Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Knitting: Wool Socks Transformed with Kool-Aid

How do you like my bright red kid's socks? I love red, so I'm especially fond of them. I made them for the children of Lesotho who love bright colors, but they didn't start out this way. No, they started out like this:

Now, if I were making these for military men (in a much larger size), this color would be fine. But not for children who love bright colors, at least not when I have other options.

These were transformed with two packets of Blastin' Berry Cherry Kool-Aid:

They sell for about $0.20 each at my local Wal-Mart, but I got these a few years ago for free with a coupon promotion.

Since Kool-Aid packets contain citric acid, all you have to do is add the packet to water, add your project, heat it to the right temperature, and let it sit until the project has absorbed all (or at least most) of the color.

Here's what my bowl of Kool-Aid looked like right before I added a sock:

And here's what it looked like after it had absorbed most of the color:

I could have probably gotten away with one packet of Kool-Aid for both socks, but the tutorial I used recommended one packet for each ounce the project weighs. You can be sure I'll be doing more dyeing and experimenting!

Here are the dyed socks sitting next to a small ball of the original-colored yarn:

That's quite a transformation! It has revolutionized the way I look at neutral-colored thrift store sweaters.

A few quick notes about dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid:
  • Only animal fibers (wool, alpaca, cashmere, etc.) will dye like this. Acrylic won't, unfortunately. If your yarn contains nylon for strength (like mine did), you're in luck. Nylon is apparently the only man-made fiber that will dye with Kool-Aid.
  • If you have a large project to dye, I would definitely recommend dyeing the yarn before you knit the project. I would also recommend looking into either acid dyes or food coloring options, since Kool-Aid can get a bit expensive on large projects (1 packet per ounce of yarn).
Stay tuned for more knitting, and even a few other projects thrown in. I've been busy! :)


Merry said...

Just visiting from Gail's blog. This is such a fantastic idea ...wonder if I can find an equivalent to Kool Aid in Australia.

Christa said...

From what I understand, it's not widely available in Australia. Some people have found it in specialty shops, but it's about $1.25 per packet, so it's definitely not cheap like it is here.

As an alternative, you can also dye animal fibers with food coloring, so long as you add in either lemon juice or white vinegar to help "set" the color. HTH!