DYEING WITH MERINO 200 – PART 1 November 11, 2015 10:32
PLAYING WITH COLOR
It’s so much fun to play with color and dyeing Merino 200 is easy! What follows is a super easy way to solar dye using Kool-Aid or Wilton Icing Dyes (available in craft stores). Merino 200 comes in loosely tied hanks – Ready to dye.
How to Solar dye Merino 200 with Kool-Aid:
Yes, Kool-Aid. It’s colorfast on wool and the citric acid in the Kool-Aid works to set the color – no need to add vinegar or additional mordants. Because Kool-Aid is a food product, it’s safe to use the pots and pans you cook with to do your dyeing. Best done in the morning so it can bake all day in the sun.
You will need:
Roasting pans or 13 x 9 baking pans and plastic wrap
Disposable cake pans with snap on clear plastic lids.
Unsweetened Kool-Aid packages in your choice of colors. 1 hank will take anywhere from 2 to 8 packs depending on saturation of color.
Prepare the yarn:
Wet the yarn thoroughly: Fill sink with barely lukewarm water. Soak untwisted hanks for at least 15 minutes and up to a few hours. Gently squeeze out some of the excess water. Hanks should still be wet and slightly dripping but not gushing. Arrange your hank in the pan so that it is as flat as possible.
Dye your yarn (the fun part):
Use as many or as few colors as you like. Using one color you can get great semi-solid results or use many colors for more of a rainbow effect.
The Sprinkle method: This is the easiest way. Make sure your yarn is thoroughly wet and the bottom of the pan is wet (Note: The wetter the hank, the more the colors will bleed; the drier the hank the less they will bleed. If you want a more speckled look, gently wring the hank out so there is barely any water in the pan.) Tear open the Kool-Aid packs and sprinkle as you wish. When the Kool-Aid hits the wet yarn it will dissolve and sink in. Poke the Kool-Aid into your yarn to get to the underside of the hank. If you don’t want colored fingers, use a spoon or wear gloves.
The Squirt bottle method: Plastic ketchup or dish soap bottles from the recycle bin work great. Add Kool-Aid and a small amount of water to each squirt bottle and shake to dissolve. The less water used, the stronger the color. Once dissolved, squirt as you wish onto your yarn.
Bake in the sun:
Cover your pan tightly with plastic wrap or snap on the plastic cover. Place in full sunlight for 6 to 10 hours depending on the strength of the sun. Check after an hour or two and make sure there is condensation happening. A south facing hill is the perfect location. Dark pavement holds more heat and will speed the process.
Rinse gently in lukewarm water until the water runs clear. If your yarn has been baking all day, the water will probably run clear right from the first rinse. Hang in the shade over a drying rack or clothesline and allow to dry fully.
Once dry, wind into a ball and you’re ready to knit! It may smell a bit fruity at first but the smell will wear off eventually.
Kool-Aid dyeing is a safe and fun activity to do with kids. Experiment and find the best method for you to dye yarn. You can also dye with food coloring or Wilton icing dyes as long as you pre- mordant your yarn with vinegar.
Some good links about Kool-Aid and food coloring dyeing: