Monday, October 29, 2007

autumn kool-aid dying party!

so this past Sunday (aka yesterday) i had a wee little autumn yarn dying party at my apartment with my knitting (and non-knitting) friends!
it was a serious blast.
when i was in college, i experimented a bit with all different kinds of dying, but my favorite by far was dying with Kool-Aid.
one of my friends taught me, and i've since learned that it's a bit more common than i thought. especially here in the city.
but all of my knitting friends had never done it before! so i decided to have a party and teach everyone that wanted to learn.

i baked halloween treats, and had snacks to munch on while dying. in the back there, you can see, i set out all the yarn i've dyed with kool-aid, and my sketch book, which has all of my recipes hidden away. and my batch of kool-aid of course.

so first was the hard part, choosing the colors. it took awhile, but eventually everyone had their favorite combinations and was ready to dye. some were mathematical and precise. some were more organic and free-flowing (my personal style). some had a very specific color in mind.

for those of you who have never done this, or don't know the process, i will enlighten you. kool-aid dying is a simple process. you need a skein of naked yarn made of an animal fiber (such as wool, silk, etc.), a clear glass or tupperware container, preferably large, kool-aid of all colors and flavors, water and a microwave. put one (1) skein of yarn into container, add water. squeeze all excess air out of yarn, make sure yarn is completely submerged. add kool-aid. to achieve desired color, use at least 10 packets of kool-aid. can be different colors. blend as desired, or simply create patterns. place container in microwave. start with 10 minutes. nuke that yarn until the water is clear (or after about 30 minutes). rinse and hang to dry. you've got beautiful yarn!!!

all in all, everyone was very satisfied with the outcome! let's see.

R#1 was first, and you can see her stripes! this is a shot of the yarn in the microwave after 10 minutes of heat. she chose 2 shades of orange and lime green. she doesn't like to knit, but wanted to learn to dye! so i'm going to knit her something nice with this.

her colors blended soooo nicely.

L was next. she chose the most brilliant fuchsia. it was gorgeous! she used my method of free-flowing and mixing. it looks a bit orange next to her magenta shirt, but it really was so nice and pink.

R#2 decided to go with bright orange, how festive! she was very mathematical with her application. must be the engineer in her. she added a tiny bit of dark red and tan, you can see how nicely it blended together with the orange.

and S went last. she was so determined to get her awesome shade of mustard yellow! isn't it gorgeous?? her yarn was a bit tangled when it came out of the microwave, but she was so happy with her color it didn't even matter. who would have thought kool-aid could make such a nice muted color!

i was so busy playing hostess that i didn't get to dye anything until after everyone left! that's fine with me, i was so happy to see my friends having fun and enjoying each other's company. it was the perfect day.

if you have any more questions about dying with kool-aid, you can visit for the dying recipe and amazingly cheap naked wool!


Ruth said...

Good, good, good for you, sweet girl! This is such an interesting process, combining something modern and pop culturish with something organic and ageless. So very Lesley!

I like the phrase "naked wool." It makes me think of naked sheepsies, well sort of opposite I guess. Well not opposite really, sort of the next phase. Naked sheepsies, naked wool. Next would be naked knitwear. Hmm. I like how it sounds oxymoronic.

(Or does it just sound moronic?)

Raw Kale said...

That looked like so much fun- I would have love to have been there!!!

I'm telling you- you should write a book!

Anonymous said...

What a great party idea! Your friends look like they had a blast. I love your cupcakes, too!

lesleyanne said...

yay yay yay mammas!! i like how you put that, modern and poppy with organic. i never thought of it that way.

i've been trying to think of a way i can recycle wool, as opposed to buying brand new naked wool. i guess it would bring the idea of 'naked' to an entirely new level.

naked knitwear? hmmm....i think you have an amazing idea there....could be oxymoronic, but that's what makes it so're a genius!

lesleyanne said...

i would have loved to have you there RK! i wish you weren't so far away ( i say it again and again), we would have so much fun together, swapping ideas and trading our wares!

would you illustrate my book with beautiful paintings? :)

lesleyanne said...

thank you Heather! if you didn't live in the mitten, i would have sent you an Evite too!

i'm getting ready to knit mySELF a pair of these fingerless gloves! my office has been cold lately. are they holding up ok?