Crafting / Knitting

Dyeing with Kool Aid

Today I’ve been dyeing undyed yarn. Some time ago I ordered some Kool Aid from eBay. It’s an American drink. The packages contain powder, and you add water and sugar to taste. It is said to contain quite some vitamine C. This stuff is not just for drinking, however. No, you can also dye natural yarns with it (or t-shirts, or even your hair)!

Inspired by other Ravelry members I worked with two skeins of undyed yarn today, and used the Kool Aid I had stored. No gloves, I didn’t have any and was too lazy to go shopping, so my hands have some colour stains on them…

I wanted to use warm colours for the first skein, I am planning to maybe knit l’Oiseau de feu (Firebird, a scarf) with it, and let myself get inspired by that.

At first I soaked the yarn for about half an hour in lukewarm water. After that, I filled some cups with water and Kool Aid. The cups went into the pan with water, I lit the stove and divided the yarn between the cups.

I used the flavours Tropical Punch (6), Black Cherry (6) and Mango (5) for this dyeing job. Quite a lot of Kool Aid, because I love intense, saturated colours. Perhaps I could have used less Kool Aid, because the dyeing job also depends on the amount of water used. I used quite a lot of water, so the dyeing took a lot longer.

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The Kool Aid is getting into the fibers nicely, after a while the yarn already looked quite nice. You did however still see white patches between the cups. The colour does travel a bit, though!

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I added a cup and moved the yarn to cover the white patches. I also added more Kool Aid. You can see that the water is steaming hot now!

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This is the result of the first skein! Nice, intense colours, it even smells good!

So… I soak the second skein, and decide to explore the other side of the colour spectrum. For this dyeing job I used Berry Blue (9) and Grape (6). Berry Blue gives a beautiful turquoise to blue, and Grape adds purple to the mix. The combination works well together!

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The soaking and moving of the skein was done just like the last time. In the end I put the entire skein into the pan with another package of Berry Blue, to make sure that the lighter parts also got some more colour. This skein turned out entirely different, but is very pretty too! At the end of the process, the yarn has absorbed all the dye, and there is only water left in the pan/cups!

It is great to see that one can get very nice results using relatively healthy products. Regular dye is poisonous, after all, and produces damps that you don’t want to breathe in. When dyeing with Kool Aid, you don’t have to worry about anything, it’s originally made to drink, right! This could be fun and safe to do with kids too, it’s sort of magical… When David came home, he immediately smelled what I had done. The whole house smells like fruit!

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Now I still have to find something to knit with this… maybe socks, but I’m also thinking of making a shawl… As soon as I’ve got time and money again, I’d like to dye a batch for a cardigan  (Myrtle) gaan verven, preferably in green or red…

By the way, here is a nice colour card for Kool Aid. The Kool Aid names are a bit cryptic, and it’s hard to predict what kind of colour your yarn will get.

These are the skeins after drying:

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Firebird

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Twilight

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