Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dyeing Pink Yarn for a Pussyhat with KoolAid and Food Coloring

As I was finishing up the design of the first 4 GENEie hat patterns, a good friend of mine asked for a DNA Pussyhat.  I was so excited to splice the design of these two hats together but I quickly ran into a problem.  I had no pink yarn.  My favorite shops were cleaned out of pink worsted weight yarns, too!  What was a knitter to do?  

I am ChemKnits, and I love to dye yarn.  My YouTube Channel (ChemKnits Tutorials) is filled with my dyeing experiments.  While I'm dyeing, I usually make things up as I go along.  I like to share my "oopsies" and things I could try to get different results.  I love that people enjoy my unfiltered, somewhat rambling, process.  I also love that I can get excited for a new dyeing project AND to share it with all of you.  

Normally I like to do my immersion dyeing (kettle dyeing) on the stovetop. This is the easiest way to control the temperature of the dyebath.  However, not everyone has access to a stove so I wanted to share some microwave dyeing.  

Materials and Methods

  • Materials: 100 g Bare Wool of the Andes Yarn (Worsted weight), 1 packet Pink Lemonade KoolAid, McCormick's NEON food coloring (Pink, 40 drops), Water, Microwave safe dish.
  • Presoak the yarn in cool water for 20-30 minutes
  • Starting with at least 4 cups of water, mix in the KoolAid and the food coloring drops.  
  • Add the presoaked yarn to the dye mixture, increase the volume of water so the yarn is completely submerged.  
  • Microwave the yarn in increments until the dyebath starts to boil.  With my setup this took ~15 minutes.
  • Allow the dyebath to cool.  If there is still dye in the water, you can heat the dyebath again to help the dye absorb to the fibers.  If the water is clear, proceed to washing.
  • Wash the yarn.  When the yarn is COMPLETELY COOL, wash it in lukewarm water and dishsoap to remove any excess dye.
  • Allow the yarn to dry an admire your pretty yarn!  

Kettle dyed yarn is so much fun.  It looks solid but when you look closer you can see subtle variations to the color.  The best part about dyeing with food coloring and KoolAid (besides the wonderful, fruity smell) is that this is all kitchen safe.  Everything I used for the dyeing process can be used on dishes that I eat from.  

The GENEie Pussyhat

Want to know more about the dyeing process?  Watch the video!