With five skeins of undyed recycled merino wool and a bag full of Kool-Aid packets, the temptation to careen headlong into my first Kool-Aid dyeing experiment was too strong to resist.

Let me first say that this went nothing like I expected.

First, I somehow missed the memo that you should use 1 Kool-Aid packet per every 1 oz. of yarn, 3 packets per ounce for darker shades. So when the yarn kept sucking up dye and not doing anything like what I was attempting in terms of color, I started improvising. Let’s add blue. Okay, let’s add more blue. Let’s add more blue again. I used an ungodly amount of Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade and blue food coloring, and you can hardly tell. After running through yellow lemonade, green lemon-lime, and tons of blue, I dipped it in red for a few seconds to tone it down and suddenly pink was the dominate color, with and blue and green accents and a gold undertone.

Once it was dry, this is what I wound up with:

Kool-Aid Dyed Yarn and Seed Stitch Swatch

The colors are a riot of faded jewel tones. I’m calling it “Hot Mess” since it was mostly me having absolutely no clue what I was doing and burning my fingers in the hot water.

I was so excited about it, though, that when it was dry this morning, I quickly wound one into a ball, grabbed my biggest knitting needles, and carted it off to the train where I swatched it up in seed stitch on the commute downtown.

Knitting on the El Train

Knitting! On a train! TRAINKNITTING!

Things I have learned with my first attempt to gye yarn with Kool-Aid:

  1. Use more powder if you ever want to get beyond pastels, 1-3 packets per ounce of yarn. So for 6 ounces of yarn, use between 6 and 18 packets.
  2. Wear insulated rubber gloves. Because even if you don’t mind having Kool-Aid stained fingers, squeezing water out of yarn that has just come out of almost-boiling water is Not Fun. Spring for the kind that’s cotton-lined. They’re totally worth it.
  3. Hey look, here’s a really super handy Kool-Aid color chart from DyeYourYarn.com!

 

Experiment #2 is in progress as I type. This one is going much better since the rubber gloves arrived from Amazon today, I have a better grasp of how much Kool-Aid I need, and I’m keeping detailed notes on how I’m doing this in case I want to duplicate it later. I’m super excited to see how this second batch turns out!

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