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PinkMay 18, 2005


That, dear readers, is the front of a cardigan that I'm making for myself out of handspun, hand-dyed yarn that I made myself.

Woot! (Maybe I like that word so much because it typo-es as wool.)

I used kool-aid to dye it, black cherry, hoping for a deep red, but I've been too impatient to let the wool cool in the hot water, and I realize my microwave's power is puny compared to most. So I'm getting a (mostly) consistent watermeloney pink that I love. I don't want it too consistent; I want to be able to say "I made this!" and for the listener to say "I can tell." I think that would be keen. The white/pink ball really is rather a mistake -- forgot to turn the yarn while cooking it, but I like it so much I might use it for some kind of striping somewhere.

There's just something so playful about using kool-aid, isn't there? Even though you still shouldn't breathe it in, and it stains everything it comes in contact with (how DO mothers use it for kid drinks?), it still seems so light-hearted. Perhaps I should buy gloves, though. My hands have been pink under the nails for days.

And I realized after I did a gauge swatch and cast on for the front that I had NO idea what I was making, really. I think I just wanted such a basic sweater that I forgot to think about a pattern. I'm doing raglan sleeves and a zipper, that's all I know. Maybe a rolled neck. We'll see. I hope it turns out. I remember once when I was a kid, I was lying in bed imagining a dog. I could see all sides of this dog, and it was so cute, and I just knew that when I got out of bed, I'd be able to draw it. I got up, put pencil to paper, and drew a stick figure that looked more like a building. I could see so clearly the lines I wanted to draw, but I couldn't make them come out of the pencil. I've done that in knitting before and it's one of those terribly disappointing moments. I'd rather not have another of those, thanks.

But this is terribly fun. Innit?


Looks nice! All you need now is your own pet sheep (or llama?) and then you can be totally self-sufficient. I'm sure it will turn out great!

Watermelon! So summery. Totally radtacular.

it IS terribly fun!!! it looks lovely and i can't wait to see your progress!

Wow, give that woman a wheel and there's no stopping her. I'm impressed.

Now for the spinsterish kind of question - what roving are you using to spin the yarn?

I heart your hand-spun, hand-dyed!

Wow. Looks great Rachael. What an accomplishment. I have met so many spinners who spin it but don't knit it. Way to go. :) And mean mommy over here--I don't do kool-aid!

Woo hoo for handspun, kool-ade dyed wool. I too am interested in what fiber you used. I love the color and so happy to see you making something with your new yarn.

Drawing does not come easily even to those of us who make it our life. It is hard work, all the time, because in order to draw you need to be able to see, and it is a very, very hard thing to throw aside all that you think you see to actually SEE.

Creating garments is the same way; because we have a body, and wear clothes, we assume that things like shaping and fit are intuitive. This is why I spent several years "designing" my own sweaters that sucked arse in the fit department, before I began to teach myself to see the shape of the body and how fabric drapes over it-- not that I've mastered that, by any stretch; it's a constant cycle of success and fuckups.

I adore your pink (and I also don't understand how people can feed that stuff to their kids, eew!)

My friend from quilting group (which is really a melange of fiber-freaky-friends as there is as much knitting-crocheting-origamiing-rughooking-weaving and whatevering as quilting going on) and I are dying to try some dyeing (pun intended- sorry). Valrie is going to try Wilton cake dye first ('cos she's already got a ton of it on hand). I have to find some Kool-aid to try. Ever since I kept my friend's boys for the afternoon a few years ago, I have avoided kool-aid like the plague. Her boys LOVED kool-aid and drank so much of it that when I changed the little one's diaper, his butt was stained blue!! We've pretty much stuck to juice or lemonade ever since! However, after seeing your beeyoutiful watermelon yarn i can't wait to tune up the wheel and crank out some yarn to dye. Maybe I'll throw in a little muslin too for the quilty side.

C'mon. Latex gloves, bay-bee. You don't want to develop a sensitivity to dye (and Kool-aid is definitely dye) and have to stop, now do you?

It looks fantastic! I love the look of hand-dyed yarn - and it is hand spun to boot!

Hope your sweater comes out JUST the way you want.

Fantastic color! Can't wait to see the end product!

Mmmm, Kool Aid! You'll smell nice and fruity! Even *months* after I spun up some KA-dyed yarn, it *still* smells like Kool Aid!

I use a wooden spoon to turn the yarn during kool-aid dyeing b/c I HATE wearing rubber gloves. And I think the variegated stuff would be cute for the collar, cuffs, and zipper band.

Just a few ideas from a lurker :D

OH, and I loved the LaLa socks from yesterday!

Hand-dyed, hand-spun AND knitted by you! Oh my God, in a hundred years from now that thing (however it turnes out!) will be sold for millions! We just have to let the world know how amazing you are and the hundred years is just because celebrity stuff always bring in more cash after the queen is dead... so to speak. I stand in awe.

You are so multi-talented!

Okay, granted I know nothing... nothing about the whole dying/spinning process, so maybe this is a stupid question. Humor me, okay? But why is it better to dye the yarn rather than to dye the whole garment after its completed ? Is it just because its easier to dye the yarn in skeins? I guess it would be. (Insert image of someone attempting to microwave an entire sweater here.) Maybe I've just answered my own stupid question!

Kool-Aid dying is too fun! We're going to put this out into the world: 'Rachael is going to start her Watermelon sweater and it's going to be perfect! She's an expert knitter [and spinner and Kool-Aid dyer] and a wonderful person so how could it anything less?'
Happy knitting!

Hey there. I recently discovered your blog and love it. The black cheery Kool Aid creates a great color for your wool - congrats. I also just discovered your KniTattoo page and as soon as I remember to do it, I'll send a picture of mine. Where can I send it? Keep blogging. I'm having fun reading.

I don't think I've seen any other yarn in that color. It will definitely turn out special! It's beautiful.

Spinning enough of one yarn to make something for yourself is a huge achievement. Congratulations! I've used Kool-Aid dye before but I didn't make enough for a garment. Sort of a dead-end.
If I had kids they would NOT drink Kool-Aid, either. The only way to get the stains out is with Clorox bleach - yuck.

This will be the most satisfying sweater EVER!

I love the color of your sweater! It's almost the color of that Kool-Aid guy from the commercials (but prettier, clearly).

That is just.so.wonderful. Someday I'll be there. I promise.

I like that black cherry color very much, plus I'm sure the yarns smells so fruity and yummy. I'm very impressed by the fact you've spun, dyed and knit the sweater yourself. Did you make up the pattern too?

Awesome!! Looks great!

That is the wonderful thing about spinning. There are just SO many options. To dye or not to dye, what type of dye, single ply, multiply, thick, thin, not to mention all the fibers out there. Unlimited possibilities and I never get bored with it! Love the pink (I may dress like a boy but I lurve my pink)>

The wool looks great.... and the watermelon color is jucilicious!! Hooray for YOU!

I love the variations... and the whole hand-spun, hand-dyed part... wow. (When are you going to start raising the sheep? )

I love the pinks!

One tip - when I used Kool-Aid I stained my fingernails as well. I used Oxy-Clean on a toothbrush under and around my fingernails and the stains disappeared. Hope that helps!

About Kool-Aid...


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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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