I don't know why, but I felt the random need to dye some yarn this week. I tried two different ways of working with kool-aid, and I thought the three of you who read this blog for the crafting may appreciate it. The rest (all four of you) can just look at the funny pictures and the pretty colors :-)
To start, you want to google "knitty kool aid dyeing
" and read their instructions on how hot your water needs to be, and how to make sure not to felt your yarn or roving by rapidly changing its temperature (as in, rinsing hot yarn with cold water) or stirring vigorously. They also have excellent pictures of what kool aid flavors give you what colors.
Then, you want to skein your yarn. Unless you already have yarn that comes in a hank, use a niddy-noddy or swift to make one. I have not taken a picture of my setup because it's somewhat pathetic. Just know you want to end with a hank that's safely tied in at least two places. Kool-aid and similar food safe dyes only work on protein fibers, so wool or mostly wool is your best bet. I used superwash wool here because it's what I had - didn't seem to be a problem.
Fill your crockpot with water, about half full. Pro tip: use hot tap water. It takes my crockpot almost an hour to heat water to anything close to "dye pot hot," so give it a head start. For this particular dye result, add a generous glug of white vinegar before putting in the yarn.
Soak your skeined yarn for about half an hour (or longer). You want it to be pretty saturated, and you also don't really want it to float, as much as you can get yarn to not float. At the same time, set your crockpot to high and let it warm up. This is where you want to pay attention a bit, because if the water starts boiling, your yarn will felt.
Now it's time for the fun. I used two colors of kool-aid, but you could probably go with three if you wanted to. For the 100g of worsted weight superwash I used here, I ended up with a grand total of six packets (three blue, three green). To be fair, it seemed I ended up with supersized packets of blue, so really it was two blue, three green, but with regular packets, it's three and three.
Anyways... sprinkle the kool-aid on top of your yarn.
Do. Not. Stir. Just put on the lid, set your crockpot to low or the warm setting, and walk away for at least another half hour. When you come back, you can lightly slosh the liquid around to make sure all the powder has dissolved. If that is the case, and your water is mostly clear, it means the yarn has absorbed all the dye, and you can rinse.
This is where I remember to put on gloves... when it shouldn't really be necessary anymore. Oh well.
Rinse your yarn carefully, both to avoid felting and to avoid tangles. Then hang the skein to dry (this can take a while). I constructed an excellent setup to avoid having water drip on my carpets...
Yes, that's my shower. I was able to also close the shower curtain and take a shower without messing with the setup. Your mileage may vary.
Once the skein is dry, twist it into a pretty skein and enjoy!
I love how spattered and textured the colors turned out. Because you add the vinegar at the beginning, the dye sticks to the yarn pretty much as soon as it hits it in some spots, which is where the dark colors come from. Then the rest of the dye slowly absorbs irregularly, giving you the lighter areas. Because you've kept the two powders separate as much as possible, you'll have distinct areas of color on different parts of the skein.
I'm excited about seeing how this knits up - if I remember, I'll add a picture here in addition to the new blog post. And I have another skein of dyed yarn still drying - that one came out quite differently though :-)