As I have mentioned, I love to take apart sweaters to reclaim ‘lost yarn’. This is a wonderful idea, but what if the only sweaters you can find are really boring colors (or just plain ugly)?
Kool-aid man to the rescue!
Cue Kool-aid man bursting in through the wall, shouting “Oh YEAH!”
Ok, so maybe not the Kool-aid man, but the powdery drink mix itself is wonderful for dyeing wool and other animal fiber yarns! The process is much simpler than I thought it would be, and, though it does take a bit of time, it leaves your house smelling yummy!
I’m going to outline the basic steps of dyeing, but feel free to search around as there are many websites dedicated to kool-aid dyeing. Some even offer color charts so you can combine kool-aid flavors to reach a desired color! Amazing!
So my first attempt is using a basic cream colored sweater with a light striping of grey. I am aiming for a rose color, with the darker stripes naturally picking up a bit darker color.
- Step 1: Unravel sweater (make sure it is mostly animal fiber)
- Step 2: Wind yarn into small hanks, loosely tying 4-6 times around to keep together
- Step 3: Soak yarn in lukewarm water for about half an hour, until completely saturated.
- Step 4: Add Kool-aid* to 1/2 pot of water on the stove. Stir until mixed. Begin heating pot on medium-high heat. Add yarn.
*To achieve a Rose color for my two hanks, I added 2 Grape, 2 Cherry, 1 Tropical Punch, & 1 Pink Lemonade. *Make sure they are sugar-free!
**I also wanted a slight variation in color (not uniform) so I added 1 Tropical Punch to the top and did not stir
Step 5: Let yarn sit in pot until hot (not boiling) and it has soaked up all the color. Stir gently – do not aggravate yarn or it can felt. The remaining liquid in the pot will now be clear (as in the picture below)
Step 6: Let cool in pot until lukewarm, then rinse gently with similar temperature water until yarn rinses clear - there should be very little (if any) color rinsing out.
Step 7: Wash with gentle soap if desired (there will be a light fruity smell to the yarn otherwise). Gently squeeze the yarn out (no twisting) and roll in a towel to remove any excess water
Step 8: Hang to dry, it takes 1-2 days to dry completely. Roll into balls.
Step 9: Admire your handy work & enjoy your newly-dyed yarn!
* See the pretty bit of color variation in the yarn when it’s worked up? Not exactly the color I was trying for, but I love it! The one below is striped with the original yarn!
Now go buy yourself some Kool-aid and dye up that ugly yarn you have had sitting around forever!
Have fun! –> And I’d love to see what you come up with!