Monday, October 2, 2006

Bought the Kool-Aid

Greetings, fellow Twisted Knitters! While I'm an experienced knitter, I've been spindling for only a few months and have never dyed fiber or yarn, so the first two installments of the Dye-Spin-Knit-Along are a voyage of discovery for me. I've been gathering up the ingredients.

The necessary

Pictured are
  • Resources: Besides D-S-K-Along hosts Margene and blogless Karen, my guides into the unknown are The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook by Lynne Vogel and Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. I bought the beautifully illustrated Twisted Sisters some time ago just for the section on colorwork knitting. Now I'm enjoying the other two-thirds of the book that deal with dyeing and spinning! Spinning in the Old Way is a recent acquisition, but an instant favorite, particularly valuable for its emphasis on top whorl drop spindling and its distinctions between spinning techniques for weaving and spinning techniques for knitting.

  • Fiber: a generous bit of Finn top, purchased from Halcyon Yarn in Bath, Maine (once DH and I figured out the shop is in the opposite direction of the mighty shipworks). Priscilla Gibson-Roberts writes that Finn is her favorite fiber, having a blend of long hair and short hair that is ideal for soft yet durable socks. It seems somewhat scratchy to me, but I'm giving it a go. After all, Plan B is to buy undyed fiber at Rhinebeck. [g]

  • Dye, otherwise known as Kool-Aid. Seems like a harmless enough way to dip a toe in the pool. I don't think I'll like the residual fragrance(s), so preferentially wanted to try Easter egg dye, but that's a seasonal product and not currently available. Soon ditto Kool-Aid, I suppose. I have some vague scruples about playing with (= wasting) food, but maybe Kool-Aid isn't really food. Curiously, all the formerly blue and green flavors seem to have gone colorless ("invisible")... er, did I miss an FDA memo about unsafe food colorings?

  • Spindles: my Made By Ewe Golden Leaf and my red cedar Bosworth Featherweight, both currently occupied spinning that never-ending braid of jewel-toned Blue Face Leicester (notice how different the colors on the spindles are).

Reading ahead, the directions for steaming a batch of dyed fiber sound rather ominous (two turkey roasters? bricks??). I wonder if my old wok will do – after all, it's designed for efficient steaming. Has anyone ever tried this?


--Deb said...

Good for you! I didn't join that because the dyeing just isn't practical for me. (My mother freaks at tomato sauce near her white sink--actual dye? Not an option. And really, there's not a single "dye-proof" sink in the house, so . . . I was planning on knitting up that handspun of mine as a supportive gesture, though! (Wheel-spun, too, of course. Really, I'm not out and about often enough to be able to get any real amount of spindling done, and at home, well, I'd rather be at my wheel!)

Lisa said...

I just tried Kool Aid dying for the first time this past weekend. We did both the microwave and the stove top method. I think I prefer using the stove top just a bit. Green - I used something like Arctic Green and we got a nice blue with maybe Berry Blue (I have everything written down for a future blog post but of course the notes are at home and I'm not). Any questions, please ask.

Deborah said...

Wow, scared of you...

Anonymous said...

If you don't want to use kool-aid, you can use regular food color. Try the Wilton colors from AC Moore. Chef Central in Paramus also carries a different brand of food colors.


dragon knitter said...

that twisted sisters book is magnificent. i've had it for years, and it's how i knit my first socks. . . flat!