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 Dyeing Discussion
 Using Kool-Aid
 Lightfastness of Kool Aid/Food Dyes
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New Pal

15 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2006 :  3:12:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit edrgn's Homepage Send edrgn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So I have heard conflicting theories on how lightfast food dye based coloring is. Some say it is fine as long as you don't leave it in the sun for long periods of time (knitty is one place that says this), others seem to say that nothing will prevent the colors from fading although they seem to vary on the amount of time it takes.
Seems to me that while Koolaid and food coloring is an easy non-toxic way to dye at home no one would do it if 6 months later their carefully stored items fade to white or a sad pastel of the original color.
Does anyone actually know what to expect? Did you dye something a year ago and how does it look now?

Any input would be great.

Gabber Extraordinaire

575 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2006 :  6:13:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit KnittAR's Homepage Send KnittAR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have socks that I knitted from kool-ade dyed yarn. They are over a year old and have been washed many times. They haven't faded that I can tell. I also have some bags that I knitted out of KA dyed wool, and then I felted them with boiling water. They are over a year (or two?) old, and they haven't faded to my eye, either.
The only thing with KA that I noticed was some sock yarn I did a really dark red, when I wore the socks the first time the liner of my shoe was red. I might not have rinsed well enough.
Of course none of these items see a lot of sun!

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take....But by the moments that take our breath away."

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Chatty Knitter

249 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2007 :  10:31:43 AM  Show Profile Send Rooster a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've been tossing this idea around myself. I've used frosting dyes and have gotten wonderful results with colors (Koolaid is limiting) and great colorfastness when washing the items and when felting, but had a realization when I put the yarn scraps out for the birds last spring. The sun appears to have faded slightly this side exposed to the sun (stupid birds didn't touch the yarn). My plan was to dye and sell yarn using this method as I know many people do, but, I, in good conscience, just couldn't do it. Now I am thinking if I want to sell dyed yarn or items made with such yarn, I'd better use commercial dyes.

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Permanent Resident

4859 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2007 :  11:53:30 AM  Show Profile  Visit Momma78239's Homepage  Send Momma78239 a Yahoo! Message Send Momma78239 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
They fade, but not to an insipid pastel. If you had a Koo-aid dyed swatch and cut it in half and put one half in the window and the other in a dark drawer, after a year, you'd be able to see that the window one had faded, but you'd have to actually hold the "control" half up against it to see how much. It's not really that drastic.

And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. Exodus 35:25
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Chatty Knitter

265 Posts

Posted - 03/21/2007 :  07:45:37 AM  Show Profile Send ForestBird a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I recently dyed some pure alpaca with both RIT dye and KA. I dyed one part of the skein in RIT dark blue and the othe half I dunked in KA lemon-lime. The result was a bit intense and I wanted, in the end, to tone down the color intensity. So I first washed the, now finished, item in hot water and detergent. Nothing happened. So then I washed the item in detergent, hot water and a little bleach. Nothing happened. I added more bleach. Nothing happened, except the RIT dye faded a little.

I would conclude that KA is very resistant to bleach and, by extension, resistant to light.

Next I am going to try the RIT color remover.

But nothing is forever.

Hope that helps.

"Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern."
Alfred North Whitehead, Dialogues (1954)
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Chatty Knitter

297 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2007 :  2:30:12 PM  Show Profile Send petiteflower a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I recently went around the place looking at the things I have dyed with food coloring. I do have a couple of items that have faded. One is a shawl that I wear just about every day throughout the colder months. It's handspun yarn that I dyed 4 years ago and then knit up into this very utilitarian design for keeping the chill off while knocking about in the house. It doesn't have those lovely but pesky tails-of-a-triangle hanging down in the front that get in your way when you're making pancakes or dusting the furniture, and since it's the only shawl I've bothered to make like this it's been getting a lot of regular use ever since it's creation. The public side of the shawl is somewhat faded whereas the hidden side is still just as it was when freshly dyed. So the fading is a light-fastness thing, not a wash-fastness thing. I sort of casserole-dyed the yarn into a mixture of reds, blues, and purples, leaving some of the natural soft grey of the wool undyed. I must have not simmered long enough or not had enough acid in the bath. I think this is why the fading. It's still very nice though, the fading is very even and there is still plenty of color, as WendyM said above, the colors don't fizzle off to nothing by any means.

I have a hat too that is faded on the public side, and it's faded moreso than the shawl. I like the look of the faded side though, again it is not a washed out anemia, so I don't mind it. The thing is though, that I have another hat knit from the exact same batch of handspun yarn which I dyed in much darker values, and it isn't faded one single bit. Both hats have the same amount of use and exposure to light. Again, I have to figure that my methods varied somehow when I was doing the dyeing. I figure it was either a difference in the acidity of the dye bath or in the length of simmering time. I was just learning to dye then and was playing around with no specific instructions to speak of.

Everything else in the way of wool that I have dyed with food coloring that has been out in the light of day has remained intact, even some carded wool rolags that I left for 3 years in a basket on a table right next to a west window. There were two layers of rolags in the basket and there is no difference in the color intensity after all that exposure. These rolags are red and yellow. My long neglect of them turned out to be a good lightfastness test!

I've used food coloring for nearly twenty years for a fold-and-dye paper art that I do and mount on notecards that I sell. So I've picked up facts about them over the years. Number one fact when it comes to lightfastness is this: stay away from Blue #2. It is not very common so you are probably not going to find it turning up in easily obtainable food coloring products. It is a blue like blueberries, and it will start fading just about as you pour it from the bottle. The other food colorings, Blue #1, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Red #3, and Red #40 are from what I can tell, pretty similar to each other in their lightfastness. There is also a neat electric light greenish aqua that is Green something-or-other but it's very pricey and not common at all. You can save a lot of money and buy these dyes in pure powder form (no levelers or anything else added) which is the way that I prefer to buy them for my cards. I will post the website for a nice source for a reasonable amount at a reasonable price, just can't think of the exact site right now without looking it up. I have really done my looking around on this and I have found huge differences in what people sell this stuff for. Some soap-making supply places will sell you a few teaspoons for $10, but you can buy it by the pound for very reasonable prices in comparison, and let me tell you a pound is going to last you and last you and last you.

With just Blue #1, Yellow #5, Red #3, and Red #40 you can mix to achieve hundreds of colors. You don't really need yellow #6, it's the color of orange popsicle fame and is really an orange. You can get that by mixing Yellow #5 and Red #40. I'll post again under a new topic under the "Using Kool-aid" heading.
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Chatty Knitter

104 Posts

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  06:52:13 AM  Show Profile Send Simplicity a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great info since I want to get into dying my own yarns.
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