Black Diamond Kits

Black Diamond Kits
Sage's Kits, Nine Weeks Old

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dyeing with Kool-Aid

You wouldn't know it by reading this blog, but our rabbits do actually have a purpose beyond companionship and show. Of course, we have mentioned, often, something or other about plucking the rabbits. We have done little posts on spinning. Unfortunately, I, The Blog Administrator (also known to the girls and rabbits as banker, chauffeur, and all-around gopher), have never written any posts about dyeing or knitting with angora. Today, I will begin making amends for this gross negligence.

So quite some time ago I spun a two-ply yarn—one ply of alpaca and one ply of angora. I had planned to knit a white angora/alpaca sweater with a multi-colored band of a Fair Isle pattern and stripes. It's a really attractive casual sweater. Unfortunately, I did not have enough of the white yarn to complete the project, and it will be a while before any of our REWs are ready to be plucked again. Ugh. So I decided to substitute black for the white. It would still be really pretty. I made plenty of black yarn. All that remained was to dye a multi-colored skein for the contrast.

I had read about using Kool-Aid to dye and had seen pictures of the results online. Kool-Aid would make the vibrant colors I desired, without me having to spend a lot of money buying dyes in colors that I probably wouldn't use a lot. I followed the directions on the website listed below.

In case you are wondering about the process without clicking over to it right now, I'll sum it up for you: dissolve the Kool-Aid in a cup or so of water. Put it in the microwave for a few minutes (time depends on the size of the project and the color you are striving for). Rinse. Dry. Done. It is super simple. And it is by far the best smelling yarn.

I have only dyed this one little skein of yarn using Kool-Aid, so I don't have a lot of experience to relate. But this much I can tell:  Sarah at was absolutely right about lemonade Kool-Aid. It's too pale. I added some liquid paste baker's food coloring to deepen the color. And the kiwi-strawberry color needed a second packet to produce a deeper color. 

To make this particular skein, I used Lemon-Lime (green), Lemonade (and yellow food coloring), Orange, and Kiwi-Strawberry.  I dissolved each packet in about a cup of water in a cereal bowl.  I then arranged the four bowls of dye in a circle in the microwave.  I microwaved for two minutes, let cool for ten minutes, and repeated the cycle two more times (so a total of three nuking sessions--36 minutes in all).  Then I rinsed and hung it on the clothes line to dry.

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