Monday, July 31, 2006

More Kool Aid Fun

So of course I had to check the results of the dyeing experiment as soon as I got home! The liquid in each jar was clear, so the dye had exhausted. I carefully pulled the roving from the jars and draped each section over a drying rack in the back yard, then rinsed them with the hose set to mist.

A bag of the rest of the undyed roving is at the bottom of the picture. It's definitely not white - more of a dingy yellow. I bought it from a fellow spinning guild member years ago. Except for yarn, it's probably the oldest fiber in my stash and more than likely the first that I spun on my own. We're going back about 15 years here, but I think that's right. I don't remember the breed. Good to learn on and experiment with, but not the softest stuff. I'm hoping that's just due to the mill's processing and it'll soften right up after it's spun and washed.

A girl can hope.

I'm loving the orange/yellow but the big surprise was the blue - it's more of a mix of blues than the turquoise shades in these pictures.

Tonight's dyeing is a smaller batch: a lot of roving in one jar, water, cherry Kool Aid (I think) in the bottom, lemonade on the top with the remains of a little bottle of yellow food coloring, and a glug of vinegar:

The box for the food coloring is yellowed and tattered, so it was no big loss.

I'll have to buy another shiny happy box sometime.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Auspicious Beginnings

Thursday our workgroup went out to celebrate July birthdays in Ellicott City:

The restaurant wasn't open yet when we arrived, but there was a used bookstore in the house next door. The owner of Gramp's Attic Books was sitting on the porch and we exchanged hellos and went in. I could have spent the afternoon there - there were shelves budging almost floor to ceiling with books, books spilling over almost every available surface, books with familiar authors and titles calling my name - but time was short. I asked the owner if he had any craft books and in a very small bookcase near the front I found what may have been the only knitting book in the store: "Susan Bates Presents 101 Ways to Improve Your Knitting". It was quite small but in good shape, published in 1949 and the dust jacket was intact, so I bought it and joined my friends at the restaurant.

While we waited for our tables, I had to take another look. I was pleased to find that this book was written by Barbara Abbey.

Today I did some Kool-Aid dyeing.

My first dye experiment was an attempt to salvage a large skein of teal yarn that I'd bought from a local spinner. The ties on the skein had been too tight when it was dyed. When they were removed there were splotches of the yarn's original bright pink. I re-skeined the yarn, tied it loosely, covered it with water and simmered it in a large pot with a bit of vinegar. A half hour later and all was well.

Natural dying came later at a weekend class at The River Farm in New Market, Virginia. We used marigold and bark among other things. If I can find my little sample skeins I'll post them later.

And today was Kool-Aid. Everybody does Kool-Aid dyeing. It's cheap and easy and safe enough to do with the kids. And since I didn't know if I'd like the results, I decided to go with some old not-so-nice roving that's been sitting in the basement for years.

I stuffed three glass jars with roving, added a glug of vinegar to each, sprinkled in the Kool-Aid, and filled the jars up with water. In more less that order.

Here are the jars at noon:

And at 3:00:

This evening I'll bring the jars in and let them cool off overnight. I'm feeling pretty iffy about the blue, but we'll see...