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Topic: Wool + Kool-Aid = Love  (Read 1258 times)
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Henny Penny
« on: February 02, 2009 09:05:29 PM »

I was looking up ways of turning my blah all natural wool leftover from a recent crochet marathon with the local library into something pretty and fun. I came across kool-aid dyeing on knitty.com and a few other sites (just google kool-aid wool dyeing) and realized that fruity yarn was the answer to my woes!

I looked on craftster for recent posts and saw some much older ones, and it looks like Jenya just posted one (https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=223003.0) and chocodog (https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=4268.0) in the past few days. But here's my tutorial any way (note this was my first try, see reflections on how not to suck at this at the end).

First I gathered my supplies: 100% wool yarn about 3.5 ounces, kool-aid: grape (sugar free oddly enough), cherry berry, grape magic twist (gold powder turns red and tastes like grape...sales gimick, clearly worked on me), blue raspberry, water (brought to a boil then allowed to cool a bit), spoons, mugs that wouldn't stain/I wouldn't care, turkey baster, plastic drawer, pot w/ steamer, & plastic gloves.

To prep: wash yarn in a mild soap, look on yarns package to discover roughly what temp to use and let sit in the soapy water and sink while you mix the kool-aid. All of the instructions I could find said a "few" tablespoons per package, one package per ounce of wool. I used 3-5 tablespoons (3 for blue as it was just a .23 oz package, 4 for the cherry berry and grape magic twist which I mixed together to make red, and 5 for the sugar free grape as it was a larger package). Stir all the dyes with a separate spoon and make sure all of the flavor crystals have dissolved. Give the yarn one last rinse in the same temp water it's been sitting in and away you go...

I found a large plastic drawer that I could use to dye in and not get it all over, here was the set up:

Don your plastic gloves (because my job prefers non-purple fingers) and go to town basting that dye onto your yarn!

I just sort of guessed at how to dye it to make it turn out variegated evenly. Just try to evenly get dye all the way from one layer to the next. Once the top looked thoroughly soaked, I turned the skein and over and basted the last of the kool-aid onto the back side and into the ends.

The purple looked really dark (almost black) and I was very worried, but it all turned out great in the end!

Between colors I rinsed the turkey baster out in a tall cup of plain water, which went into a mug to keep clean water from the slightly colored.

Once I ran out of dye I carried the tray over to the stove and after pouring boiling water into the bottom of the pot, added the yarn to the steaming basket and closed it up for 45 minutes.

I made sure not to open the pot for the whole 45 minutes (note sure if that's important). Once there was steam spewing from the edges of the pot I decided to shut off the heat and let it sit for the rest of the 45 minutes.

Time's up! Open your pot and see what kind of yarn you've cooked! Let it sit until you're comfortable handling it...yarn will be HOT HOT HOT! Then rinse in water that is the same temp as the yarn or it will start to felt.

Once the water runs clear (which was nearly immediate for me) wash again in mild soap and ring out as much water as possible. I noticed that it looked like the yarn had felted a little bit, so I set up a fancy unwinding the yarn tool (the back of my chair with a bag on it).

Then it went onto a hanger and dried in the shade/my bathroom for about a day.

Finally it was finished and man was I excited! The colors are so pretty and the yarn now smells like fruit!

Ok reflections on not sucking next time:

1) Turkey basters are drippy, I think I'll try a syringe minus the pointy needle.
2) Let yarn cool after the steaming until it's cool to the touch (less than room temp) and then you can use cool water to rinse it and I don't think it will felt as much.
3) If using the small packets (.23 oz) get about 2 packets per ounce if you want really saturated colors. My yarn has a few white spots because I didn't get the dye through all of the layers.
4) If you just want one color see the instructions from here: http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall02/FEATdyedwool.html

Your feedback/tips are more than welcome!

« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2009 09:53:47 PM »

Nice job.  this spring I will be cleaning and spinning my own wool from my bosses small herd.  I am so going to save this for if I want to dye any of it! 
Thanks for the detailed tut!

« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2009 07:01:11 AM »

I find kool-aid to be expensive, especially compared with Wilton's cake dyes.  If you are looking to keep dyeing things, I would invest.  It's $2 per color online, and the containers last for quite a long time.  It's much more cost-effective.  Oh, and someone's tutorial:


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