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Old 02-15-2005, 09:06 AM   #1
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Koolaid Dying Experience
Thanks, Amy, for the really helpful sites on how to dye with Koolaid. There are a few different methods out there. Some say to wrap in plastic, some say to use vinegar or dish soap, some say NOT to use vinegar.

They recommended 1 packet of Koolaid per oz of wool. I bought 3 of the 3.5 oz skeins of "blank" wook from Knit Picks for $2.99 ea. I wanted all 3 to be the same color, and I didn't want varigation - I wanted solid color. I was trying to go for a blue-green so I bought berry blue and green apple Koolaid.

I mixed 3 different bowls, one with just berry blue, one with green apple, and one with both to see what the actual color differences were. I dipped a piece of the yarn in the mixed colors bowl. It was too green for what I wanted so I made the final bath with about 3 - 4 more berry blues than the apple green.

I plunged, cooked, rested, cooked, rested, and cooked again. The skeins picked up all they dye water in the bath so I know it was as concentrated as it could be with none left over.

The color I got was a bright neon "wintergreen" kind of color. Egh. Wouldn't look good on me. It might make a nice summer color, but I am not about to wear a wool sweater in the summer when temps around here stay in the 90s.

So I went to the supermarket and bought 6 more blue Koolaids and some food coloring. And I re-dyed the yarn!

Even before I cooked it, the yarn absorbed all the dye, every drop. The water was just about clear.

The color came out turquiose. Not the blue-green I wanted but I got tired of trying (for now).

What I learned: 1 packet of Koolaid per oz is not enough unless you want a really pale color. The color in your bath will be the color your wool comes out if you use white or cream color wool. It doesn't matter if you wrap it in plastic or not (I did the second time, same results). If you work the wool too much (too much squeezing when you're soaking) it will get fuzzy. I think this means it will start to felt. Also, next time I do it, I will add fabric softener to the final rinse. The wool feels course and I am not going to want to wear it directly next to my skin.

I would like to try to dye one skein different colors (like red-orange-yellow, or different depths of one color) at some point.

But I spent about $4 in koolaid an another $2 on food coloring, bringing my price to $4.99 skein. Now we're not talking really cheap anymore.

I'd like to find cheaper wool to experiment with, or silk or cotton. Does anyone know where, except Knit Picks?

What I always say - knit and learn. I have to get ready for work.


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Old 02-15-2005, 09:21 AM   #2
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nice review -- I'm tempted to try it -- but will probably wait til I have a lot of experiment time. But its great to know about your experience. So thanks for writing about it!
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Old 02-15-2005, 12:16 PM   #3
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It actually did not take much time, if you leave out "shopping time" for materials. You soak the blank wool in hot tap water for 20 minutes, and while it's soaking, you mix up your dye bath(s). They say not to use aluminum. I have a st steel double sink, and since I wanted everything to be one solid color, I used one sink to soak, one sink for the dye bath.

It takes about 5 minutes to squeeze out the rinse water and plunge/squeeze/disperse the dye into the yarn. You have to check around, especially if your yarn is in tied hanks, to make sure you got every spot. And if you want several hanks the same color, you have to make a lot of dye bath because you have to do them all at once. If you do one at a time, the first hank will pick up dye, leaving less dye for the next hanks, so they would be paler.

Also, be careful not to tangle them too much! I was not careful.

Then you *nuke for 2-5 minutes (depending on how much yarn you're doing. I had a lot, so I nuked for 5 minutes on high), let the yarn cool down* (about 15 minutes, during which you can do other thinks), repeat from * 2 or 3 times (get it- knitting symbols ) until your dye water with the yarn is clear (or as clear as you sense it is going to get).

Lastly, let it do a final cool (another 15 or so minutes, and this should be done slowly; don't stick it in the freezer), and plunge in bath water about the same temp as the wool (so as not to "shock" it, and rinse until the rinse water is clean. This is where I think I overdid it, and the wool started getting fuzzy. Also, this is where I should have added fabric softener.

Then you squeeze out and towel-squeeze the excess water (3 minutes) and hang to dry (one minute to hang, 24 hours to dry).

Let's see -- that comes out to almost 1 3/4 hours. Mmmm. Maybe it does take a long time. :?


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Old 02-16-2005, 06:55 AM   #4
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Have you checked out the generic koolaid, like Flavoraid? I've seen it for 20 packets for a dollar. If you got really serious about dying your own, maybe you could go to a Sam's club or Costco or something similar.
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Old 02-16-2005, 10:55 AM   #5
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The supermarket I went to did not have Flavorade (or their own supermaket-brand drink flavoring, which surprised me b/c they have everything else!). I have access to Costco so I can look in to that. Or try another grocery store. Sometimes some of the closeout stores have Koolaid too.

Have any of you dyers out there ordered yarn on cones to dye? I thought that cone yarn might have some types of oils on them that would make them not good for dying. Does anyone know?

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Old 02-20-2005, 11:14 PM   #6
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Carie, nice write-up, thanks!

I've been curious about KoolAid dying, but haven't tried it yet. I have a whole bunch of white raw wool that I got very cheap for spinning, and I'd like to dye it. I definitely want to use earth-friendly dyes. I don't know what those dyes are made of, but at least you know they're not poisonous if they're consumable! I'm not a big fan of pastels, so I'm a bit warry of the KoolAid approach. But I guess it's just a matter of using enough of it, huh? Hmmm, I'm a Costco member, I'll have to check for bulk KoolAid/FlavorAid next time.

Speaking of Costco, I just love them! I just got a new pair of eye glasses at their optical shop, and I saved about $200 compared to the last two times I got glasses. And last week we saved over $400 on a couch we were planning on buying from, because it was the only couch we could find that was the size we need. had it for $700, and Costco just happened to have it (Woohoo!), for only $289. Same couch! I love that place!!

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Old 02-20-2005, 11:35 PM   #7
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mmm....Costco. lifetime guarantee on everything, just bring it back whenever. (great place to buy electronics)

I actually popped on this thread to say thank you. I was considering kool aid dying for my shawl, but after reading this I decided to save it for a much less important project, like sock sor something.


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Old 02-21-2005, 12:27 AM   #8
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I don't know what sites you have looked at but i found this one.

Hope this is helpful. The site was fun to read.

Once you get to the site click on Crafts then Dyeing. Good Luck!
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Old 02-21-2005, 04:29 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by YarnMommy
mmm....Costco. lifetime guarantee on everything, just bring it back whenever. (great place to buy electronics)
Be careful if you expect to get this guarantee on a computer. I think they limit it to 6 months for computers because so many people were trying to use the guarantee as a way to upgrade!
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