Dyeing Wool: the Kool-Aid Way

yarnsA few weeks ago I found a lovely cashmere cardigan at the local thrift store for under $10.00.  What makes it special is the gauge of the yarn, it is very think compared to all of the other cashmere sweaters I had found. I unraveled it and have five nice batches of yarn to use.  Now for the down side.  The sweater, and therefor the yarn, is a really unattractive shade of pink – very similar to Pepto Bismol.

I had read a few things about dyeing yarn and was not sure the dye would take at all, but I decided to go for it after finding information about dyeing animal fibers with unsweetened Kool-Aid. I do have to say that I am no photographer and these yarns are much prettier in person. The whole process was, cheap, easy, fun and sticklers – I’m hooked.

I purchased 10 packets of Kool-Aid for $2.50 and dove right in.  I simmered water in an enamel pot and added 3 packets of Black Cherry Kool-Aid.  After wetting down the yarn, being careful not to agitate (and felt) the yarn, I dunked it into the dye pot.  In a few minutes the color had completely disappeared from the dye pot and I wanted a more intense color so I added 2 more packets of Fruit Punch.  I “cooked” the yarn at a low simmer for 10 minutes then turned off the heat and allowed the yarn to cool to room temperature.  I rinsed the yarn in luke warm water with a drop of dish soap (again, don’t agitate) and followed with clear water.  Then I just squeezed out the excess water and hung it to dry.  The variations in colors are due to the later addition of the dye as well as the skein being tied together in several places – I really like it.

IMG_2738

Black Cherry and Tropical Punch

For the violet yarn, I started with the same pink cashmere, added grape Kool Aid and then a few drops of blue food color. The citric acid in the Kool Aid helps the dyes in both the mix and the food color adhere to the yarn.

Grape with a few drops of blue food color.

Grape with a few drops of blue food color.

The last batch was cream colored wool dyed with 3 packs of Orange and 2 packs of Cherry. I used so much so I would get a vibrant color. The photo show the yarn still wet.

Orange and Cherry

Orange and Cherry

Kenton was unimpressed

Kenton was unimpressed

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One Response to Dyeing Wool: the Kool-Aid Way

  1. Karly says:

    I love dyeing with koolaid! It’s a great way to get just a bit of color for fair isle or a ruffle (I have a little girl) with the same yarn without buying a whole other ball of yarn. I haven’t thought of buying a sweater with the sole purpose of unraveling it! Smart.

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