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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Kool Aid, Kool Aid!

While visiting my parents, my Mom and I decided to Kool Aid dye a skein of handspun yarn (100% wool). Our yarn is heavy with lanolin. I wonder how much that will affect the color? Mom was sure she had a bunch of Kool Aid packets in the house, but we couldn't find them. When facing the decision to buy .20 Kool Aid or .10 WalMart brand, I decided an experiment to compare them was in order. I bought six packets of each, Grape flavor.

We divided the skein roughly in half. Each half was put into a glass baking pan, covered with warm water and left to soak for 45 minutes. This was an arbitrary length of time - having the wool saturated is the goal. After the excess water was gently squeezed out, the yarn was dyed using 6 packets of "dye", two glugs of white vinegar and enough water to cover.

After each dish went through a "microwave for 2 minutes, wait, microwave for 2 minutes" cycle, the WalMart brand dye had mostly absorbed into the yarn. The water in the yarn with the Kool Aid dye was still very dark. It was almost 10 pm, so we left the yarn/water to cool overnight.

The next morning, I squeezed out the excess water. I had to rinse the yarn quite a bit, which I hadn't expected. (After doing additional Kool Aid dyeing, I realize I should repeat microwave/cool cycles until the dye is absorbed into the yarn. With the heavy lanolin, that would never have happened.) I hung the skeins of yarn off the side of the deck to dry.

This picture shows the yarn after dyeing with a skein of the original color. The color was much weaker than I expected, which I attributed to the lanolin. There was no noticeable difference in color when I compared the Kool Aid dyed yarn to the WalMart brand dyed yarn (no picture)

When I got home, I scoured the dyed yarn. I redyed one of the skeins using two packets of Grape flavor Kool Aid. (Mom found her Kool Aid stash & sent it home with me.) I did the heat/wait cycle until the water was clear - really a light blue rather than clear. No rinsing was necessary. This picture shows (L-R) original yarn, heavy lanolin content dyed yarn, and scoured, re-dyed yarn.

No grapes were hurt during these dye sessions.


Karen Stiehl Osborn said...

Looks like your scouring was successful!

Cary said...

Wow! The last batch turned out wonderful. Of course the lighter batch isn't too bad if one was interested in pastels. Hmmm...something else to add to the list of things I want to do some day (yarn dying).

By the way, I'm quite interested in the quilted postcards a few posts down. I'm curious how the address side of the postcard is made. And yet another thing to add to my list of things to try. :)