Something I've Been Dy(e)ing to Try
Over the weekend I got to try out something I’ve been dying to try for a long time: dyeing yarn with Kool-aid! If you have ever drank the stuff, you know that it dyes just about everything, and as it turns out yarn made out of animal fiber (wool, mohair, alpaca… apparently it will even dye human hair, but that’s up for debate) really, really likes Kool-aid.
In preparation for my attempt at dyeing, I read and watched pretty much every tutorial on Kool-aid dyeing I could find. If you are looking to try it out, too, here are some of the ones I found most helpful:
I didn’t follow any one exactly; I just mixed-and-matched as I went along.
I started out with two skeins of Red Heart’s Heart and Sole yarn (a 70/30 wool/nylon blend), two packets of Tropical Punch Kool-aid (despite the color of the packet, the dye is really red), and two packets of Grape Kool-aid.
Mixing the Kool-aid dye bath was quite scary. I had only purchased two packets of Tropical Punch, so if I messed up the mix, there was no going back and trying again. I ended up using the entire four packets. I wanted a kettle-dyed effect (meaning the yarn would be different shades of the same color), so I added the yarn in slowly. Slow enough that by the time I got it all the way submerged and into the microwave to cook, the dye bath was already clearing… yarn really does like to slurp up Kool-aid!
In order to set, the dye and the yarn needed to be heated. I microwaved it about 4 times for a minute and a half, letting it cool for a bit in-between so the yarn didn’t burn. The yarn had long since soaked in all of the dye by the time I felt it had cooked long enough. The water was murky (some flavors of Kool-aid do that), but there was no color left.
After that, all that was left was to let the yarn cool (so I could handle it), then rinse it and hang it to dry. The smallest bit of the purple washed out during the rinse (Although, the bowl I was using was tinted purple, so maybe it was just an illusion), but besides that, all of the dye stayed in the yarn—no need to worry about my yarn staining anything! It actually only hung to dry for an hour before I got impatient and turned on a fan to help it along. It was dried by evening.
Want to see my finished yarn? It was almost exactly how I had wanted it to turn out!
I had an ulterior motive to dyeing my yarn, not only was it a new technique to try out, but I wanted to have some pretty yarn to make something wearable for myself. It was a long, hard search finding the right pattern, but I think I am going to make the Moonlight Sonata Shawlette. I’ve been secretly wanting to dye yarn for a while, and I’ve been secretly been wanting to make a shawl for a while, so why not do both at the same time?