I Could Just Dye

Kool-Aid is awesome. Seriously. Did you know that all by it’s little self, the powder in that tiny pack of drink mix can produce incredibly vibrant dyes for protein fiber. I certainly won’t be caught drinking the stuff anymore, but I am a fan.

I plied up my first yarn a while back and managed to finish it so it had a nice hang to it. It’s scratchy and the plies don’t really love each other, but they’re not pulling apart. See?

Coloring wool was not something I really thought about when I got on board with the whole spinning thing. I love the natural color of sheep for the most part, but between my rookie fiber prep and a not-particularly-high fleece quality, my first yarn was uneven and yellowish in some places. Anyone who knows me well will tell you I am not a fan of yellow.

After some hours of research, I came to the decision that my best bet was to start with the crockpot method, using Kool-Aid as my dye. It’s easy, and all I needed was this:

I mixed together the powder, a healthy splash of vinegar, and enough water to cover my wool, working right in the crockpot. I turned the thing on high and set my wool to soak in a bowl of hot water with a tiny drop of dish detergent swished in, to avoid the sudsing you get when you pour the water onto the soap.

After twenty minutes or so, my crockpot was steaming and my wool water was starting to cool, so I wrung the yarn out slightly and dumped it in the pot, turning the temp down to the lowest setting (called “Warm” on mind). My crockpot will boil liquid on High, and agitation such as you’d get from those bubbles is generally villainized as the prime suspect in cases of unwanted felting.

I went a little crazy with the amount of powder I put in. The general consensus seems to be about one packet of powder per 100g wool. I don’t really know how much I have, as I don’t have a scale that measures in grams or ounces yet, but I know it’s less than 100g. Two packs of Blue Raspeberry Lemonade and one pack of Lemon-Lime was, without question, overkill. You can’t argue with results though–just look at this green.

True, I may have been hoping for more of a blue, but I’m sure I can think up some good St. Patrick’s Day use for it. And it will be nice, for a change, to work with some yarn that smells like fruit.

P.S. Notice those white ties on the yarn? Those 100% cotton babies were in the dye with the wool. That, my friends, is an example of what happens when you try to dye non-protein fibers with food dyes: absolutely nothing.