Today is one of those gray, dreary days where a little more color is a welcome sight. It's a perfect day for Kool-Aid dyeing wool batts. I've been blending a lot of Suffolk fleece with Icelandic fleece. It makes a fantastic sock wool blend!
There are two things to remember about Kool-Aid: 1. It is a protein dye, meaning that you can dye hair, wool, and silk with it. 2. Wear gloves & safety goggles because it can and will dye your hands and can sting your eyes!!
Step 1: What You Need:
You will need an old, junky pot that you don't cook in anymore;
a medium sized wash basin (critter feed bowl from Fleet Farm);
old ladle or spoon you don't cook with;
pair of rubber gloves to keep your hands from being dyed;
safety glasses or safety goggles
1/2 cup measuring cup or liquid measuring cup;
Kool-Aid in the colors you wish to work with - I always figure 1 packet per 2 ounces of fiber I want to dye;
some wool batts (4, 1-ounce batts used here)
Step 2: Prepare Waterbath
Fill your ceramic pot (you can see mine is very well used for dyeing) about 3/4 full with cold water.
Add 1/2 cup cider vinegar.
Step 3: Place Dye Pot on Stove and Add Kool-Aid
Place dye pot on stove and turn your burner on somewhere between medium and medium-low.
Pour in your Kool-Aid powder. I used 2 packets for 4 ounces of wool batts.
Stir with ladle or spoon and let sit until the top of the water looks like it's being sprinkled on (You'll see little tiny bubbles popping on the surface of the dye bath - about 20 minutes).
Step 4: Prepare Wool Batts for Dyeing
Run medium hot tap water into the wash basin until about 3/4 full.
Separate the wool batts.
Push batts, all at once, into wash basin making sure to get all air bubbles out by holding the batts under the water.
Let sit until dye bath is ready (previous step).
Lift wool batts all at once out of water and squeeze most of the water out of it.
Step 5: Place Pre-wetted Wool Batts Into Dye Bath
Take bundle of wool batts and set on top of the ready dye pot.
Gently push the wool batts into the dye bath using the ladle.
Push batts all the way into dye bath and leave sit on heat set on low for about 1/2 hour to 40 minutes.
Step 6: Remove Dyed Wool Batts From Pot and Cool
You'll know your yarn is ready to be removed when you can see that most of the color has been absorbed. My pot is always blue tinted, but you can still see that the batts have finished soaking up the dye because the remaining liquid is super clear.
Remove dye pot from stove and set aside to cool. This only needs about 10 minutes or so.
Set non-food use colander in sink and pour contents of dye pot into it.
Step 7: Rinse Cooled Batts and Prepare to Dry
Allow to drain over sink (you'll notice the water is not clear and thus the batts still need to be rinsed)
Fill wash basin with warm water.
Slip batts into the water and let soak for about 10 to 15 minutes. Do this as many times as it takes until the water runs clear from the batts using the colander to pour them into and drain(I usually only need to do this 2 or 3 times).
Set aside and get old towel.
Open up towel about 1/2 way and set batts on it.
Roll batts into towel.
Step 8: Complete Drying Prep
Take rolled up towel, with wet wool batts inside and set on floor.
Step onto towel with both feet and step back and forth until towel is fairly flattened.
Open up towel, remove damp batts and place on fresh towel.
Place fresh towel with batts in front of a heater vent or where ever you desire to dry them. It will take about a day or so to dry. Then you can re-card, make into roving or spin it right from the batt.