The other day my girlfriend came home with a bunch of Caron novelty yarn she got at big lots for $2 a skein. She bought quite a bit of a few different styles and colors, but one yarn in particular: the black and white "feathers" yarn, that got my attention since I'm on a bit of an acid dyeing trip. You see, the fluffy stuff on novelty yarn is almost always nylon and nylon is the only synthetic fiber that can be dyed with an acid dye such as food coloring or hair coloring or kool aid; but I never attempted to dye such a yarn because it would always either come colored, or contain another fiber such as cotton or polyester that might stain and look ugly. This however was the perfect Nylon Yarn to dye: the main strand was black so it wouldn't stain, the nylon was white to gray ombre which was great because dying over gray just makes a darker shade of the dye color and that means whatever color I choose to dye it, the finished product will also turn out to be an ombre, and the best part is of course that it was cheap. Since it was her yarn I went to big lots and bought a skein to test dye. Alot of people have posted about their experiences in dyeing wool and even blends with kool aid but as far as I'm aware no one has posted anything about kool aid dyeing Nylon here so I decided I'd do the honors.
Its not exactly a true before and after but the uncolored yarn is the exact same thing. Once she saw the outcome she decided to roll up all of that one style and color into hanks so I could dye them.
The red did in fact turn out to be an ombre and the colors are very vibrant, much more so than kool aid dyed wool.
I'm sorry I'm no good with tutorials but the process is pretty much the same as kool aid dying. In a nutshell: wind yarn in hank, bind loosely with a length of yarn, fill up rectangular Pyrex or Tupperware dish with water and kool aid mixture, gently wash yarn, place yarn in mixture making sure its covered, microwave until hot, let sit, microwave until hot, let sit, repeat until done, remove yarn and let cool, gently rinse in lukewarm water, gently wash in lukewarm water, gently rinse in lukewarm water, hang to dry or dry in an oven on lowest setting
There was one big difference between dying wool and nylon
The ratio of dye to water does
seem to matter.
Unlike Wool where dissolving a packet into a pint of water will eventually bring the same results as dissolving a packet into a gallon of water, a lighter liquid will dye Nylon lighter while a darker liquid will dye it darker. I used two packets of black cherry with a quart of water that made a very dark liquid, but no-matter how much I heated and waited, the color wouldn't go any darker despite there still being alot of dye left in the water. Just so I knew that it wasn't the nylon refusing to take on too much dye, I took a small piece of the yarn and dyed it with a strong mix of food coloring and vinegar and it turned a very dark red. Since the nylon won't suck up all of the dye like wool its not as convenient to tell when the yarn is done; its done when it just won't get any darker.
The rinsing washing process also took considerably longer to get it clean. The dye didn't seem to wash out of the nylon too much so I'm guessing that it was because the black main strand must have been stained. Running it under lukewarm water and gently pressing until it runs clear is fine but if you plan on machine washing whatever you're going to make with the yarn I'd reccommend that you run it under hot water and press until it runs almost completely clear.
Partially drying it out with a hair dryer at low speed on medium heat is something that also helped not just because it sped up the drying process but also because it did a good job of fluffing the nylon back up.