How the Heck She Did It!

14 08 2008

Last night was indeed an adventure. After reading skimming all kinds of forums, blogs, and a Ravelry group, I decided that TracyGP had the best directions in her blog. The only problem was that EVERYthing I read about dyeing with Jell-O only covered how to dye with one color. *sulks* But I wanted three colors!

It’s a dangerous thing when I start improvising.

Anyway, I began by unwinding my Lion Brand Wool (Winter White) from its skein and wrapped it around and around the back of my over-stuffed chair-and-a-half. It resulted in my yarn looking like this:


(Please click on images to see the larger picture!)

Shockingly, my cats left my yarn alone while I went to the kitchen to prep the jello mixes. I used Save-A-Lot brands for red (cherry) and orange (orange, duh), but I had to buy Wal-Mart brand for yellow (lemon). In total, I spent about a dollar in jello mixes.

TracyGP noted in her blog that she had some trouble with her mix forming a skin when she prepared it, so I was careful to follow her ingrediant list to the letter:

In a mixing bowl in the order listed:
5 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 pkg regular Jello Berry Blue (well, I used my own mixes, so no blues)
1 cup vinegar.
81 grams of wool (I used however much came in my skein… 85 grams)

Please note I did this for each color. I didn’t bother deviding by three.

I originally planned on microwaving my yarn like she did, buuuuuuut it didn’t work out that way in the end. In the beginning, though, I used microwave-and-jello-safe bowls for my mixes. I first put the middle of my yarn into the orange, thinking it would need to sit a while to get the color I wanted.

I had to push it into the mix with a plastic spoon. Wool does NOT like to go volentarily.

I only used two spoons for mixing and proding the yarn. I used one for orange and yellow and one for red. I ran out of microwave-and-jello-safe bowls, so I had to use the pot I intended on making spaghetti in later on that night. This led to my later brainstorm.

Here’s the red soaking a bit. I had flashbacks of cheap haunted houses at fall festivals growing up.

Here’s the red and orange doing their soaking thing. I briefly wondered what I would do with the white in between the two and then decided to figure it out later. Like I said, dangerous when improvising…

Here’s the yellow soaking for a bit. It smelled really good, like strong lemonade… well, once you were able to ignore the stench of viniger that lingered in the kitchen.

So here sits my lovely yarn-in-progress. I figure they need a while to soak, so I wandered outside for a while to play with the goats and tend to them. I came back in about 20 minutes or so later.

Hmmm, this isn’t promising…

Ah, but this is! 😀

Honestly, I couldn’t tell if it was white or yellow. Quite discouraging, to say the least.

Since I couldn’t very well microwave this because 1) my microwave was nowhere near big enough, 2) the red was in a metal pot… not cool, and 3) visions of jello staining everything in the process of transporting it across the kitchen to the microwave danced in my head. Very uncool.

So I rummaged around and found a cooker for my orange jello…

…and I began boiling my yarn! Yes, I boiled it in the mixture it was soaking in.

Only thing was, I couldn’t find another pot for my yellow yarn. I hate doing dishes, so natrually, they were all dirty and in the sink. :-/ I could put it off a little while, right? I rationalized this with the excuse that the yellow needed to soak a while longer before boiling. *nods* Yup…

After bringing it to a boil, this is what the red looked like! *happy dance*

And here’s the orange! After both colors began boiling, I reduced the heat.

I checked on the yellow… Did I ever mention how I’ve always struggled with telling bright shades of yellow apart from white? Seriously, yellow highlighters on notebook paper do me no good.

I decided to boil the red again… just in case.

I boiled the orange, too, for good measure.

It’s yellow enough. I went and washed the stupid pot and prepare for transfer.

To make the in-betweens blend in. I just put them into their neighboring color. This isn’t adaquately shown in pictures because honestly, I needed both hands and Larry was napping, so no pictures.

Here I am, boiling the yellow and the red. I didn’t boil the yellow nearly as long as the others, especially the red… which is boiling in this picture.

I scooted the undyed bits into the orange and the red and boiled them. The yellow-to-orange came out really well. The orange-to-red not so much because I was impatient. I boiled it for a reeeeeeeaaaaaallllly long time, but it didn’t come out nearly as dark.

Next came the… Dawn rinse? Well, in this picture, I’d forgotten to add the Dawn yet. Anyway, this is the part I worried about last night. I took my spoons and just scooped the yarn directly into cold tap water. One of the places I’d read (blog? Ravelry?) warned that doing this can cause felting, so you should put the yarn into nearly-equal tempreture Dawn water. Whoops…

I put a squirt of Dawn in and stirred until there were a few bubbles like in TracyGP’s blog pictures. Larry woke up and we were both VERY hungry, so while this was soaking, I cooked dinner.

This is the pot, btw. It’s one of those cheap ones from Family Dollar where nothing short of industrial cleaner will get the goo from the label off the sides (we’ve had it since April ’06). It can also cook homemade soup for a small army in it.

So about half an hour after putting it in to Dawn-rinse, I took the pot to the tub, emptied it, and rinsed the yarn in cold water. I didn’t wring it, but gently squeezed it to make sure all the Dawn came out. Once there weren’t any bubbles (which there weren’t many to begin with), I took it outside to hang-dry.

I’d like to note that not once did the jello bleed into the Dawn-rinse or onto my hands. Besides one dishcloth, I didn’t stain anything this time! 😀

Our porch has a set of hooks for a porch swing, but we don’t have one yet. Instead, they served as yarn-hangers! *happy dance* I placed the rinse pot under the yarn to catch the dripping water and any possibly drippy jello.

(See what I mean about the orang-to-red? It’s like a pink color.)

The yarn’s various colors… I luffs it!

I love the orange. It came out the best, I think.

Another picture of the yarn… Please excuse our porch. We’re still fixing up the house, so a lot of random bits and things (like Larry’s motercycle tire) are out there, too.

So how did it all turn out after the drying and such? See for yourself!

It still kind of smells like viniger, but it’s sooooo pretty!

*lovels it* Even if the one part came out a bit pink, I still think it’s pretty freaking awesome that I dyed my own yarn without it turning out weird!

Seriously, it doesn’t get much more awesome than this. Now go forth and dye your own! Meanwhile, I’m going to find a project for this awesome yarn.

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9 responses

14 08 2008
wildwoodflwr

Holy cow!!! That’s fantastic! It looks gorgeous! I really am impressed. Good call on the colors. And, it’s eco-friendly! You can still use your pots to eat out of and no brain smells were harmed in the inhaling of jell-o fumes. You know what…I bet you could also put the “dye” in squirt bottles for a more tye-dye effect. Hmmm…Also..I really like the smell of vinegar. I think it’s because my mom always canned pickles. So it’s like smelling home. Also, I use vinegar as a base for a lot of my household cleaners, so I may just be used to it lol.

14 08 2008
Aaren

*girly Squeel* It came out so good!! You say the orange came out better.. but I have to disagree with you. I think they both came out well. The pink isent such a bad pink.Now all you need to do is to make that yawn into a nice pair of house socks!

15 08 2008
Jacki

Holy crap! That is a big damn skein! 🙂 It came out wonderful!

15 08 2008
wildwoodflwr

I’m looking into doing some kettle dying for a green color. I know what I want and apparently it only exists in my brain. So I’m being forced into dying lol.

25 08 2008
Tracy

Atta Girl! Your yarn looks great. In case you ever want to do this again, I’ve found out that jello works just about the same koolaid. A hole cup of vinegar isn’t needed and you really don’t have to boil the yarn Darling, just get it up around 170-180 degrees and you’ll be fine. One of our commenters mused about using squirt bottles….go for it! I’d only suggest that that the jello mixture in the bottles is kept warm. When I tried my hand at a “painted” skein (did you see that post on my blog it as 3 colors and zapped in the microave?) I had some “difficulties/frustrations” with the mixture jelling a little bit. It still works, it’s just not as easy to get the color into the wool when the dye mix is thick.BTW Yellow comes out lighter and not as vivid as the other colors. Just use a couple more boxes if you want it brighter.Happy dyeing!

12 09 2010
8dnail

I feel slightly awkward commenting on a 2 year old post, but one of my friends was talking about kool-aid dyeing and I wondered aloud if it could be done with Jello. Lo and behold, thanks to google, I came across this. I now have a skein of reclaimed wool from a sweater sleeve freshly jello-dyed and hanging from my showerhead to dry. I must say though, I envy your red– For whatever reason, my color (I used black cherry) didn’t come out nearly as dark or vivid as I was hoping. It gives me something to aspire to for next time, I suppose. 😉

12 09 2010
8dnail

I’ve managed to get some pictures up on flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24517631@N04/sets/72157624940497980/

The black cherry was what I had on hand; I didn’t want to make a run to the store if I already had something that would work. It’s unfortunate I’m not a fan of the color pink, otherwise I’d be perfectly happy with it as-is (and I’m impressed with how even the coloring is). I think what I may do is overdye it with blue and shoot for a nice purple. 🙂

12 09 2010
8dnail

Thanks! I hadn’t really thought of what the different starting color would do to the finished product, though it makes sense. Ahh, test dyeing… I probably would’ve forgotten to do that entirely. The way I see it, whatever I end up with next is bound to be better than dark rosy pink (to me, at least). 😉 I’ll try and remember to come back with more pictures when I get around to giving it another dip.

28 09 2010
Jell-O Yarn, Take Two! « This Week's Hobby

[…] last time, I was using three times as much yarn as my recipe called for. Sadly, I only had two boxes of […]

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