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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Gently squeeze out excess water and hang to dry. THE Vickie Howell commented on my yarn!!!!
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.)
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.