Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Libby's Kool Aid Acid Test.

Yesterday, I showed you the results, from afar, of my dyeing. I've Kool Aid dyed before. But there was no planning in that endeavor, and I basically just started dumping different flavors together. The fact that the results were at all pleasing to the eye is astonishing. So, in the name of craftiness, I assembled as many different types of powdered drink mix that I could find. My goal was to find the perfect mix of colors to eventually dye my own yarn that I will then actually use to knit something (most likely, Knitty's most knitted pattern).

Step 1: Gathering of powdered drink mixes. This was an ongoing project - ongoing since my last bout of Kool Aid dyeing. I looked at lots of different stores in a couple of towns. I did decide, however, not to even start with testing store brands, with one notable exception. The brands I acquired were: Kool Aid, Flavor Aid, Klass Aguas Frescas*, Great Value (Wal-Mart) Lemonade, and Hawaiian Punch.

Step 2: Mixing the "dyes." Each packet, with the exception of the Aguas Frescas, was mixed with 1 oz water and 1 oz vinegar. This gives a highly intense mixture for testing purposes. The Aguas Frescas were in packets of .53 oz (Kool Aid is about .15 oz each), and therefore each of these was mixed with 2 oz water and 2 oz vinegar. The differences in the size of the packages threw my scientific method out the window.

Step 3: Dyeing. Each piece of yarn (Lion Brand Fisherman Wool, which is readily available in craft stores, but Knit Picks Natural Wool of the Andes or any light colored 100% wool will work**) was allowed to soak in the mixture for 5-10 minutes. It was then removed from the dye and microwaved for 2 minutes. Rinsed, and then allowed to dry. The hardest part was keeping all the names straight with the finished product.

Here are the results.... (click for a larger view via Flickr.)
Kool Aid Colors - 1 with titles
Kool Aid Colors 2 with titles

I was pleased with the results, for the most part. However, I was unable to get a true purple using one single packet of Kool Aid. I may try to mix different packets together to get different shades, eventually. The Wal-Mart brand of Lemonade gave the truest yellow color. This makes me wonder if some of the store brands may actually produce richer colors. Perhaps these generics are made with more dye to account for potential losses in flavor. This will be left for another day.

I was only able to find a few flavors of Flavor Aid, and am actively looking for some different flavors. Where do you buy this stuff, anyway? I'm also looking for the Kool Aid Aguas Frescas to try.

Some really great resources for Kool Aid dyeing:
A Basic How To
An Article at Knitty
Lengthy Discussions at Craftster
How to at Knitters Review
Kool Aid Color Chart
Great Discussion at Knitters Review

Next up: Dyeing Cotton Yarns. This may have to wait until my kitchen recovers.

* The Klass Aguas Frescas were purchased at a small ethnic grocery store in my hometown, just down the street from my parents. But I have also seen this brand in supermarkets - in the Iowa City area it is available at Cub Foods.

**Remember that only animal fibers can be dyed using Kool Aid, which is plenty acidic on its own. I use the vinegar just to make sure it is plenty acidic. PLant fibers such as cotton must be dyed using basic dyes, i.e. dyes that are based on baking soda or something.

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