To dye for

Suzie Blackman
Friday, 4 September 2009

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1 comment

Broadcasts from Stitch Up land have been thin on the ground in recent months, not least because I’ve acquired not one, but two new bikes, and I’ve been out out enjoying the Great British summer on them! However, I’ve still managed to get a fair bit of knitting done and had great success with Kool Aid dyeing projects since I first got a taste (metaphorical) in May.

This is what the silk from May’s Kool Aid dyeing project became:

Handspun silk Ishbel

I spun the yellow and purple silk roving and plied them together, but I wasn’t keen on the resulting colour so I overdyed the yarn with more Kool Aid and ended up with a dusky rose. I combined it with the purple Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, fearing that I wouldn’t have enough handspun to complete the project. The wonderful pattern is Ishbel by Ysolda Teague. Although I was intending to use Kool Aid primarily to dye my handspun, I have discovered that Fyberspates Undyed Superwash Merino Sock yarn is especially good at absorbing dye and great value.

From left to right: Violet (3 x Grape, 3 x Berry Blue, 0.5 x Strawberry / 100g), Strawberry (3 x Strawberry, 2 x Black Cherry, 1 x Orange / 130g), Plum (1 x Pina Pineapple, 3 x Grape, 1 x Strawberry, 1 x black Cherry / 110g)

From left to right: Violet (3 x Grape, 3 x Berry Blue, 0.5 x Strawberry / 100 g), Strawberry (3 x Strawberry, 2 x Black Cherry, 1 x Orange / 130 g), Plum (1 x Pina Pineapple, 3 x Grape, 1 x Strawberry, 1 x black Cherry / 110 g), all Fyberspates Superwash Merino Sock

I have also refined my method. I have found that soaking the yarn for half an hour in a week vinegar solution, instead of water, helps the dye take to the yarn quickly and evenly. Simmering the yarn in the dye for 30 mins (rather than 10) reduces the amount of run-off to nothing, even with those difficult reds.

Fyberspates Superwash Merino sock painted with Strawberry, Berry Blue, Black Cherry and Grape

What am I going to knit with all this yarn? More Ishbels of course!

Green Ishbel, Texere 4 ply BFL yarn dyed with Berry Blue, Lemon Lime and Orange Kool Aid

The author

Suzie Blackman

The dyer, designer, photographer, creative technologist and maker-of-things behind It's a Stitch Up. She lives in East London in a home filled with colour, fluff and house plants.

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One comment

  1. Nadia Arbach says:

    Best use of Kool-Aid ever!

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