauve is a colour that should only be worn by those under the age of 10 or over the age of 65. (Sorry if I offend any mauve-lovers out there, but that's just how I feel.)

I went back to the grocery store. If I had been embarrassed the first time, I was mortified the second. Especially considering I had the same cashier. She remembered me:

"Weren't you just here? Buying the same thing?" she said.

"Uh, yeah. I use it to dye yarn. I don't drink it!"

"Oh. $4.80 please. Do y' need a bag?"

Not only was she completely un-phased, she was obviously not a knitter. Despite my shame, the second trip was worth it. Another batch of Kool-aid did the trick:

My yarn turned a nice warm purple colour. (PURPLE. Most definitely not mauve.) I love the colour, and as an added bonus - it smells like grape! (Don't worry, If you don't want to smell like Strawberry Shortcake I hear the scent does fade) I would warn anyone thinking of trying this technique that the colour may not turn out evenly. Mine is slightly variegated, but I actually prefer it that way. Also, as you can glean from my results, if you want saturated colour, I'd suggest using twice as much kool-aid as recommended. Just don't drink the stuff. Seriously.

1 comment:

Diane said...

sorry to hear you are under the weather, however, this is a perfect time to knit...knit...knit...knit...I hope you get well soon!