Upon one of my late night ventures on Pinterest, I came across a woman who dyed wool with Kool Aid ice cubes. Interesting I thought. We have dyed wool in the past using food colouring and loved it. It was pre-blog days so here are a few photos of that fun filled day...
The end result was beautiful and I knitted it up into this sweater...
Sadly, this sweater sits in the big one’s drawer because apparently silk/cashmere wool hurts your neck.... grrrr.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I thought this would be a fun experiment and relatively quick. So we picked up some Kool Aid and cleaned out the ice cube trays and set to work. We mixed up the packets using maybe about ¾ cup of warm water. It was enough to fill 8 cubes of each colour. She uses a bit more concentrated, but ours worked well, we just used more cubes. The only hard part of the whole project was waiting for the ice cubes to be ready. We did it while making supper so they were ready the next morning. Just an aside here, but look at that blue colour!! Is that even normal?? How in the world could you drink that?! ( I really am sorry if you do drink that, I didn’t mean any offense, it is just that colour scares me a bit).
After that it is easy. Soak the wool in a vinegar/water solution for at least half an hour. Then gently squeeze it out. Next, place it in a dish, ( I used a square glass baking dish), place the cubes on top and set it out to melt/dye.
Now, this is the part that was tricky. In the post, she “bakes” hers in the sun. You need to heat the wool and dyes to at least 180 degrees in order to set the dye. This would be a fantastic Summer Solstice project, but alas, the current temperature outside is -26C and even if there was a bit of sun, it would just freeze the thing solid. So we improvised.... several ways.
First, we put plastic on it and set it on the wood stove’s warming racks.
I thought it would be good use of heat already being produced. Two problems here. I didn’t want to scorch the wool on the bottom and the kids wouldn’t stay away from the stove which made me really nervous especially after a very close call. So I decided to try the oven. I set it at about 275 degrees and put a thermometer in it so I could make sure it was getting to proper temperature as well as making sure it wouldn’t burn. I covered it with aluminum foil and cooked it for about an hour, maybe a bit more and then checked it. The water was clear and all was good! Success!!
I removed it when it had cooled a bit, squeezed it out and hung it to dry. The result?
Gorgeous! I love the way the top, where we put the frozen cubes is a bit lighter in colour and the underside, where it sat in the melted dye is much more intense. We will be doing another skein this week as Noah wants to do his own, which will be interesting to see the colour pattern of a 2 year old. Now I just have to find some thing to knit it into! Oh, another aside here, the wool does smell strongly of Kool Aid, which combined with wet wool really isn’t that great of a smell so probably not the best project if you or your child has smell issues.