Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Easy Way to Dye Wool Yarn

It is surprisingly easy to dye wool yarn using only vinegar and kool-aid. The photo above is my 'before' picture of Lion Brand 100% wool yarn that I bought at the local Hobby Lobby. Here is what you need: a crockpot, a bowl, a salad spinner (not absolutely necessary, but comes in handy), white vinegar, and several packets of kool-aid in the color you want to use. And the process is:

  1. Fill your bowl with enough water to cover your loosely wound skein of yarn.

  2. Add 3/4 cup vinegar to the water, then add the yarn.

  3. Let sit for 1 hour.

  4. Fill your crockpot with enough water to cover your yarn.

  5. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the crockpot.

  6. Add the kool-aid packets to the crockpot (the more packets the darker the color) and stir well.

  7. Move the yarn from the bowl into the crockpot.

  8. Turn the crockpot on high, cover and wait until the crockpot water runs clear. (The yarn will eventually soak up all the dye from the kool-aid.) This may take a few hours.

  9. Turn off the crockpot, uncover and let the water come to room temperature.

  10. Rinse the yarn a few times with water.

  11. If you have a salad spinner, spin the yarn a few times to get out excess water. Otherwise gently wring out the water and then wrap tightly in a bath towel to help dry it out.

  12. Drap the yarn on a clothes hanger and hang it somewhere to air dry.

Voila! The picture below shows how some of the colors turned out. The kool-aid flavors used were lemonade, orange, grape, pink lemonade, lime, and berry blue.


Eileen said...

Very clear instructions - thanks!

Question: does the volume of yarn in the 'vat' determine the intensity of the color in the final product?

Now you'll have to post the instructions for the 'painted' version!

timary said...

Excellent question! :)

Yes - the more yarn in the 'vat', the less kool-aid to go around, so to speak. One thing that doesn't matter, though, is how much water is in the vat. The yarn is going to soak up all the dye no matter the quantity of water. The 'painted version' will be my next post. (you're so good...)

Kandi1991 said...

I also have a question. Does it have to strictly be done on wool yarn or can it be done on yarn that you make baby blankets with or acrylic yarn?

timary said...

Hi Kandi1991 - it's needs to be at least 80% (100% is best) wool. Kool aid will only dye natural materials, not synthetics like acrylic.