Thursday, June 11, 2009

how to dye yarn with Kool-Aid

After my latest dyeing foray, a reader asked me how to dye with Kool-Aid. In the name of craftiness, I dyed up another batch so that I could document then entire process. And because it's fun.
Let's start with the finished product...
first off, gather your supplies. You will need:
-Kool-Aid, a variety of flavors
-saran wrap
-containers to dye in
the yarn I am using is 100% superwash merino, alpaca & nylon blend. Natural fibers are the best to dye with...they absorb the color better. I also like to use superwash, because the yarn won't felt. Felting is what happens when you heat wet wool and agitate. You don't want this stuff to felt.
Unwrap your skein and lay it out. See the pink ties? I added them because the skein only comes with 2 ties. I discovered how easily the yarn can become tangled if it isn't tied down well. Better safe than sorry. You will thank me later.
Next, soak your yarn in a lukewarm bath. It doesn't have to soak very long.
Then I mixed up a batch of dye. It's all very scientific, so pay attention: I dumped one packet of dye into about 2 cups of water and stirred. Done.
I found these burind in the back of the cupboard and decided to throw them into a fresh container. Let's spice up that blue!
Dunk one end into the color of your choice, and swirl it around a little. I wanted a 2 tone blue, so I mixed up another batch in a different flavor, and set the other end in to soak. See how in the bottom container the water is almost clear? That means all of the dye has been soaked up.

The orange is very tangy looking! I carefully dunk in the center portion. A little bit seeps into the blue, and that is ok! Because blue and orange make green, and green is good.
My dye is exhausted! (so am I!)
I lay out a piece of plastic wrap a little longer than my skein and plunk the wet yarn right in the center. Fold the two sides over to cover, like a tube. Then roll the whole thing up like a cinnamon bun. Mmmmmm...
I put the bun into one of the dye containers
and then we nuke it!
Cook for 2 minutes, rest for 5. cook again, rest again. Continue this cycle until the water that seeps out is pretty much clear.
I forgot to mention protective gear!
Some people wear rubber gloves while they dye so that their hands don't get stained. I like to feel the yarn, and swirl it aound, so I never wear gloves. just like with gardening. I never wear gloves then, either. But I do always wear an apron, because I always get spots on my shirts.
If your yarn is done, remove it from the bowl into the sink. See how clear the water is? The dye is set. Also, don't pick it up with your hands. It will be very very hot.

strip off the plastic wrap when it cools down a little and give your yarn a bath. Just a few minutes of clean, cool water.
Squeeze out the yarn gently and hang to dry. If you hang it up outisde it will dry superfast. At this point, you have successfully dyed yarn! Yeah, you! You can wind it into a ball now.
I chose to wind mine on my uber-fancy new niddy-noddy. The reason to do this is to redistribute the colors around. It just makes the skein look nice. It serves no other purpose.
And Voila! You have one awesome hand-dyed one of a kind yarn.
I think I will call this one 'poolside lemonade'


Brooke S. Rochon said...

You are so crafty!!! You should also sell your own dyed yarns on Etsy. Ever thought of that?

sue said...

It looks like a lot of fun. Nice to see what you get up to when not farming, lol! The colors look nice, how do the stripes knit up.

Sue said...

Brooke, I might try to, if there's interest!
And Sue, so far I don't really get stripes. Just a nice variegated look. Check out my pedicure sock in my projects page on Rav.

Nicole said...

How fun is that! I haven't gotten into knitting yet, but I could dye yarn all day long :) I love it. You should totally be selling on etsy.

Jen on the Edge said...

It's so lovely and I had no idea it was so easy.

You know, you could make money selling your hand-dyed yarns on Etsy...

Anonymous said...

I have to stop and get me some Kool-aide after work tonight and give this a try. And here I thought I'd never get into this...thanks Sue! lol I love the color!