Monday, June 18, 2007

Using Science to Make Fruity Yarn....

So, while being bored at work the other day, I discovered that you can use Kool-Aid to dye yarn. (Thanks Knitty.) Me, being the Science Freak that I am (and a newbie knitter) decided that this sounded like fun and I set out to try it. Needless to say, my Dad was less than thrilled that I was going to take over his kitchen to do this little project since my urge fell on Father's Day weekend and I (being such a wonderful Daughter) had gone home to see him. He was also horrified that I made him go with me to Houchen's Market (a local grocery store) to buy the 20 packages of Kool-Aid in various flavors that I wanted to try. He'll get over it, though. Also, thanks to his digital camera, I was able to take pictures of the process. So, here is my first experience with the Kool-Aid Fruity Yarn making experiment:

First, I bought some Patons Ayran Classic Merino Wool at Michael's. (2 skeins 3 1/2 oz each). I had to do this part in Lexington since the only place you can get yarn in Glasgow is Wal-Mart and they don't generally have 100% Wool Yarn.

Next, Dad and I made the trek to Houchen's Market to get the Kool-Aid. It was on sale 4/$1.00!! and I bought 2 packages of each of the 9 flavors they had: Cherry, Lemon Lime, Black Cherry, Pina Pineapple, Pink Lemonade, Tropical Punch, Strawberry, Lemonade, and Orange.

Once I knew how many flavors I had, I used the back of one of Dad's dinning room chairs to wind the yarn into short hanks. This part caused my Dad to wonder if I really had lost my mind. I tied each Hank in four places with the same yarn since (a) that was the only thing I had on hand, and (b) I didn't want to use anything that might bleed onto my yarn.

Notice the Father's Day presents on the table. I am such an awesome Daughter!

Finished Hanks, wound and tied.

Then, the yarn went into a big bowl full of warmish (just slightly warmer than room temp) water and just a "glug" of white vinegar to soak for about 20 minutes. I must confess that I'm not sure how long they really soaked since I just let them sit for the amount of time it took me to mix up all my stuff and run to Wal-Mart to look for more flavors (which they didn't have any).

This also happens to be the bowl we used for popcorn when I was a kid. Not fancy, but functional.

I mixed up the Kool-Aid using about 6-8oz of warm water and one package of Kool-Aid in some of Dad's canning jars (the wide mouth ones worked really well, the regular ones made it hard to get the yarn in and out). I also found that iced tea spoons (which I didn't know he had) worked really well for mixing it up since they reached all the way to the bottom of the jar easily. Then, I pulled a hank of yarn from the bowl, squeezed out the excess water, and smooshed it into a jar. I used the spoon to squish the yarn down and then added enough water to cover the yarn (if I needed to).

Notice the black trash bag I put down to keep from staining the counter (again, such a wonderful daughter)!

Then, everything went into the microwave for 2 minutes on high. I let it sit for about 5 minutes, then I nuked it again for 2 minutes. Another 5 minute rest and one last 2 minute heat and rest and then it was done.

There were actually five jars in the microwave here, even though it only looks like 3. I did a set of 5 and then a set of 4.

The freakiest part of the whole thing: the water at the end was CLEAR. It makes you wonder what is really in Kool-Aid.

Once the yarn had cooled, I rinsed it in warmish water again, and then washed it in Wool-Aid and rinsed it one more time. Everything then went out into the garage to dry. This part made Dad laugh and drew some very interesting comments from our dinner guests that night. It looked like a forrest of strange yarn.

Once the yarn was dry (read: the next day) I took it down, photographed it, and then wound it into center pull balls. What fun.

Left to Right: Orange, Strawberry, Pink Lemonade, Lemonade

Left to Right: Cherry, Pina Pineapple, Black Cherry, Lemon Lime, Tropical Punch

Overall, I was very pleased with the way it turned out. Most of the red colors were very similar, although there were some subtle differences. The Lemonade was a bit of a disappointment since it was so pale and washed out, but I think I may try dying that bit again to see if I can make the color stronger. The Pink Lemonade and the Orange turned out a bit spotty. I'm not sure if I need to use more water, a bigger jar, or just didn't smoosh it enough, but I think it will actually look pretty cool when I knit it up.

My favorite colors had to be the Lemon Lime and the Pina Pineapple, though. They both came out so bright and so pretty! And Pina Pineapple is much nicer looking than Lemonade. I told Dad he may have to go back to the store and get me more of that if I can't find it in Lexington. I did try Kroger last night and found some Grape which should make a nice purple color, but I still haven't run across any blue flavors.

I also have no idea what I am going to make with all my Fruity Flavor Yarn, but I already feel the need to make more. I shall be going on a city wide Kool-Aid hunt this afternoon, so beware!

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Okay so maybe you have lost your mind....