Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rainbow Colorway with Kool-Aid

In my dying experiments with Lion Brand Wool ease yarn, I decided to try mixing the colors a bit to make a rainbow colorway. I loosely followed the protocol from Pea Soup, but I did not use nearly as much food coloring as they did.

I started out with basic red, yellow and blue. I mixed either 2 packets Cherry, 2 packets Ice blue raspberry lemonade or 1 packet lemonade in 1/4 cup water. (I chose to use Kool-Aid as the acid for the dying project. Alternatively you could soak the yarn some % vinegar overnight which will help the dye take to the yarn. Kool-Aid smells fun, and it is nice starting with a bit of a pallet.) With a 10 mL syringe that I took from lab, I transferred 10-12 mL of each primary color into three smaller glasses.

I then mixed the colors as follows (where 1 refers to the Big cup):
  • Blue 1 - 10 drops of NEON blue
  • Blue 2 - 5 drops NEON purple
  • Blue 3 - 8 drops NEON pink, 5 drops NEON blue
  • Blue 4 - 5 drops green
  • Yellow 1 - 10 drops yellow
  • Yellow 2 - 5 drops NEON green
  • Yellow 3 - 2 drops yellow, 2 drops NEON green, 2 drops green
  • Yellow 4 - 3 drops yellow, 5 drops red
  • Red 1 - 10 drops red
  • Red 2 - 4 drops blue
  • Red 3 - 5 drops yellow
  • Red 4 - 6 drops NEON blue

I put some drops of each sample onto a paper towel to get a sense of their colors:

I decided to order the colors as follows to get a rainbow effect: R1, R2, R4, B2, B3, B1, B4, Y3, Y2, Y1, Y4, R3

I covered my kitchen table in trashbags, then put paper towels on top of the bags (to pick up any accidental spills), and then seran wrap on top of the paper towels (to facilitate the cooking step).

I applied the dye to sections of pre-soaked yarn (I soaked it in water overnight and I did not blot all of the water out before starting the dying process so the dye would spread easier.) The dye was absorbed into the section by lightly pressing on the section to make sure the color was consistent throughout. After all of the color was applied, I went back and pushed the dye into the portions inbetween two colors to minimize the amount of white remaining.

I wrapped the skein up in saran wrap as best as possible, put it on the plate and then covered that with more saran wrap. I zapped the yarn in the microwave on HIGH for 5 min and then allowed the yarn to cool until I could touch it comfortably. The yarn was zapped for another 5 min (I found that I had to pause the microwave every so often because I could hear something popping.) It may be necessary to add more water if the yarn starts to dry out.

Allow the yarn to cool, then rinse it until the water runs clear. Wash with mild soap and rinse thoroughly. Hang up to dry. The colors are less bright than when the dye was applied to the yarn, but there was very little dye that got rinsed out during the wash step. Once again, I am surprised about how well this 20% wool/80% acrylic yarn holds dye.

Look how pretty the final ball looks!