My handspinner’s guild (Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild) comes up with a fiber challenge each year for the membership. The challenge is given in the fall and the finished projects are presented at either the January or February guild meeting. The latest challenge was called the Electric Kool-Aid Fiber Test Challenge or as I like to say, 50 shades of Ken Kesey.
We were given 4 ounces of white polwarth fiber (wool) and two packages of Kool-Aid (our choice of colors). For the challenge, we were to dye our fiber in the Kool-Aid and use it in a project. The only rule was that the finished item must show some of the original Kool-Aid color.
Being a practical minded person, I decided to try my hand, so to speak, at knitting some gloves. Once I had decided on what to knit, I went to Ravelry.com and found a free glove pattern. The polwarth was then spun up in DK weight (or something close to that). It was then dyed in three packages of dark cherry and one package of another red Kool-Aid. The yarn ended up a pretty coral color. Not being one to really wear this particular color I went through my handspun yarn stash and came up with some grey wool yarn and some leftover black alpaca.
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I am a somewhat challenged knitter so the finished product is less than perfect, but very wearable. They remind me a little of a coral snake with their stripes. They will be a humble offering compared to what others will be showing at the next guild meeting, but I completed the Kool-Aid Fiber Test challenge, which is usually the biggest part of the challenge.
If you are interested in using Kool-Aid to dye yarn or fiber, below are the instructions as provided by our guild (adapted from a post titled “Dyed in the wool” from Knitty.com), have fun!
Wash fiber lightly in mild soap and let it soak. Empty your Kool-Aid mix into your pot/dish with some water. Stir to dissolve. Add your yarn and enough water to cover it. The amount of water doesn’t matter, the ratio of dye to yarn does. *1 package of dye to 1 oz. of fiber.
There are two basic methods of setting the dye; stovetop or microwave. For the stovetop, heat the yarn-filled pot to nearly boiling. Turn it off and let it sit covered for at least half an hour, stirring a few times. If you prefer the microwave, zap your yarn-filled dish for two minutes. Let the yarn rest for a few minutes, and then zap it again for another two minutes. With either method, you will know your yarn is ready if the water is mostly clear. This means the yarn will have absorbed all the dye. If the water is not mostly clear, you may want to heat everything up again for best results. Let the yarn cool. Once cooled, rinse it thoroughly in water the same temperature as the yarn (shocking wool with cool water could cause it to felt). Wash the yarn in mild soap (blue Dawn is good), rinse again and hang to dry.
Guest Contributor: SpinWhiz
Spinwhiz first learned to weave in high school (a very long time ago). Since that time she has taken up a number of other fiber arts, including spinning and knitting. Her local spinning guild, the Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild is a constant source of inspiration.
Browse through more knitting projects and inspiration on Create Whimsy.