Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dye Yarn With Easter Egg Dyes

The next time you are dyeing your Easter eggs, consider using the leftovers to dye a skein of yarn. This recipe works with any wool yarn that is made of protein.  The yarns I dyed have been  very permanent and Color fast. I did my first skein in 2006. No fading yet.  I can't say over the long term how much they could fade. Since I have seen no change in 5 years from these original yarns,  I am not too concerned about it.   It is loads of fun, and you will have yarn in those lovely Easter Colors we all love so much.

The first time I tried this it was on a whim. I thought what if I could dye with this? I did and I really got my money's worth out of my Easter Egg dyes.
I ended up having so much fun, I went out after Easter buying up all the sale packets of dye.  I dyed about 5 skeins with it using all the colors, and my microwave. The yarn came out so pretty and I used it in projects for kids. The colors were perfect for them and non toxic all the way. They were light baby colors when they came out. Later, when I went out and bought  more packets, I got stronger colors. I used a bit less water, and in some cases two tabs. 
Here is the way I did it.

After I was done using all those little cups of dye, I added about a 1/4 cup of vinegar to each one.  I used coffee cups by the way.  
I soaked my wool in warm water with a cup or vinegar for about 20 minutes and then took most of  the excess moisture out with a towel. This helps it to accept the dye better.
I draped the yarn into the different cups and arranged it on my microwave plate inside the microwave so I was using all the cups of dye at the same time.
I let it sit for a few minutes to let some of the dye run up into the white part between the cups.
I microwaved it for about 5 minutes.
The yarns above came out differently and I think it was the fiber because the strength was about the same. They were both very pretty when dry.

I took the yarn out, cooled it, and rinsed it gently in warm water with a bit of dish detergent added.

That's it. Nothing to it.
If you have some leftover wool yarn sitting around the house in white or a very light color try this.
You can use the skeins as I did, or you can put individual balls in the dye cups. If you use balls of yarn, they will be white in the middle and get darker as they go out to the edge.  Keep the balls small and wound loosely. 
You will feel so thrifty and have fun seeing the colors come out.
This was a later attempt with little water, and a pale pink yarn. It came out very nice.

Kool Aid Dyed Yarns- Have Some Fun

 Kool Aid Yarn Dying 
It is really cool
If you want to try yarn dyeing, using  Kool Aid is a great way to start. Kool Aid yarn dyeing  is surprisingly permanent, can yield some lovely colors, and is lots of fun. Kool Aid is great for dyeing because the whole process is non toxic, and only use simple household items you most likely already have. Most of us have some Kool Aid around. Just make sure it is the unsweetened kind in the small packets.  It is so much fun. If you have kids, they love doing it.  You just have to try it.

Kool Aid yarn dyeing works best for protein fibers which includes any animal fiber. Kool Aid is naturally acidic so they are perfect for this use.  The colors are surprisingly pretty, and permanent. I made a pair of angora mittens for my daughter when she was younger with cherry Cool Aid. The color was a lovely shade or warm cherry pink.  Even after several snow men, and outdoor play, the mittens are still just as nice and pink as ever. 
Tips To Know Before You Get Started

Make sure your yarn is in a skein. It should be tied in at least 4 places around the skein so it does not tangle in the pot. Keep the ties  loose so the dye can work around them unless you want lighter yarn there.
Move the yarns around carefully in the pot. Don't stir, or swish too much. Use a gentle simmer. The same goes for the rinse. No harsh changes in temperature while rinsing.  No rubbing. Just soaking, and if necessary a gentle swirl or two.  All of this will help your yarns keep from getting hopelessly tangled, and from felting.

If you are dyeing multiple skeins and want them to match, you will have to dye them all at the same time.

What You Will Need For Kool Aid Yarn Dyeing
For this recipe, we will use the stove and pots to dip or simmer the skeins.

Get Ready To Dye
Have Ready
Yarn soaked in 1/2 gallon of  warm water with 1 cup of white vinegar added  for  30 minutes. Make sure it is a protein fiber like wool or any other animal fiber
Large Cooking Pots- one for each color of Kool Aid
Water -  two quarts will cover a skein of sock wool in most cases for immersion dyeing.
White vinegar
Kool Aid- the small unsweetened packets. Use up to two for each skein dyed depending on how strong of a color you want.
A large  Spoon or a wooden dowel- The dowel can be used to loop the skeins over if you are dipping.  Your yarn  can be easily rotated around the dowel in such a way that the section you wish to dye next  hangs down  for the next dip into the pot. It is easier to control and keep the yarns neat with this method, and you can dye more than one skein at a time if you want.
Rubber Gloves
A colander to drain the yarn is helpful after it is dyed.  

Generally, things used for dying are not used again in the kitchen. However, with Kool Aid this is not necessary.  Another reason to Kool Aid Dye.

  Instructions For Mixing Your Colors

One quart of water to one packet of dye. Once you learn the process, you can experiment with more water or more Kool Aid to change the depth of the shade. I generally use at least two quarts per pot so the yarn is covered well. For two quarts of water, you will use two packets of Kool Aid powder.
Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to each quart of water you use.  You can use your soaking water for this to save on the vinegar.
You want to have enough liquid in your pot to cover you fiber if you want a uniform color. For dip dyeing it does not matter.  

Directions For A Uniform Color Yarn
This is called immersion dyeing.  You will end up with a yarn all one color.

Add at least two quarts of water, two packets of Kool Aid, and 1 cup vinegar to your pot(1/2 cup per quart).  If two quarts will not be  enough to cover your skein, or if you are dyeing more than one, multiply the recipe so it covers all your yarn in the pot.  You want  the yarn free to move in the pot, and not crowded so it will dye evenly.
1. heat the water with the Kool Aid and vinegar added to a simmer-make sure it is stirred well and all the Kool Aid is mixed in evenly.
2. add your wet pre-soaked skeins

3.Simmer the fiber at a low temperature for about 30 minutes. Do not boil. If you are not doing any more dyeing, let it cool in the pot. Otherwise, take it out and let it cool to warm. Soak it in warm water about the same temperature as the yarn. Do not agitate the yarn while you are rinsing it.  Rinse until the water runs clear.

Directions For a Multi Colored Yarn
This is my favorite because it really lets you have fun dipping and sloshing you yarn into different colors.

You will need
A Pot for each color with one quart water, one cup white vinegar, and one packet Kool Aid
Yarn that has been soaked in the vinegar and warm water mixture for 30 minutes or more. 
Utensils and gloves to hold the yarn for dipping. I use a stick to drape the yarn over and move it around as I go from pot to pot.

Take your wet, but not dripping yarn and drape it in the pots. If you put a third in you will end up with at least three colors. Leave it in there until it is just a tiny bit darker than the color you want, take it out, and dip another end in another pot.
With this method, you don't need to leave the yarn in for the entire 30 minutes in each pot. I usually try to do at least 7 to 10  minutes to make sure the yarn sets. Since you have pre-soaked the yarn in vinegar before dying, it should be color fast after just a few minutes time.  I also increase the vinegar slightly to make sure it takes the color up really well. I have never had a problem using this method with colorfastness.

Kool Aid yarn dyeing is so much fun. You can dip as much as you want. You can leave some white between colors. You can put one end of the yarn in one pot and the other in a second pot.  You can dye one end yellow and then dip it red and turn it orange.  There is no end to the variety you can come up with.  It is also called space dyeing.