I see a lot of people on Craftster who dye their own yarn with Kool Aid, and I thought I'd finally give it a whack. None of the places around here sell nice yarn in bright, pretty colors. Kool aid dye gives me those colors!
I hadn't seen any tutorials for this here so I thought I'd make one.
I apologize for the bad photos. I used my cell for everything but the final product pictures. haha.
First off, gather your ingredients!
- Yarn: This HAS to be a protein-based yarn, which means it has to have come from an animal. Wool is probably the easiest and cheapest, but silk or alpaca will work also! Cotton or acrylics will NOT work.
Though if you want an interesting pattern, get wool yarn that is wrapped in cotton. The cotton will stay white and the wool will dye.
- Kool aid: Or other packet drink mix. (The "Splash" ones are HyVee brand, it's a grocery store in the Midwest USA) Don't get the ones in the canisters because they're mixed with sugar and you'd be left with a sticky mess.
The amount you need depends on the color you're going for: light pastels will only need one, or even half a packet, while deep colors will need two or even four. I personally used two packets for each color.
- Pots: I do my dying over the stove because I've heard doing it in the microwave smells bad (cooking wool? Yeah, I bet it does!). You should have two pots; one for the actual dying process, and one to hold the extra yarn in (and away from the fire/heat!). The yarn will wick water from the first pot into the second, so don't give it a bowl that has holes.
- Rubber gloves (optional): I had gloves nearby because kool aid will stain your hands. I still managed to get blue streaks on my fingers though. T__T
If your yarn came all nice and wrapped, you must un-wrap it to make a skein.
I usually use the back of a chair, but you can also grab yourself a boyfriend or friend or sibling and make them sit there with their arms up while you wrap yarn around them.
Tie off your yarn in at least two spots to keep it from getting all tangled up whilst moving it.
I sectioned off three equal parts because I was dying with three colors. You don't have to do this if you're doing, say, seven colors, but it does seem easier than just eyeballing it.
Rinse your yarn in warm water. Not too hot, and not too cold, otherwise you will felt it and that's totally not awesome. Wringing it and playing with it a lot will also felt it, so don't fudge around.
Let the yarn soak while you ready your pots.
Set up one pot on the burner and fill it most of the way with water (well, depends on the size of the pot. I used a smallish/medium one), and then add your kool aid. Stir a little to make sure it's all dissolved.
Take your yarn out of the sink and gently squeeze out most of the water. Again, don't wring it or agitate it too much, or it will felt.
Put part (or all, if you're doing one color) of your yarn into the dye pot, and turn the heat up to medium. Make sure it's all covered with water. Wait until it boils, and then turn off the heat and let the yarn soak for a good twenty minutes.
Remember to keep the yarn that hangs out as far away from the flame/burner as possible. You don't want it to catch on fire!
(Alternatively, you can put it in a microwave safe dish for four or five minutes, but again, I've heard it stinks really bad).
Some people put vinegar into their dyes to keep it more colorfast, but kool aid dyes don't really need it because of the citric acid (or so I've heard). I don't know how much you would add if you wanted to.
You'll know your yarn is done soaking when the water magically turns clear again.
The yarn will have soaked up all the dye, leaving clear water in the dye pot, and a little clear water in the extra pot. I pour the water from the extra pot back into the dye pot and then start the dye process all over again with a new color.
Once you've done all your dying, take the yarn back to the sink and run it under warm water, gently squeezing any extra dye out.
When the water runs clear (mine was clear immediately...), squeeze out as much water as you can (While still being careful not to felt the wool!).
Now you can either hang it up somewhere to dry overnight, or do what I did and tie it to a fan blasting on high.
With the fan, it only took about an hour to dry..
After it's all nice and dry, roll it into a ball and stow it away for future use! Or use it immediately, I guess! haha
Ta-da, pretty yarns!
(I call this one Berry Twilight. No. I don't read/watch/tolerate Twilight. >_>)