Saturday, June 20, 2009

My First Attempt at Dyeing Yarn

If you are visiting from TIP JUNKIE, welcome! I also have a video tutorial on dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid HERE. Be sure to check it out and feel free to browse my blog! :)
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Fruit Cocktail
Recently, my fabulous co-hosts of Fiber 'Tudes and I decided to take the plunge and hand dye some yarn. Being a yarn dyeing virgin, I did a little research on the internet and decided that the simplest method would be the method I would use. So I chose the crockpot method of dyeing. I also decided that I would use a non-toxic, edible dye since my kiddos like to help out with my projects. Kool-Aid dyeing it was! Also, a non-toxic dye meant that I could re-use my crockpot for edible endeavors. (If you use a toxic or inedible dye - use a crockpot that will NEVER be used for cooking food again. You can get crockpots pretty inexpensively at yardsales.)

  • Do not use Kool-Aid that is pre-sweetened. You need the original Kool-Aid packets that have NO sugar or sweetener in them.
  • Use an animal fiber not a plant fiber for Kool-Aid dyeing. Plant fibers won't take the dye properly.
  • Tie your yarn with a pure white cotton yarn (it won't bleed onto your yarn). -OR- Buy Bare Yarn by Knit Picks (like I did). It comes already tied and is ready to go straight into the crockpot. Of course, if you spin your own, you're going to have to do all of the work yourself. (But that is part of the fun!)
  • DO NOT agitate non-superwash fibers. This is a hot water method and you will felt your yarn if you agitate it prior to being COMPLETELY cooled.
  • Be careful. The water AND yarn are very hot. Let the yarn cool completely prior to rinsing. If you burn your fingers, you will not enjoy knitting your gorgeous new yarn.
  • When mixing up the Kool-Aid - remember the more water you use to mix up the dye, the less concentrated the color. Don't be afraid to experiment with your color. It's only Kool-Aid after all.

Step 1:
I had to choose the colors I wanted. I had an entire bag of Kool-Aid and decided for the first try, I wanted pink, orange, and cranberry. So I chose Pink Lemonade, Orange, and Black Cherry Kool-Aid packets.

Step 2:
I re-read the tutorial from Nermal, Not Normal. (Hot Pour Method) I deviate a tad from her tutorial. But I used her tutorial as my knowledge base.

Step 3:
I placed the yarn in the cold crockpot and covered with water. Then I added 1 cup of vinegar and turned the crockpot on HIGH.
Step 4:
I mixed up all of the Kool-Aid. I wanted a really brightly colored yarn and decided to have alot of Kool-Aid and a little water to produce that effect. So I mixed 2 packets of Pink Lemonade Kool-Aid, 3 packets of Black Cherry Kool-Aid, and 3 packets of Orange Kool-Aid each in a glass of approx. 6 oz. of water.
Step 5:
Once the water in the crockpot was sufficiently hot, I poured the Kool-Aid dye mixtures in different areas on the yarn. I had planned on pouring in thirds, but quickly realized that I still had surface area that needed dye. So I mixed up a fourth color - Lemonade Kool-Aid (4 packets) with 6 oz. of water and poured it in. Then I replaced the crockpot lid and set the timer for an hour.
Step 6:
After the timer went off, I stuck a spoon into the yarn to gently check if the dye had penetrated all of the yarn and to check the water. Clear water on the spoon meant that all of the dye had been absorbed into the yarn! Time to rinse!
Step 7:
I carefully dumped the yarn into a very CLEAN bath tub to cool. Once sufficiently cooled, I rinsed and re-rinsed with a cool water bath. BE SURE to allow the yarn to cool. It will be very hot. You don't want to burn yourself or felt the fibers.
Step 8:
Gently squeeze out excess water and hang to dry. THE Vickie Howell commented on my yarn!!!!

Step 9:
24 hours later... my yarn was completely dry! Time to wind the yarn ONTO the swift in a larger diameter so that when twisting into a hank, it shows off the colorway. I put the yarn on my Adirondack chair and wound onto my swift. (Like an idiot, I did this at 1p in the hot sun. I was boiling hot and drenched in sweat by the time I was done.)
Step 10:
I added some waste yarn to tie the yarn together (weave in and out of the yarn) so that it didn't get twisted in the hank. I used some waste cotton I had in a natural color so that I could see it easily.Step 11:
I twisted the yarn into a hank. I had a little difficulty as this was the first time I'd ever done that - so it's not as tight and neat as I would've liked - but it does show off the colorway nicely!Step 12:
Finally it was time to name the yarn. Hubby named this colorway Fruit Cocktail.



  1. Well done! It came out beautiful!

  2. That yarn looks just delicious! So nicely coordinates with the background of your website too!

    I have read a little about the kool-aid method of dying, but I have never tried it. Now that I see how easy it is, I might just have to give it a whirl.

    I wonder how the yarn tastes after soaking in all that kool-aid ! ??

    What do you think you'll make with your beautiful yarn?


  3. Wow, I don't even knit and I think it's beautiful . =)

  4. You did a very good job on dying the yarn! It looks really good and those colors are beautiful. Congrats on your first time turning out so well.

  5. Very nice! And, wait- you have SUN?? Really? Wow. So THAT"S where it's been hiding.
    So, no stains in the bathub? No orange colored hands or fingernails? Or countertops?? These are my hang-ups with dyeing. I'd love to try it, especially with the kiddos, but I don't want it to leave a 'lasting impression'...

  6. You did a great job for your first time!

  7. Gorgeous!! Really impressive. You should submit this to Tip Junkie. You Rock!

  8. Beautiful...I love your colors!! I need to get brave and try this myself.

  9. Just glorious! Now I want to try.

  10. FANTASTIC!! I love it! I am so using this method -- I've wanted to do Kool-Aid and I own a crockpot so it sounds perfect! Hubby and I were just talking about this over the weekend, so I appreciate the clear instructions so I can attempt it, too :) You did a great job and the yarn came out beautifully :)

  11. Didn't realize people use Kool Aid to dye yarn...hmmm, does that mean Kool Aid is bad for you? :-)

    Lovely yarn though. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  12. It is beautiful.

    My sister has used Kool Aid for years . . . on a "girls weekend" she embarrassed all of her sibs by freaking out over the variety of colors of Kool Aid the local grocery store had available. LOL!

  13. Looks great! Love the colors!

  14. It's wonderful that your first attempt turned out so beautifully.

    It should knit up gorgeously!

  15. What gorgeous coloring! I just may attempt this myself this summer. Would love to see what you make with this yarn. . .

  16. I know nothing about yarn or dying yarn. I learned something new today! Thank you!

  17. How totally cool! I really learned something about the many used of Kool Aid today. The yarn is gorgeous.

  18. You made this seem so easy!
    I'm not a knitter but my aunt is so I think I'm going to try this and give her colored yarn as a gift.

    Thanks for the buzz of creativity today.


  19. That yarn looks sooo pretty. I don't know, I think I might be coming around to this knitting thing... :)

  20. Great job! I can't wait to see the finished product with such a great color combination.

  21. Great article and really well explained for someone eho hasn't dyed before like me. I must try this sometime. Thanks!

  22. Gorgeous!!!!!!!! I've been trying only solid colours until now; I'll have to try that next time...

  23. Very talented! loved your tutorial! I think I would stuck on the drying part never would be able to bundle it up so neatly!
    Loved it!

  24. Absolutely gorgeous! I love the colorway and the name! This method seems easy enough...I'd love to try it. My only question is: is it colorfast?? Do you know if the color will fade out after washing?

  25. GORGEOUS! I love this...I want to try it!! You did an awesome job -- what project will you be using this for?

  26. Its beautiful yarn! It says Tabby to me.
    Can I ask how many ounces of yarn you dyed?
    I want to try this on some undyed yarn I have, about 3 ounces, and want to make sure I used enough Kool-Aid.

  27. This just looks like soooo much fun. I am going to try it once with my kids.

  28. Oh so fruity! Awesome Karrie! Seeing it on your MomTV show was even more helpful! You're so full of good yarn-y tips!

  29. That's so cool! Thanks for the tip.


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