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My first sad attempt at dyeing

July 4, 2007 @ 1:00 am
posted by kris
Filed under: dyeing,yarn

Big felted mess

Better, but still slightly felted

Woohoo! Success!

So after getting all those kool-aid packets with Linnea, I was sooooo ready to do some dyeing. What yarn did I choose you ask? Well, I had some sample yarn of BFL that was so soft and scrumptious! And what was that? Was it superwash? Of course NOT! Yes, I am a retard.

I found it very odd that I like very bright and happy colors when I buy yarn, but when it came to dyeing, I wanted really dark, rich colors. Yeah, you heard that right. That’s what I wanted to achieve with Kool-aid. I wanted a deep red/burgundyish color. Yes, I am a retard.

I start out following the instructions on on how to do it. I chose the stovetop method. Actually, everything went very well, no mess or whatever. By the way, I decided to start easy and just do one color. They say to use one packet per ounce of yarn for saturated colors. I found that to be way too little. So I just kept adding more. I thought I was really careful with the water temps and everything, but apparently I wasn’t and it turned into a big fat f@#*#&!n felted mess. I was very sad. But I did achieve a rich red color that was sort of dark. The sport weight didn’t felt as bad as the aran weight. Don’t you find it funny that when you are TRYING to felt something, it takes the power of a washing machine to do it. But when you don’t want it to felt, just put a little too cold water and poof – you have a felted object. I did manage to rip it apart and make it back into a skein, but what to do with it. I don’t have the heart to throw it away and I don’t want to knit with it…any ideas? It isn’t that much yardage anyways. The sportweight is probably ok to knit into a baby hat or something. I told my story to Scout (of the infamous Scout’s Swag) about my felting and she said “how did you do THAT?” I hang my head in shame.

BTW, could someone tell me what cake dyes are? Are they the icing colors? Because nowhere on does it talk about cake dyes. I cannot find the paste type food coloring (which I heard was better than the liquid), and the food coloring that we do have is only in limited colors, say 3.

So, after this disappointment, I tried again. This time, I used superwash BFL sock yarn. I even soaked it in a partial solution of vinegar so that I could get a more “heathered” look. Because the plain one color yarn is kinda boring. But oops, soaked up the color too fast, so I let it cool and then over dyed it with straight grape, and it turned out exactly how I wanted it – a deep purple that’s not uniform. I may actually knit it up into socks!!!

I am doing an exchange with the sock/spinning/dyeing goddess, cauchy09, and she is going to give me tips and tricks with dyeing. I really want to dye with Ashford dyes (I even have the dyes!), but I’m so paranoid about the “health risks” and I would have to get a mask and special dye pots that I’m too lazy to get.

At first I thought, wow, if I could dye my own yarn, then I wouldn’t need to buy any! But then you will ALWAYS want to buy stuff, so now I’m like why even try? Leave it up to the masters. Speaking of which, my Taste of Germany idea is kind of coming together. I have emailed several dyers now and just want to test out the other two. Stay tuned! I’m thinking of making the first kit “blue” (sorry Pamela!) because I figure if I can’t sell my 5 kits, *I* will have to use this yarn!

I just saw the movie “Sicko” tonight and man, I don’t think we can ever move back to the states. The state of health care in that country is just a mess. I know NO country is perfect, but it is sad to hear so many stories of people going bankrupt over medical costs. And then you hear Violet (of L&V) talk about her health horror stories and it’s really scary. The older you get, the more important stuff like health care is. Germany is not perfect either, but we don’t worry about the possibility of going broke because someone got sick, and college costs for our boys (although we are putting away SOME money). But now, after seeing that, we want to move to France. Haha! There may be a mass migration north to Canada, I think… I’m sure there are lots of criticisms for this movie, and Michael Moore is famous for being really biased, but one thing you can’t deny is that the system IS a mess and the government needs to do something about it!!!

And shhh…I broke my yarn diet alreadyagain. Yeah, I know. I hang my head even lower. I blame it on Elem, Sabi and Andrea. And hey, I gotta test out the yarn I’m sending right? right?

Comments (7)


Comment by pamela wynne

Made on Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 @ 1:49 am

(1) Blue is nice too. :)
(2) “Sicko” is a must-see.
(3) I’m a dyeing novice, but I’m looking forward to seeing what other folks advise!

Comment by M

Made on Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 @ 2:49 am

‘cake dye’ is Wilton icing colors. It makes very pretty yarn dye.

Comment by KelInCal

Made on Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 @ 5:24 am

The purple yarn you dyed is just beautiful! Taste of Germany, yay!

Comment by stacey

Made on Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

totally agree with you on Sicko – the healthcare industry (I work for it!) is totally screwed up here. Makes me want to move out of the country!

the purple yarn is beautiful….love the kettle dyed-ness of it!

Comment by tini

Made on Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

hey supercool :)
I love all of your yarns.
Have you try to knit the slightly felted stuff up and make like a i-pod cozy?

Comment by Luinelen

Made on Friday, July 6th, 2007 @ 8:59 am

You can mix the food-colorings. It works just like water-colors, if you mix red and yellow you get orange, if you mix red and blue you get purple and so on. So you just need a few basic colors. Though the red food coloring might not work well, I have heard the red we have here in Finland doesn’t work well so I use kool-aid for red and blue, green and yellow food coloring powder for the rest. And the green one is actually a mix of the same substances that the blue and yellow have in them, so I could mix even that myself, but I use so much green it’s easier to buy it mixed.

Comment by Holly

Made on Tuesday, July 10th, 2007 @ 6:51 am

Microwave – no stirring required.

It is the movement of the yarn that causes the fulling, not the heat by itself.


yarn painted (or soaked) with vinegar + koolaide in the microwave on high for 5-7 minutes depending on the size of the skein.

glass or ceramic containers.

Don’t touch the yarn till it is completely cool, Then rinse carefully and hang to dry

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

What does bockstark mean (pronounced bok-shtark)? My crazy German friend, Matthias, made that word up to mean "really cool" and says that it is catching on in Garmisch. So I am helping him popularize the word! I thought if I ever opened a yarn store, I would call it "Bockstark Yarns". This blog is all about my projects, yarns and crazy ideas related to knitting and other crafts. Contact me at bockstark.knits(at)gmail(dot)com.

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