Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kool Aid Dyeing

As promised, here are the details of my kool-aid dyeing process.

I don't have any pictures of this part of the experiment, but the skein of yarn is soaking in warm water with a drop of dishwashing detergent. Meanwhile, we mixed one packet each of strawberry, grape, lemon-lime, lemonade mixed with orange and strawberry lemonade, with water. Be sure to use the unsweetened kool-aid. We used tepid water this time, but I think it's more effective if the water is warmer. It doesn't matter how much water you mix the kool-aid with, the yarn will absorb the dye out of the water. Oh, and by the way, although we didn't discover it this time, kool-aid does stain granite...especially the berry blue flavor, lol.

We then draped the damp skein into the bowls, separating as much length as we wanted between each of the colors. I found out that you need to be sure to move the strands around in the kool-aid mixture to be sure that the color gets to the inner layers. I also had to move the skein to make the colors overlap each other...the colors didn't bleed into each other like I had anticipated they would.

Next step is to either wait until the water is clear, or until you can see that the yarn has taken the color as much as you want. Surprisingly, this only took about 3-5 minutes, and I was using cool-ish water. It varies from color to color, but it's pretty obvious and the colors stay true to what you see there.
The skein can then be wrapped in plastic wrap and the dye has to be set. I have found two ways to do can steam it or microwave it. I chose to microwave it on high for about 4 minutes. They say that if you microwave, it should be in one that you don't use for food preparation, but I think that is more for the acid dyes than for kool-aid. This isn't a problem at my house, but it may be a concern for you. If you do choose to steam, be sure and line the steamer basket with newspaper so the plastic wrap doesn't melt to the metal of the steamer. With the steaming method, it should take about 30 minutes.

After setting the color, be careful because the plastic is very hot. I unwrapped my skein and let it sit out to cool on its own. When it's cool, rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Amazingly, I never had any color rinse out of this skein. Even on the very first rinse! I was so surprised! Now, I have discovered that a bit of time in the dryer removes the fruity smell. I have put some of my kool-aid dyed yarn in a mesh bag and thrown it in there for a few minutes, but be sure your yarn is superwash before attempting this :) I took this yarn and made the hats that I talked about here. The dyeing was so fun, easy, and and really colorfast. I didn't re-skein this, but you could get it to be more striping if you re-wound it into a really long skein first, therefore dyeing longer sections at a time but still having enough room to dye more than one color.

Now, to be completely off topic, I had a request for my finished puzzle picture. Yes, June, I was going to post it, but the picture wasn't on my laptop yet. Thank you so much for reminding me! Just for you, here is the completed puzzle...a thing of beauty!


Angelika said...

Thanks for your tutorial. It sounds so much easier than some other ones. What exactly is the problem about the microwave though? It's food coloring, it's yarn, so what, and the plastic wrap works great in there too, so I don't know why they stress this so much? I'd understand it, if it was some kind of chemical dye.

George said...

Hi Ashley!

Well the yarn looks great as usual. what could be expected with your skills. hey even the Kool Aid looks Delicious!! makes me thirsty lol.

Ashley said...


I think you are right about the chemical dye being the main concern with the microwave. I have added that to my post, so thank you for reminding me! :)

Jenny Girl said...

Your dye project came out wonderful. I like the way you laid the yarn in the bowls of dye. I thought the colors would run into one another that way, but apparently not. I think your colors are much more vibrant than mine.

BTW, you are girl after my own heart. I absolutley love Jane Austen, and some of your other favorite books as well. Masterpiece theater is running all of the JA books on Sunday nights. Hope you catch them.
Thanks for commenting too :)

June said...

Ashley! Thank you for showing your puzzle, it is really, really pretty! I think this is a cool holiday tradition that I would love to take up, it's the problem of space at my house!!