Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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Started a new scarf yesterday (what? why ya lookin' at me like that?):

Fluffy Black Thing

It's a thank you gift that I need to finish soon.

Guys are tough to knit for, especially when it's supposed to be a surprise and you don't know them that well. Of course, asking Scott for help doesn't make it any better, his "acceptable color" palette is limited so most yarn suggestions were nixed immediately. Black is safe. Isn't it? Not fun to knit with, especially with 3 strands of microscopic boucle. It's not like I need to see the pattern as I work. But it's safe, right? Right?

In more colorful news, I Kool Aid dyed another ounce of merino:

Dyeing Fiber

Yup, that's more of the "dot" effect I was going for the first time before I got carried away watching the fiber absorb the dye. Great red, eh? Roarin' Raspberry Cranberry; looks blood red mixed up so I had a good feeling about the red it would produce. Wanted to add another color in but don't like any of the colors I have. Allison used Crystal Lite to dye her son's hat yarn, so I'll have to branch out. Who knows, I may end up getting (gasp) non-drink mix dyes before long.

The results (from my first dyeing experience) are in! Here is the dried dyed top (or is it dyed dried top?):

Dyeing Fiber - finished

I had been sooo patient letting it dry that I couldn't wait to spin it up (click to see the larger version, looks better):

19: Kool Aid dyed merino

Here it is on my water bottle, ready for plying (ignore the in-need-of-manicure nail):

19: Kool Aid dyed merino

And my first ever by-my-hand dyed 2-ply yarn:

19: Kool Aid dyed merino

I'm so thrilled! It came out better than I expected. The red was actually very pink, and there was much blending of blue and pink, which created a vague purple. There is more blue than pink overall, though I used more pink Kool Aid. I liked the areas with bits of white peeking out so I will play with that effect more in the future. Not what I expected, but pretty cool. It's only 1 oz, so not enough for anything, really. But a good experiment.

I blended info from The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook (love this book now that I spin), and the Knitty article on Kool Aid dyeing.

Other notes: My twist when spinning was pretty uneven. I wasn't paying much attention to twist, just spun as fast and evenly (thickness) as I could to see how it would look.

Also, the merino is quite soft; my first time spinning with merino. I see more merino in my future.

Oh yeah, yesterday marked month 1 of my spinning adventures.

In knitting news...

In my attempts to whittle my overextended WIP list, I picked up this hat:

Manos Pompom Hat

Can you believe it, it only needed a tassel and a couple of ends woven in. I didn't want the pouffy pompom, but I didn't know how to get what I wanted. I couldn't even think of the word "tassel" yesterday when I was searching the Internet for photos.

The hat is knit with Manos and I winged the pattern. I didn't even take notes; I think I made it in '04. It was my first winged hat, so it came out too big for me (forgot that it would stretch). Fits my sister, though, lucky her!

The Kool Aid dyed fiber looked so much better revived by a gentle Eucalan wash. Spurred on by the possibilities, I prepared some more Kool Aid which I bought today.

I was hoping for a nice red, green, purple and yellow. I started with the first three, since I already had a yellow prepared. I added the Kool Aid to some plastic containers. But... the crystals didn't look right, the red didn't look red, the purple didn't look purple, and the green was all sorts of colors... I thought, what do I know about Kool Aid? I added some water to each and was stunned. The green was actually green, pretty much the exact shade I wanted. But the red was blue, and the purple was red.

I checked the packages. Go ahead, you'll want to click for the larger version. Read the fine print.

Kool Aid tricks

The names should have given it away. Changin' Cherry? Grape Illusion? And did you see the Lemon Ice that I didn't prepare? "Snowflake white powder, Polar White Drink". Yeah. A dyers nightmare! Good for the Emperor, not good for me.

And I thought I was doing well not buying the one that said "Invisible" on it.

I've been wanting to try out Kool Aid dyeing for a while now. Finally gave it a go!

This is a soft merino roving/top, about 1 oz. See how soft and fluffy? (You can click on the photos to see more detail.)

Dyeing fiber - merino

I added enough water to fully cover and let soak for at least an hour while we prepared and ate dinner. It felt weird squishing it, not at all as I expected. Like there was a sheath around it.

Dyeing fiber - soaking

When I was ready to dye, I poured out the excess water and placed the fiber on a garbage bag.

I had pre-mixed a few Kool Aid packets in small jars, each with 2 tablespoons of water. The blue is Blue Moon Berry. The red is Solar Strawberry StarFruit and Soarin' Strawberry Lemonade (they looked pretty close so I used them more or less together). I used a small child's medicine dosing syringe and went at it. Probably used too much for what I was trying to do, I was actually hoping for a more dot-like effect, but got carried away.

Dyeing fiber - with dye

Yep, Kool Aid does dye.

Dyeing fiber - dyed fingers

I zapped in the microwave for 2 minutes x 3. Between each zapping I took a paper towel and dabbed to see if the dyes came off.

Dyeing fiber - cooked

It looks so... mangy. I imagine sheep do when they're soaked to the bone. Dogs do...

Now that it's done, I'm guessing the colors will bleed while I'm spinning and end up a murky brown. Maybe more blocks of color would work better. Or sticking with the dots, smaller and more separated. Well, we'll see. It'll be an adventure!

It's cooling; it's hard to be patient, I want to do something with it!

Seaweed Love blocking

Seaweed Love - blocking