The Electric Kool-Aid Dyeing Test: Psychedelic Sock Yarn Dyeing Is a Blastcomments (1) July 24th, 2008
I am fascinated by the wide variety of wonderful hand-dyed yarns that are widely available today. Why should Fiesta, Cherry Tree Hill, Conjoined Creations, and Lorna’s Lace have all the fun? Hand-dying your own yarn at home is fun and surprisingly easy!
What You Will Need:
- Undyed super wash wool/wool blend sock yarn in a loose skein
- Rubber gloves
- Unsweetened Kool-Aid
- 1 cup squeeze bottles with a pointed tip
- White vinegar
- Saran Wrap
- Gallon-sized plastic bag
- Paper towels (this can get messy!)
- Uninhibited state of mind
I recommend soaking the yarn overnight or at least for 30 minutes prior to dyeing. This step prepares the yarn for the dye to saturate the fibers. Soak it in a mixture of 1/4 cup white vinegar in a quart of water. After the soak, squeeze as much water out as possible, then wrap in a towel to get out most of the moisture. The wool should be damp but not wet, which will help the dye soak in for maximum intensity.
Prepare the dye by putting about 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a cup of water. Dump in some Kool-Aid to get the color you like. A half of a packet will give you a pastel, a full pack a good mid tone, and a double pack a deep, rich saturation of color. Mix and match the Kool-Aid to get a variety of colors. Try mixing cherry, tropical punch, and black cherry together for a deep, rich red. Lemon Lime and Berry Blue create a Navaho turquoise. Kool-Aid comes in a spectrum of 13 colors from Lemonade to Grape, so there are countless combinations to experiment with. Remember, this is not an exact science, so be a kid and have fun playing with the colors!
Prepare your surface for dying by covering it with a sheet of heavy plastic (available at your local home center). You may also want to cover the floor to prevent the inevitable spills from hitting you flooring. I like to dye outside so I can be my carefree self!
Tip: Make sure to wear an apron or old clothes and gloves as the Kool-Aid will stain!
Tear off a generous length of Saran Wrap, several inches longer than your skein of yarn, and lay it on the table. Position the damp skein of yarn on the table.
Squirt the dye mixture onto the yarn and work it into all the layers with your fingers.
Mix and match the colors to suit your own color style. Totally saturate the skein with color or leave winks of white to add a little sparkle to the finished sock.
Once you have finished creating your masterpiece, finish it off with a dunk into a container of vinegar water and gently squeeze the liquid out. Lay the skein out on a fresh piece of Saran Wrap and cover it with another. Fold over the edges to seal, and roll it up like a jelly roll. Place the roll in a double plastic bag, but do not seal the bag. Place in the microwave, making sure that it is standing upright so any liquids don’t spill out. Nuke for 3 minutes, let it rest, and nuke and rest for a total of three cycles.
This process will steam the dye into the fibers, locking in the color. Let it cool enough so you can handle the yarn, squeeze any remaining water, and hang your masterpiece to dry.
Once the yarn is completely dry, it’s fun to ball it or wind it to see how the colors blend together.
Knit a swatch or begin your sock-knitting project to get the full effect of your dyeing escapade.
You may notice the yarn smells a bit vinegary, but once you wash the completed socks, the odor will disappear!
Henry’s Attic Kona Super Wash Merino
Knit Picks Bare Super Wash Merino Nylon
Dharma Trading Wildefoot Luxury Sock yarn
Kool-Aid yarn-dyeing Web sites:
Debi Tuttle has it down to a science!
Wool Festival has alternative ideas about setting the dye.
Knitty offers a fun take on the process.