Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Miss Fugly Yarn, Meet Mr. Kool-Aid

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!

It didn't take very long, before the water was clear and the yarn absorbed all the dye! Err, Kool-aid.

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.
Here is all the yarn I bought at Goodwill.

The yarn in the front right of the picture, was the only one of the three I liked and didn't dye.  I washed it, and what a pain!  It bled really bad.  I added vinegar a couple of times.  Then with the last rinse, I added a huge glug of vinegar.  And it finally stopped bleading color.  But now it smells like pickles. . .

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").

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