Tuesday, July 10, 2007


What a busy week it's been, and the next two weeks look equally packed full of things to do. Some good, some necessary, and some about as enjoyable as cleaning up a friends basement after rats have been in it. On top of all that, we are just beginning a heat wave. It's now the hottest it's been in recorded history, and the thermometer is only going up from here. So much for the Great White North, eh?

I still haven't had a chance to get to those tea cozies, but who can think of tea when it's this hot. Instead, why not take advantage of the sunshine and dye.

After being inspired by Knitty's articles on solar dyeing (I just love the idea of an eco-friendly touch) and kool-aid dyeing, I thought to myself, "Bird (for that's what I call myself), why not put the two together?" I picked up an old Dutch oven (turkey roasting pan) free at a yard sale, and a couple of packets of kool-aid (not free) at the shop. Add some unidentified white wool roving I had lying around. Put together, add water, and sit in the hot sun for a day. Presto, my mildly interesting white roving is now 'kool coloured roving'.

Here's what I did:

I soaked my wool for about 15-20 min in just plain, ordinary water. I used the same pot for soaking as I did for dying so that 1) I wouldn't have to agitate the wool too much when I transfer from one container to another, and 2) I would have less to wash up.

Then, after draining the wool, I mixed up the kool-aid (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup per packet).

I carefully spooned the kool-aid mix onto the wet wool.

I then took a gloved hand and pressed (very carefully) the wool into the dye, trying to even it out a little.

It was as simple as that. I put the lid on, clamped it up to try to minimize the heat escape, then put it outside on the deck and let Mr. Sunshine do his thing.

That evening, after it cooled down a bit, I took the lid off, rinsed the wool in clear water, then hung to dry. Perfect. Now I have lovely roving for spinning and I didn't even have to turn on the stove. It's very eco-friendly way to dye (accept for the kool-aid, but one day I'll learn how to use real grown-up dyes).

One woman at the spinning group mentioned that this can be done with a black garbage bag as well. I think you would paint your yarn or wool with clear wrap as usual then seal it up in the black bag and put it in the sun.


Brenda said...

What a great idea, I just may have to try that!

Annie said...

Brilliant, I love it!