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  #1  
Old 12/08/07, 04:47 PM
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Dyeing with food color and Kool-aid

This is from the Knitty winter issue, I thought you all would like it.

http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter07/...dcolordye.html

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Old 12/08/07, 05:32 PM
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I'm sure glad I have a color printer now!!! Thanks very much, Marchy!

Meg

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  #3  
Old 12/08/07, 10:01 PM
 
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Oooohhhh, thanks!! That's a great article.

For those that have used Coolaid or food coloring... how do the colors hold up? I've never used it for anything that was going to be worn and washed, and I'm wondering if the color will last.

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Old 12/09/07, 05:51 AM
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Hope I'm staying on track here! Joined a yahoo group for dyeing and just got some answers to my question about the enviromental impact of the fixatives for acid dyes - you know like synthrapol and ammonium sulfate! Well, one gal wrote back and said she has successfully used both vinegar and citric acid as fixatives. "course citric acid is what's fixing the dye in kool-aid too. Think it maybe a good idea tho to call Pro-chem and ask them about the colour-fastness with those fixatives. I'll do that on Monday and report back.

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Old 12/09/07, 09:49 AM
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Unless Kool-aid has changed a lot since I used to use it last to dye with, the colors do fade over time. But I have also been told that 3M used Kool-aid to test their Scotch Guard because of its color fastness and the way is stains things A lot of people add vinegar to their Kool-aid dying even though it had citric acid in it.

Dyeing with traditional dyes ( by traditional I mean, plant stuff, and the the sort you by that has to be mixed and mordants added etc.) can be very dangerous, using mordants and fixatives. They are all chemicals that need to be used with caution and disposed of properly. I think that is one reason I haven't gotten too into dyeing. Some here, Katherine comes to mind, have dyed quite a lot and have a wealth of experience. If I am wrong someone please correct me.

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Last edited by Marchwind; 12/09/07 at 09:50 AM. Reason: I can't spell
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Old 12/09/07, 10:00 AM
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No, March, you're right. Dying with natural stuff can be very dangerous if not done right or with proper attention to detail, especially if you use things like the metallic mordants. I've always tried to err on the side of caution (ok, maybe I chickened out ) and used vinegar or alum although this limits the color range and light-fastedness somewhat.

BUT if you're careful, you can get beautiful, unbeatable colors - and all for the price of taking a walk and picking berries/leaves/nuts/etc. and brewing a 'tea'.

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Old 12/09/07, 10:20 AM
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I know Falcon it can be really scary when you start to read about these things. I totally agree that you can get some really beautiful colors.

I have a question for you or others who dye. Is the Alum you use the same as the Alum you cook with?

I have read that the best place to dispose of the waste waters of dyeing is to have a thick/dense patch of weeds. with soil that is on the sandy loamy side to filter it naturally. One of my biggest fears is that here, where I live, the water table is so high it really worries me to dump things on the soil.

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Old 12/09/07, 10:35 AM
 
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March, alum used for cooking is not the same as the alum recommended for dyeing. Right now I can't remember the full name of each, but I've had much better results using the alum for dyeing than cooking alum. You are right about natural dyeing being toxic. I, too, tend to avoid the metals, but I am getting more curious about their effects on color and am slowly adding to my supply (watching how a ragweed yellow dyebath turned green when iron was added was like magic!). I love to see what colors plants will make, but for colorfastness and "repeat-ability" I go for the chemical dyes. Natural dyeing takes patience--often weeks of soaking before the true colors come out. Recently I dyed a sample of Churro fleece with prickly pear fruit--let it soak for two weeks--and got a gorgeous purple. I put a lock in a sunny window, and in a couple of days all the color was gone!
The Kool-Aid site was really interesting and well-done. The good thing about Kool-Aid is you can do it safely in your kitchen, and it's quick and great to do with kids. But if you're doing a lot, chemical dyes are a whole lot cheaper. I've given away all my Kool-Aid dyed projects so I don't know how light-fast they were (hope they were!). I've heard both for and against opinions on that score.

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Old 12/09/07, 11:16 PM
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When my son and I went to town to the movies we stopped at the grocery store. Their regular price for Kool-aid is 4 for $1, I dont know if that is a good price or not So I bought a few dollars worth. I got pink lemonade, orange, berry blue,blastin berry cherry, ice blue raspberry lemonade, cherry, and lemon-lime. I also got watermelon kiwi but I just noticed that it is invisible so I'll be returning it for something else. They also had the neon food coloring. Now for some fun!

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  #10  
Old 12/13/07, 12:04 AM
 
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From sad personal experience, I can say that kool aid dye doesn't last, especially if it's in sunshine. I did up small amounts in 6 colors, combed the wool and wound up nests in each color. Looked sooooo pretty - all those colors in one basket. Then set the basket on a table in a sunny window. In just months, the wool the sun hit turned into a sad, ugly grey. The bottom of the nests that didn't get the sun were still the original color.

I'm so anxious for summer to return because I'm going to be doing a lot of dyeing. I bought an electric roaster, with removable inner pan, to use as a dye pot. It is big enough to hold a pound or more of wool and still have room enough for the dye to circulate thru the wool. Can't wait to get at it!

Exploring options in dyeing, I decided not to use the metalic and highly toxic mordants. I had great good luck using green walnuts to make a dye bath and loved the colors I got out of it. But I want to try the chemical acid dyes. All these years, I've worked with white or natural colored wool. Now, the color bug got hold of me and I can't wait to get started. The only needed well ventilated area I have is outside and it's tooooo cold for me to play with wool dyeing outside right now. But how nice to have something that promises so much ~fun~ to look forward to during the coming months!

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  #11  
Old 12/13/07, 12:34 PM
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Talked to a tech support person at ProChemical yesterday and she not only confirmed that vinegar can be a fine fixative with the acid dyes but told me that they have the info on their web site - if I had only looked first, would have saved a long distance call, duh! But it was nice to talk to someone about this - I was concerned about colour fastness; didn't want to have all that work fade away. She said that 1T of salt/pp of fleece also will help with the take up.

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  #12  
Old 12/13/07, 06:21 PM
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Thanks for the tips Liese!

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