Dyeing Cashmere

18 Feb

I’m no expert at dyeing yarn.  I’ve only done it once.  But I got this sweater a while back.

Willis Smith cashmere sweater purchased at Goodwill for $3.49
I thought it might fit me but the color was a khaki that just made me look washed out.  So I unraveled it.

The unraveling went well except it’s the first time I ever saw a v-neck that the manufacturer cut out of a crew.  So the whole upper bodice was unusable because it was small pieces.

Anyway, I decided that even if I make it into a scarf, the color is atrocious.  I decided to try my hand at dyeing the yarn.  The first step was to take it out of the balls that I so painstakingly balled and put them into hanks.  I started by hand winding it on my knitty noddy but soon found out that would take the better part of my life.  So I used my child and my yarn swift and it worked my faster. 🙂

Now, what color to dye it and how much dye to put in?   By DYE I mean kool aid of course.  I have a lot of grape kool aid packets – about 20.  I decided not to do all of the yarn in case I messed it up, so I took 6 balls of about the same size.  I can make three balls of two ply or two balls of three ply.  That will be enough to make a scarf or shawl if it turns out.

I used 8 packages of kool aid for 123 grams of yarn.  I soaked the yarn in water first while the kool aid / water blend was heating on the stove.

The kool aid blend heated to 80 degrees celcius and I plopped all six hanks into the hot water.  I “cooked” it for 3 minutes then let it cool.  Here were the results.

Yuck, Yuck, Triple Yuck

I don’t know what the problem was.  I think there was too much yarn in too small of a pot and not enough dye.

ROUND TWO:  I broke out two pots and put in four more packets of kool aid in each pot.  Then I re-did the whole process.  This is better, much better.

It’s still marbled looking – maybe hand painted looking.  But it’s single ply right now.  I’m going to ball together two or three strands so that will even out the color a bit.  It’s very saturated and I think it’s going to look fine.  I’ll post more pictures when the yarn is dry and I put it back into balls of two or three strands.

The yarn didn’t felt at all so that’s good news too.  I’m calling this a successful dye job.

On the hat front, the white hat felted up just fine.  I didn’t get any pictures of it before I gave it away though. I didn’t unravel the gray/white “flora” hat yet, but I did knit a new one out of different yarn and size 6 needles.

It's it funny how the yarn and colors make such a difference in the final product?

I wore the hat on my dog walk today and it’s STYLISH and WARM too!


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