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April 20th, 2007 at 06:44 am

More on Kool-Aid

In response to several direct questions about yarns/fibers & where my information came from besides “experimenting” with Kool-Aid, Easter Egg Dyes & other drink mixes for dyeing, and as the discussion of as a dye seems to be a perennial discussion; it seemed worth mentioning that my results were based on “fiber” meaning hunks of clean stuff that was not yet yarn
visit Kool-Aid Man

I was cleaning my hard drive and found a copy of the 1999 UseNet Kool-Aid FAQ – admittedly many of the links need to be eliminated, and there is not a whole lot about dyeing

It is completely correct that only Protein based fibers will take up Kool-Aid like a dye, it does not limit you to sheeps wool. Some fibers take color more easily than others.
Sheep & Goat (Mohair) work the best.

You can also dye Rabbit (Angora), Camelids (Llama & Alpaca), Worm Spit (Silk) and more.

As others have mentioned, you can have some fun over-dyeing other yarns, and the protein fiber content will, with varying degrees of intensity “take the color”.

White yarn, because it often requires more caustic processing in order to remove the natural color, does not always take the dye as well.

Yarns which have been treated to be labeled as “Super-Wash” or “Machine Washable” also may not take dye as well as you might hope.

When I first got crazed by Kool-Aid Dyeing I happened to live in Westchester County, home of General Foods (now Kraft) and when answering an ad about a spinning wheel for sale, met and became friends with a GF Chemical Engineer (isn’t it amazing how people we “need” seem to come into our lives, just when we need them)

This gentleman was fascinated by the idea that Spinners were dyeing fibers with KA to make yarns and gave me a great deal of “interesting information” about Kool-Aid – along with detailed explanations of why KA was better and why other brands needed the addition of citric acid, vinegar, etc., in order for them to work. (Basically, at the time Kool-Aid was the only one “fortified” with Vitamin C and an ingestible from of Citric Acid was used to accomplish this)

Along with all the other interesting things he shared was his concern that folks would not treat Kool-Aid as carefully as they would any other dye-stuff – applying heat changes chemicals and his concern was that folks would not take care to NOT use the same precautions – (dedicated containers and utensils) they would if using other dyes.

I was really pleased with his comments since they also coincided with my wanting a different (smaller) microwave in the kitchen. Nothing like having one engineer telling another engineer “The girl is right, you need to get a new unit for food preparation and leave the other for the dye process”

In the summer, I like the look of glass containers with bits of fiber, fabric and yarns in their glass bottles, lined up on the part of the deck that gets sun all day – slower but safer.

Many who use the “sun dye” technique will say you MUST cover the jars with black plastic. But then you can’t see what is happening.

My compromise is to cover the table and the lids with black (those great “postal” rubber bands are excellent to secure the plastic, but do get brittle after prolonged exposure to the sun)

This way you can leave the sides uncovered for esthetic reasons, but still get some benefit from the added heat attraction.

Remember, you want to ONLY use UNSWEETENED flavors (unless you want a really nasty mess)
It is up to you, but the PH of your local water supply also effects your results, so it may be that you will need to use distilled water for best and most consistent results.

Or maybe this year, the kids would like to try making Play Dough colored by Kool-Aid.

Now if Mother Nature would just cooperate, I could get on with the testing of new colors The deck looks so dull without its happily colored jars of yarn and fibers and fabrics.



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