Monday, July 9, 2012

Craft Project: Kool-aid Dyed Yarn, Part 1--Variegated

I saw several projects around the internet for dyeing yarn with kool-aid. I thought this would be a super fun project to do with the girls. They have been into making friendship bracelets lately. And I found several other projects we could do with our dyed yarn.

I went to JoAnn's and found 100% wool cream-colored yarn. It took some looking. I didn't want to spend too much money buying the yarn from a yarn shop. I was also a little disappointed that I couldn't find bright white wool yarn. It all seemed to be cream-colored. I could have ordered white yarn online but I didn't want to wait to do the project so I settled for the cream. It worked out well that we had a couple rainy days in a row. And my daughters were each busy on different days so I could do it one on one with them. It's always a treat to get to do something with each of them on their own.

Supplies you'll need:
--100% wool yarn (or some other animal based yarn. You cannot use Acrylic or cotton, it will not hold the dye)
--Three packs of koolaid per 2 cups of water.
--gloves to protect hands (optional)
--microwavable dish (a casserole dish or a mason jar)
--saran wrap
--squirt bottle to apply koolaid mix (or a spoon and bowl)
--something to protect your table/counter from getting stained with kool-aid

First step, create a skein of yarn by unwinding the ball of yarn and rewinding it around the back of a chair or using an umbrella swift. Or if you have a patient husband or kids, you could have them stand with their arms out to wrap the skein. Once you have your skein, soak the yarn in warm water.
There's actually three skeins soaking in this tub. After it has soaked about 30 minutes, squeeze the excess water out. This can easily be done with your hands and then rolling the skein in a towel to get the rest of the water out.
I mixed up three squirt bottles with grape, berry blue and lemon-lime koolaid. I used two packets of koolaid to one cup of warm water. I put saran wrap in the bottom of a casserole dish and placed the skein in it.
Ella alternated her colors squeezing the koolaid on. You really do have to put quite a bit on to make sure the interior yarn gets dyed as well. I also sort of pressed the koolaid into the yarn with my fingers so that the koolaid that had seeped through would soak into the bottom yarn.
Finished squirting the yarn with koolaid!
Wrap up the yarn in the saran wrap and put it in the microwave.
Microwave on high for three minutes, let it sit for three minutes and repeat this process 3-5 times. You can tell the dye has taken when all the liquid in the dish is clear (or slightly cloudy). The color will all be soaked into the yarn.
Once cooled off, rinse the yarn off to remove any excess dye that might be there. I didn't really have any dye come off when I rinsed it.
Remove excess liquid in a towel and hang the skein to dry. Because it was rainy, I hung the skein in the shower. But it took forever to dry. The next day it was much nicer and I let the yarn dry on the deck. That worked much faster.
My younger daughter wanted pink and purple. So we used pink lemonade for a very light pink, grape for purple and a mixture of pink lemonade and strawberry for a darker pink and a mixture of strawberry and black cherry for a redish color. We used the same process as above.
Sidenote: I used cotton yarn to tie the skein together. You can see in the photos how the cotton yarn did not take the dye.
 Drying on the deck.

And our finished skeins! Aren't they beautiful!!
This was such a fun project and it was really easy overall. Kind of piddly and multiple steps involved. But none of the steps are difficult. The girls really enjoyed this as well.

We also used mason jars to dye whole skeins of yarn one color:
(Inspired from this blog post at Knit One, Blog Two)

Here are links to several other blog posts on dyeing with koolaid:
Dyeing Playsilks (Includes a FANTASTIC guide for what koolaid colors to use to get certain colors)

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