Hello, This is the story of an Alpaca named Cocoa. Actually, it's not.
This is really the story of the frightening characteristics of Wilton's cake dye. Yes, that's right, the same stuff that you eat is also used to dye yarn.
Now I'd like to point out that this was my first attempt. Therefore the resulting yarn is not exactly wonderful, but not exactly terrible. It's really not what I expected, but I will say it's a good first try. First I wound the yarn into skeins. This was time consuming, but worth it. I used two different lengths, and at the end decided that creating a longer skein is better. For example, the pinkish bluish funkiness was a short skein, and the colors moshed all together and I really was totally unprepared for the whole thing. Second attempt as documented (since the first was so embarrassing) was a longer skein, giving me more room to 'paint.'
First things first:
1. Wind yarn into skeins. (I used guitar stands, open kitchen drawers, whatver as long as its stable and comfortable). I used a small scale my husband previously used for measuring rocket powder to achieve my 50 grams of yarn.
2. Soak yarn in vinegar and water (white vinegar). I suggest looking online for the correct proportions because I just guessed (and that's as dangerous as not checking your guage).
3. Lay out yarn on plastic wrap. I suggest lying it down in a long line, instead of leaving it in a oval like you see in the picture.
4. 'Paint' as you see fit. I wore gloves (the second time) and used chopsticks (first time with the dye straight out of the bottle) and paintbrushes (second time diluted dye in a little bit of water)Either way works.
5. Once done roll up yarn in plastic wrap.
6. Microwave for 2 minutes at a time off and on. Give the yarn time to rest in between. I used a glass pan/pieplate. (candle for stinky vinegar smell)
7. Rinse, but don't shock the yarn (it'll felt). You should have almost no dye at all coming out of your yarn. I repeat very small amounts of dye should be coming out of your yarn. Otherwise rewrap and nuke some more.
8. Dry (I wrung mine out and hung it in the shower)
9. You may have to rerinse that funky vinegar smell out.
I used Lion Brand Fisherman's 100% wool as Faith already said. It's cheap at ACMoore, especially if you have a coupon (200grams for barely 4 dollars).
Here's what I did the other day, now that I'm wiser about this whole handpainted yarn thing...
Not bad, huh?