super Kool / by jen geigley

So it's Easter weekend, but eggs aren't the only thing we're dyeing at our house. (See where I'm going with this?) Ever since I started knitting, I've been dying (haha) to try something.
Dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid. It's messy. It smells awesome. I instantly had flashbacks to summer days playing in the sandbox and running inside for a drink. And it's not even hard to do. (Oh yeah!)
You start with a skein of pure wool. For a first-timer, wool works best for dyeing; other fibers won't take dye well. I used a nice big skein of Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool in natural, which is 100% virgin wool. One skein has 465 yards, so I had plenty to work with (since I wanted to try lots of colors.)
I started by dividing my skein into ten small hanks. I wound them loosely so the dye would still absorb into the areas where I had twisted.
Then I gently washed the yarn in some mild soap in my kitchen sink.
I lined up all of my small glass microwaveable bowls and dumped a package of Kool-Aid into each one – no need to add sugar. I poured a small amount of lukewarm water to each bowl and stirred until the powder was completely dissolved.
This part made me awfully nostalgic, I have to admit. Kool-Aid smells awesome, and my whole kitchen was filled with the fruity scents! Plus it was just rad to see the bright colors.
This would be a good time to grab some rubber gloves. Or your fingertips will be stained. For days. Like mine.
Next, I dunked each little hank/skein into a bowl of Kool-Aid, and added a little bit more water – enough to cover or almost cover the yarn. This part was quite exciting.
I used Lemonade (and pink lemonade, which I forgot to take a picture of.)
Black cherry.
And strawberry. (The only color I couldn't find was Berry-Blue, and I was totally bummed out about it.)
I put each bowl in the microwave for two minutes to set the dye (with the yarn still in it.) This is where things started to get messy. But I just kept an eye on my counter top and used an non-scratch abrasive cleaner to attack any big stains as soon as I could before moving on.
After all of the bowls had been nuked, I let each one cool for a few minutes. As it sits, the yarn will slowly absorb almost all of the color from the water around it. The water may look white-ish or a little bit cloudy, and some colors seemed to absorb better than others. I tried to get a photo of this but it's kind of hard to see.
After the yarn had cooled and absorbed the Kool-Aid, I gently rinsed it with lukewarm water in the sink. If the yarn is still warm, you need to use warm water to rinse it or you may cause it to felt a bit. I was nervous at first to put the different colors next to each other, but they didn't bleed.
And that's it! I hung each color on a small drying rack to air out and dry, and then I plan to wind them up nicely (and probably join some ends together) to make some multicolored skeins of hand-dyed Kool-Aid yarn.
Of course, we did dye some eggs, too.
The normal, traditional way, with a good old PAAS kit. I'm kind of particular about dyeing eggs. I just like them in plain, solid colors. I don't like to do anything weird to them. (Just ask Bo.) But next year ... we're totally using Kool-Aid to dye the eggs, too.
Oh well. Wishing you a very lovely weekend and Happy Easter!