Today I dyed some yarn with Kool-Aid. It is pretty easy and a lot of fun. And, unlike the acid-based dyes I use sometimes, Kool-Aid is non-toxic so you don’t have to worry about accidentally poisoning your family if you are working in the kitchen.
Here are the materials you need:
Wool yarn (Kool-Aid will only dye animal fibers), acrylic yarn (that’s the blue stuff), an enamel pot, a plastic dishtub, plain white vinegar, plastic wrap, (I ended up not needing that), and of course Kool-Aid. I used a combination of Strawberry and Black Cherry colors – er I mean flavors. You will also need an extra-large Diet Coke from the convenience store. Why? Because I said so, that’s why.
The next thing you have to do is tie these fancy figure-eight knots in your skein of yarn so it doesn’t all unravel in the pot.
You use the acrylic yarn for this. It is handy if the yarn is not the same color as the dye you will be using, so you can find it later.
Next you soak the yarn in a combination of water and vinegar:
While the yarn is soaking you can prepare the dye bath. Mix up 8 quarts of water, a cup of vinegar and 8 packets of unsweetened Kool-Aid in your enamel pot, and heat it to 185 degrees fahrenheit. Then put the yarn in the pot. Be careful, it’s hot.
Things get a little tricky here. You have to keep the water at 185 degrees (use a candy thermometer) while the yarn soaks up the pigment. If you get the water too hot, the yarn will felt. Then you will have a big lump of yuck instead of brightly colored yarn. So now you watch, and wait.
This is really cool. As the yarn soaks up the pigment, the water gets clearer and clearer. When most of the pigment has been sucked up out of the water use some tongs to put the yarn back in the plastic dishtub. Make sure there isn’t any water in the dishtub. Yet.
Now you rinse it in cool water. I put a glug of vinegar in it too to help set the dye. I am not sure it worked. I suppose if it turns my hands red when I knit it I will know it didn’t work.
Here is the finished product: