Dying Fiber
how to dye fiber with kool-aid and your stove
 

I started with the malabrigo yarn. Gorgeous. Soft. I could have used it just as is. I didn't do any math, but I wanted self-striping yarn. So I just made Vinh hold his arms out and wound the skein like that to get the longest possible distance. This was the only good way I had for winding it. 

Before Vinh came home you should have seen me wandering around the apartment with a skein of yarn dangling from my arm while I tested different objects for their "yarn hanging" abilities. Sadly, I found none.

 

Dying Yarn - Step One

 

The yarn was soaked in vinegar and lukewarm water. Many sources recommended not using vinegar since the kool-aid was acidic enough, but some others recommended doing it anyway to make the colors bolder. I wanted to do the microwave method. It seemed easiest and I did have two squirt bottles for handpainting. However, we did not have a microwave safe dish big enough for the yarn. Trust me, I tried to find one. I live in an apartment with three guys. They do not cook casseroles. However, they do cook lots of soups. So I got out three pots and mixed the kool-aid dye.

 

Dying Yarn - Step Two

 

 The pots are ready to go (I have this weird quirk that everytime I want to type "pots" I type "posts" instead. So sorry if you see that word up somewhere). I wanted a dark red, vibrant green, and I was indecisive about the purple. A light purple, a dark purple, there were problems with each. I think in the end I should have left it out entirely. 

I ended up using 4 packets of Cherry, 2 1/2 of Lemon-Lime, and 3 of Grape. Kool-aid is very potent dye. I have heard of people dying their hair before with it. I covered the kitchen table with two trash bags to prevent spillage since the instructions said that kool-aid can dye wood, plastics, and your hands. But then I ended up mixing on the kitchen counter and had to use bleach and some elbow grease to get the cup rings off. 

Dying Fiber - Colors

 

 The yarn is in the pots. I left some white undyed yarn to act as a neutral color and to prevent bleeding. Many of the kool-aid dyed yarns I have seen on the internet look icky and very similiar to a mudpuddle or a child's crayon drawing.

 

Dying Yarn - Step ThreeDying Fiber

 

 Yarn is in the dye. I let it sit at a temp just below boiling to prevent agitation (and possibel felting).

 

Dying Yarn - Step FourDying Yarn - Step Four

 

The Yarn has now exhausted the dye and soaked it all up.

 

Dying Yarn - Step Five 
 
Almost there!
 
  Dying Fiber - Grap 
 
Nothing left!
 
Dying Yarn - Exhausted 
 
This is the pots after the yarn is taken out. Yes, there is still water in them, but all the dye is exhausted which is a very good dye session!
 

Colors are good. But the combination of a dark red and bright green might be too christmassy...and I probably should have substituted a blue for the grape.

 

Dying Fiber - Step Six

 

the yarn was dry today. It was a bit felted in parts, but only to the point where you had to tease the strands loose from each other. It was probably the problems with temperature I had or the handwashing.

Dying Fiber - EndDying Fiber - End

 

 All wound up:

Dying Fiber - Wound UpDying Fiber - Wound Up

 

The Swatch:

Swatch Mosaic