Weave Experiments

Weaving Experiment || Dyeing Yarn (part 2)

How to Kool-aid Dye Yarn (Part 2)Last week I shared how I dip dyed yarn and mentioned that I might add a second layer of dye. As you may have guessed, I did add a second layer and I did it in a slightly different way, so I wanted to share what I did with those of you who might be interested.

When I dip dyed last week, the colors came out to a nice yellow, orange, red. But I really wanted my yarn to be more tonal, so I decided to dye the yarn a second time with just red. I again used Cherry Kool-aid, water, and vinegar. Since I was dyeing all my yarn just one color, I decided to try the steps a bit differently. I did this while my yarn was still damp from the first round of dyeing, if your yarn is dry, it would be a good idea to soak it in your water and vinegar mixture for 30 minutes before dyeing it a second time.

step1 | I poured the Cherry Kool-aid powder into my baking dish.

step 2| I combined 4 cups of water and ¼ cup of vinegar in a pot and brought it to just boiling.

step 3| pour the hot water/vinegar over the powder in the baking dish and stir with a spoon until all the powder is dissolved.

step 4| place your yarn into the baking dish, pushing it down gently, but make sure not to agitate it as you don’t want it to felt together.

How to Kool-aid Dye Yarn (Part 2)step 5| let the yarn sit in the dye bath until the liquid reaches room temperature, then remove it and rinse under cold water.

step 6| As I explained in part one, since wool takes so long to dry, I like to place my yarn on an old towel (one that I don’t mind if it gets dye on it). I then slowly roll the towel over the wool and then press down on the rolled towel. This helps get excess water out of the wool without causing too much friction. Then hang your wool to dry.

This dyeing technique worked so well, I don’t have many pictures of the process because I had stepped away after placing the yarn in the dye bath for a bit and came back to all the dye being already absorbed before I could take a picture. I didn’t realize it would absorb it that quickly. With part one, it took longer for the yarn to absorb the dye, so I like this technique and think I’ll play around with it a bit more.

How to Kool-aid Dye Yarn (Part 2)As you can see the colors came out more red, and where I had yellow before, I now have more of a peachy orange. The second layer definitely made the yarn more red tonal, so I’m glad I tried it.

How to Kool-aid Dye Yarn (Part 2)If you tried dyeing yarn like this also, let me know in the comments below. Or if you’ve dyed yarn before, but in a different way, I’d love to hear about it. Did the process work for you? Did you run into any problems? Did you get the colors you were hoping for?

Happy Weaving!


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  • Caroline
    November 25, 2016 at 8:31 am

    hi, and Happy Thanksgiving from Downunder. Kool-aid is a bit expensive here so my spinning group specialises in various different techniques using food dyes with some amazing results. Its probably the same basic dye as in Kool-aid, but we can get it in 500 ml bottles, which does a lot of dyeing. I use a microwave, being an impatient type, and dump a squirt of dishwashing liquid, like Dawn, into an ice-cream container, a good slurp of vinegar (the more you use the faster the take-up of dye) and a couple of cups of cold water, plus a glob of dye 9 very scientific terms but I don’t measure) and mix it together. I then squeeze in as much fibre or yarn as will fit in the container adding a bit of water if necessary to make sure everything is wet, but not floating in water, cover with plastic cling-wrap (saran?) and zap it for 5 minutes on medium high. Take it out and poke it a bit to check that everything has taken up the dye and if necessary turn it a bit, like in cooking, and zap it again for 5 minutes, by which time the remaining water should be running clear. If you are the patient type, you let it cool before rinsing it through with a little more Dawn to balance the PH after using vinegar. I’m impatient so I risk burning fingers and start rinsing under hot water immediately until the water runs clear.
    If after the first zap you have a mottled yarn and white bits, make up another mix using hot water this time, pour it over carefully and zap again – as you can see its very scientific! Members of my spinning group use black garbage bags on concrete filled with raw fleece, some soapy water with a cup of vinegar added, and about 50 mls of dye, seal the bag and squish it around, and leave it in the sun for 2 weeks. The results are stunning. I have left yarn in a bucket of cold water overnight in the summer if I have a large amount to dye, and use a turkey baster to shoot different colours of dye into the yarn at different levels, and you can cram-jar dye as well with a minimum of water dyeing several different colours in layers. You can do all this with Kool-aid, Easter egg dye, Educational colours for colouring play dough, and Wiltons cake dyes too. The stains on your fingers do wash off, and its fun involving the kids. Pets tend to avoid the buckets or jars of dye because of the vinegar, so you can involve the family. Its also a great way of getting the colours you want, and experimenting with different techniques. If it can be done with the serious chemicals, it can be done with food dye, and don’t ever let anyone tell you its not colourfast! I am still scrubbing out my bathroom after a whoopsy with green dye six years ago!
    Have fun!

    • Kate
      November 29, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Hi Caroline!
      You’re right I’m pretty sure food dyes are the same as Kool-aid. I didn’t know that Dawn would help balance the PH, thanks for sharing that. Also that sun dyeing sounds really interesting. I’ve never tried it, and right now all the sun is on your side 😉 But maybe in my summer I’ll give it a try, it sounds really interesting. All the best!

  • Mandy Joyce
    November 26, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks for all the brilliant ideas,as a beginner this is all enthralling information. More please! M. X

    • Kate
      November 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      I’m so happy you’re finding it helpful 🙂

  • Sofia Gaal
    February 1, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Hi Kate, I’m so happy I found your blog! I do a lot of info-exploring here.
    I was given a lot of woolen yarn in colours I don’t fancy. Do you know if it is also possible to discolour wool? Or bleach it so I can give it a go with food dyes?
    I would love to hear from you? Greetings from Holland

    • Kate
      February 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      Hi! I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying my blog! Yikes, I do not know anything about un-dyeing yarn. I know bleach can be harsh, but maybe watered down a lot it might work? Have you tried googling it? I wish I could have been more helpful.