I was super excited when I saw that May’s Knitcrate was a Blank Canvas theme and included 2 skeins of undyed yarns and 2 packets of Kool-Aid. I’ve dabbled with food gel colours to dye yarns for a few years now but I’ve never tried Kool-Aid, mainly because it’s not readily available here in the UK.
I chose to receive the Chill Out crate which came with 2 skeins of 75/25 Merino Nylon fingering weight yarn, 1 packet of Cherry Kool-Aid and 1 packet of Grape Kool-Aid. Rebecca from ChemKnits Creations has put together a series of YouTube videos to help dye the yarns included. The crate also came with two zip ties – perfect for holding on to the yarn when putting it into the pot of very hot water!
I decided to try the dip dye method for my first skein of yarn using a big pan and the cooker hob. As there were two blank skeins in the crate, I decided to try and get a softer shade of the grape and cherry by only using half a packet of each.
The bonus of using Kool-Aid is that it already includes citric acid, so you don’t have to pre-soak the yarn in a water/vinegar bath first, just plain water (my husband and kids always comment about the vinegar smell when I’m dying yarn 😅).
While my yarn soaked, I filled a large pot up with 8 cups of water and started to heat it up. I added half a pack of grape Kool-Aid first and waited for it to start boiling. Unlike acid dyes, you can reuse the equipment used for dying your yarns in your everyday cooking, it also makes it a brilliant activity to do with kids!
Once my dye bath was boiling, I gently pressed out any excess moisture from my yarn (be careful not to wring it out too much though, you don’t want to ruin your yarn!) and started to dip it into the water. Almost straight away, the yarn started to absorb the dye. I dipped about 2/3 of the yarn so it was a gradient purple, making sure to swirl it to get all the strands of yarn dyed. Occasionally, I used a spoon to separate some got the strands.
Once all the dye had a been absorbed and the water was clear, I placed it to one side to cool slightly and prepared a mix of half cherry Kool-Aid to the dye bath and moved the zip tie to the purple end.
I repeated this with the cherry dye bath, going over some of the purple so the colours blended nicely. The cherry Kool-Aid absorbed more quickly than the grape and the colour is beautiful!
For my second skein, I mixed the remaining cherry Kool-Aid into the dye bath and fully submerged my second skein so that it was fully pink. I gave the yarn a swirl with a spoon again to that all the fibre came in contact with the dye, the results were a more semi-solid colour than you would get with acrylic yarns.
I decided to attempt a speckled effect on this skein while it was in the dye bath and sprinkled some of the grape Kool-Aid over it. I won’t lie, it didn’t have the desired effect, but it’s all trial and error! By adding sprinkles of grape, there are little strikes of purples here and there, but the majority of the yarn has turned a rather beautiful dusky pink shade – definitely a happy accident!
As soon as all the dye had been absorbed, I set the yarn aside to let it cool completely. This is important that you let the yarn completely cool before rinsing, if you don’t the yarn will felt.
I have the yarn a good rinse with cool water and then added some washing up liquid. As we’ve used Kool-Aid, the yarn had a lovely cherry/grape fragrance to it! Another rinse to remove the last of the soap and a very gentle squeeze to remove the majority of the moisture, the yarn was ready to dry. I hung it on an airer in the bathroom and it took a good 24 hours to fully dry. Once dry, you can then wind it up or re-skein it, which is what I did as there seemed to be an awful lot of loose strands of yarn on one end!
Overall, I’m super pleased with the results and it’s reignited the bug for dying yarns! Now I’ve just got to find a project to use these beautiful yarns.