Last year around this time, I bought a bag of wool yarn at Goodwill for $2.50. It was quarantined to the green house where I figured the temperature extremes would kill any wool moths. Of course I forgot about it and found it when we cleaned the greenhouse out in spring.
At it has been sitting in a corner with a pile of my junk since then. There are 4 different colors of yarn and 3 of them are/were ugly with a capital "UGH". Here are two of them - a much too bright obnoxious red and a nasty, nasty green.
Bet you are wondering why are their Kool-Aid packets in this picture. In the world of ugly wool yarn, Kool-Aid makes everything better!
Kool-Aid will dye protein fibers such as wool, alpaca, etc. These animal based fibers need an acid type dye and Kool-aid has ascorbic and citric acids. Note, this won't work with cotton or acrylic.
First I washed and rinsed the yarn. I washed it mainly because it was a thrift store buy. If it had been new yarn, I would have just soaked it in tepid water.
I added water and a package of black cherry Kool-Aid to my pan here. I also added a glug of vinegar just to make sure. Then I added the fugly green yarn and turned on the heat!
I didn't let the water boil and I did not stir the yarn. I also waited till the yarn was cool enough to handle and before rinsed it in warm water. I was pleased that I didn't end up with a felted mess.
Here are the green yarn and red yarn after being overdyed with the Kool-aid. The green was over-dyed with black cherry and the red was over-dyed with grape.
The yarn on the left started out as an ugly beige. I added two packages of lemonade, two of black cherry and one of grape. Took it out, decided it needed more. I over-dyed it with two more packages of black cherry.
Oh yeah, this was way too much fun! And so easy! I bought some food coloring today to try out as well. I have some Lion brand fisherman's wool and some Knitpicks blank yarn I want to dye.
I have been wanting to try this for a long time. There was an article in Knitty about Kool-aid dyeing a few years ago. Ever since I saw that article, I've been wanting to try it. There are also several YouTube videos on dyeing yarn with Kool-aid and food coloring. (Oh boy, YouTube is a dangerous place, can you say "spinning wheel").