Monday, February 1, 2016 1 comments

Dyeing Yarn with Kool-Aid

I recently decided to start tackling my stash of natural fibers and knitting them. My stash is rather large, but a lot of it is the wrong color for me. Rather than donate it to someone else and buy yarn in the colors I wear, I decided to go ahead and start dyeing some of it. I've done it before, but on a limited basis. I think this is my first time to dye a whole sweater's worth of yarn.

Before I go on, you need to know a few things if this intrigues you:

(1) It only works on natural fibers (i.e. animal hair) and nylon.
(2) Kool-Aid has citric acid in it, which makes the dye stick permanently. If you don't use Kool-Aid, you'll need to add a bonding agent. (I think I've seen people use vinegar, but you'll want to double-check first.)

I started out with this Patons Wool yarn in a mauve color. Mauve is NOT my color at all. I look like death when I wear it, although I know people that look beautiful when they wear it. The yarn was a fantastic clearance deal, though, so I bought it. I need a more vibrant color, so I chose to go to a darker and brighter red. At least, that's what I was aiming for.

The general rule to get vibrant colors when dyeing with Kool-Aid is to use one packet of Kool-Aid per ounce of yarn. I had accumulated quite a stash of Kool-Aid for dyeing purposes, but I had to mix a few brands and flavors to come up with enough (14 packets total for the whole batch). If you're a perfectionist (like me), you'll need to let go of that a bit when you dye yarn with Kool-Aid. I *thought* I'd get a vibrant, true red. I ended up with a slightly different - but gorgeous nonetheless - color.

Unfortunately, I can't link to the tutorial I used since I'm writing this on my tablet without Internet access (at least until it's published). But the information is readily available online if you just search. I used the "hot water on the stove" method.

This is what the yarn looked like when I first put it into the pot (after soaking in plain water).

About 10 minutes later, this is what it looked like (after all the color was absorbed).

See? The water was clear after I took the yarn out.

Here's the yarn hanging out in lukewarm water, returning to room temperature.

And here it is, hanging to dry in my bathroom. You can see that the color is a bit different than it looked when it was fresh out of the pot and wet.

Lastly, here it is in ball form, dried and ready to be knit. It wasn't the color I set out to make, but it's a lovely color (somewhere around tangerine, I'd say) that will look good on me. I'll keep you posted on what I make with it!

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