Inspired by a friend who overdyed a skein of her yarn in a crockpot using Kool-Aid (she didn’t like the original color), I decided that would be a fun project to try with my son Jett.
Jett kept asking for a scarf. Well, actually he kept attempting to wear a really long, frilly red scarf of mine – clearly too big and too feminine for a 5 year old. I asked him if I could knit him a scarf and he responded with an enthusiastic “YES!”
I had two skeins of this yarn I had bought online and didn’t have any specific project in mind for it:
This is Pastaza yarn by Cascade, a 50/50 blend of wool and llama. I thought it would be a great base for dyeing. Evidently, Kool-Aid (and other acid dyes) works only on animal/protein fibers (including human hair).
I read several online tutorials and watched several YouTube videos on Kool-Aid dyeing and in the end used an assortment of advice from different sources, all of which I’m too lazy to document here.
I gave Jett the job of choosing the colors/flavors of Kool-Aid to use on his scarf. He desperately wanted to use mango (orange), and then also picked blue and green for the other colors. The blue Kool-Aid we had on hand was Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade. That was mixed with Lemonade to create the green color. I added a small amount of Tropical Punch (red) to each color to deepen the hue a bit.
I used wide-mouthed canning jars to mix the colors in:
In the meanwhile, I had wound my yarn into a longer skein by wrapping it around two chair backs spaced a good distance apart. I tied the skein in several places to secure it together and then let it soak in water with a little wool wash for 30 minutes or so.
Next, I placed the jars of dye into a larger pot on the stovetop. I then submerged the yarn into each of the three jars. Since I personally don’t LOVE the color orange, I tried to make blue the dominant color and therefore stuffed more yarn into the blue dye.
I manually moved the non-submerged yarn back and forth between the jars to make sure that every part of the yarn was dyed. I turned the burner on high and then turned it back down so the temp would be just shy of boiling. The water level of the larger pot only came up half-way on the jars just so the water wouldn’t interfere with the dye baths.
After heating on the stovetop for several minutes (maybe 30?), I noticed the color was removed from the dye bath and had fully absorbed into the yarn.
I turned the burner off and waited an hour or so for everything to cool down before rinsing the yarn in the sink. I was a little surprised that none of the dye rinsed out or bled.
I gently squeezed the excess water from the yarn and left it to dry overnight.
And then I wound it into a center-pull ball (I bought myself a ball winder with Christmas money).
And then I faced a dilemma: what was I going to knit? I didn’t have a lot of yardage (132) and didn’t know how I could knit a scarf with that – even a kid scarf. My solution was to knit him a neck warmer, but Josh pleaded with me not to. So I used the un-dyed skein of the same yarn and alternated it with the Kool-Aid dye job and came up with this:
It’s basically the same pattern as I’ve made for what seems like the 5th time (Noro Striped Scarf). I didn’t make it very wide, though, since it was for a little person.
I was happy to have it done and presented it to my lovely, lovely son.
He tried it on for about 2 seconds and threw it down on the floor and said it was too itchy and walked away.
And ya know what? It is kind of itchy! I’m sure it’s itchy X 10 when you are 5 years old. So I really don’t know what I’m going to do with it now.
That’s the end of this tale, but my Adventures in Dyeing would have at least one more chapter. Stay tuned… =)