Way back when, in 2011, I had just become a stay at home mom and I needed to find some ways to pass the time. I opted to hone my fiber arts craft and spent the days knitting and crocheting.
One day, my mother mentioned to me that I should try dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid. And I did! I was a long process. I didn’t know about putting yarn into hanks yet, so I ended up with a ton of yarn barf.
Of course, over the years I taught myself a few different dyeing techniques and learned ways to make dyeing easier for myself. Recently, I was looking for something to do with my 8-year-old and 3-year-old sons toward the end of the summer break and I decided to go back to basics.
Since speckle dyeing is the trend right now, I wanted to teach the boys that technique, but without using the professional powdered yarn dyes I use. I thought, let’s dye yarn with Kool Aid!
Even better, why not make something for them that they could show off out of that yarn that they made. The idea was instantly a hit with the kids; they always love watching mom dye yarn, looking like a mad scientist in the process.
Here we go!
What You’ll Need:
- White vinegar
- A Liquid Measuring Cup
- One hank of an animal based fiber yarn (we used my OMG Liberty yarn base; a worsted weight 100% Superwash Merino Wool) – cotton and acrylic yarn will not work for this technique
- One Large Pot (at least 4 QT)
- Kool Aid packets of any flavor without sugar added
- Ice Cube Trays, at least 2
- Dish Soap
- Laundry Rack or Hanger
Prep Work – Make Kool Aid Ice Cubes
- Using hot water, mix approximately 6 ounces (3/4 cup) of water with one Kool Aid packet until the powder is completely dissolved. Use as many different colors as you like, but remember that the colors may mix, so remember your art classes from school. Purples and greens together will end up brown or other weird colors.
- Pour mixture into ice cube tray. If you are using multiple colors, use multiple trays. My mixtures of each color created about 6 to 8 ice cubes.
- Place trays in freezer and let freeze.
Prep work – Soak Yarn
- Fill sink with luke warm water and add 1 cup of white vinegar.
- Place desired amount of yarn in water and soak it for 20 minutes.
On to Dyeing Your Yarn
- Place presoaked yarn in a large pot. It does not have to be in there in any specific way, but make sure the entire bottom of the pot is covered and your yarn lays flat.
- Add about one cup of warm water evenly to the yarn in the pot. This is so that the yarn does not burn when heated on the stove. Make sure that there is not too much water in there. The yarn shouldn’t float and there should not be enough water for the colors to distribute through the water.
- Place ice cubes randomly on the surface of your yarn.
- Put pot on stove and heat yarn on medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Make sure that the yarn does not burn. If your water boils off, add more to the pot.
- Remove pot from heat. Your yarn is hot and so is your pot. Use oven mitts to carry the pot and dump yarn in the sink.
- Let yarn cool for 10 minutes in sink.
- Wash yarn with a little bit of dish soap and cold water until the water runs clear from the yarn.
- Hang yarn to dry.
That’s it! You have a skein of yarn dyed and ready to craft with.
Want to learn how to make the kids’ cute cabled hat that I made with their yarn?
Kool Aid Hat Preview
You will need the following knitting skills to complete this project:
- Knitting in the Round
- Purl two together
- Knit two together
The gauge is approximately 5 stitches per inch in the cable pattern.
The pattern is written for use with OMG Liberty (my worsted weight yarn) or Lion Brand Wool Ease (worsted weight). Sizes range from baby (about 12 months) to adult.
Tip: I’ve made several of these hats to test the pattern. If you find yourself playing yarn chicken with OMG Liberty in the adult size, use the smaller cast on for stitches, but follow the rest of the pattern as is, it’ll fit adult size too.
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