Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Aaron's Blanket

A dear friend's best friend has a little four year old boy with cancer (Ewings Sarcoma). With the help of several lovely ladies from Ravelry's Crochet Lovers Victoria, we were able to make him a blanket in green and yellow (which I'm told are his favourite colours). Some of the ladies also made Aaron some cute cuddle toys and hats!

Many, many, many, many thanks to Cathy, Dawn, Daphne, Tess, Sharon, Lyn, Julie and Michelle for all of your help! (aka: CRC, DawnieDear, HappyPeacock, KingsvilleTess, LaughingPurple, lyndymb, Shilo and Yarnplay67)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More Dyeing - Food Colour Attempt Two

This past week I made another attempt at food colour dyeing. This time I was more prepared wtih plenty of food colour on hand as well as my plastic mustard and ketchup picnic bottles to squirt on the colour (a tip I received from someone... sorry, I can't remember who, but thank you whoever you are!). Edited to add: Oh, I just looked it up. It was Meagan who gave me the plastic bottle tip. Thank Meagan - they worked PERFECTLY!

I have been using Queen food colours from the supermarket. This time I used an entire bottle of rose pink, an entire bottle of conchineal (sp?), an entire bottle of blue, and about half a bottle of green. All that for just 200 grams of wool!

I was aiming for mostly red to pink (and varieties in between). When I was squirting the dye on, the red and the pink looked nearly exactly the same and I was afraid I'd end up with more or less just one colour all over. That's fine, but that's not why I was doing home dyeing. I then decided to try and add a little bit of "turquoise" to the mix.
I REALLY saturated the wool because I wanted nice strong bright colours and I didn't want any of the natural colour of the wool showing. I followed the same directions as my first attempt - soaking in vinegar, putting it in cling wrap, squirting on the colours, then microwaving. After giving it a post microwave rinse in tepid water in the laundry sink, I noticed A TON of colour was coming out. And since, from my previous experience, I didn't want a residual vinegar smell, I decided to let it soak in some wool wash for awhile.

Later that night I was on my way out to dinner when I realised - oops! I'd left the wool soaking in the sink and had forgotten to take it out! Not much I could do about it at that stage, so it had to wait until I got home a few hours later. Because a lot of the colour that was coming out in the sink was of the blue/green variety, I believe it affected the rest of the colours.

Although I still have a bit of red and pink colours, more of that has turned to purple. Ultimately though, I am really happy with the colours and I love how they look. I started making a hat with the wool and it was working up beautifully. Unfortunately the pattern was awful and although this was supposed to be a large sized adult hat, it ended up being a good size for one of my niece's doll. I ended up having to frog it and will have to just wing a hat pattern as I go. Can't wait to finish it. Oh, I think that means I have to start it first!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Part Two - I Would Dye For You

In the end, I really love microwave dyeing and have since tried it with Kool-Aid. Yes, I sacrificed some of my precious Grape Kool-Aid to dye some alpaca that was very gray and gummy looking. Can't let perfectly lovely alpaca go to waste!

Jumping back to my first batch, after it was all dry, I realised it was still a bit stinky from the vinegar. I was advised that I might want to give it a hand wash in some tepid water with wool wash (being careful not to agitate it!).

I then balled it up and used about two of my three balls to make myself a tam style beret (which I haven't photographed yet).

As for the alpaca, I followed nearly the same directions as the food colour dyeing, however, this time, instead of squirting on the colours, I microwaved the alpaca in a bowl of Kool-Aid water. I read elsewhere on the internet that you just continue to microwave (in 2 minute intervals, 2 minutes of rest) until the water is clear and your fibre has absorbed all the colour.
I would have liked it to be a tad more purple, but I only had two packets of Kool-Aid for 200 grams of alpaca, and according to the calculations I got off the internet, I should have had about 6 for that much fibre. Ah well! I much happier with it than I was before. And it has a slightly grape-ish odour as an added bonus. :)

Pre-dyeing colour.

Soaking in vinegar for about an hour. (I've read you don't need to the vinegar soak for Kool-Aid dyeing because the Kool-Aid is already acidic. But I figured I'd rather be safe than sorry).

My two Grape Kool-Aid packets from the American food shop (must remember to stock up on Kool-Aid on my next trip back to the US!)

Ready for the microwave.

Outside drying.