Knitting and the Scientific Method: Part II

Yarn Science Lab Report

Purpose: To re-dye ugly yarn a pleasing, not-so-ugly color using Kool-Aid drink mix.  Also, to dye homespun yarn purple!

Hypothesis:  Much more red Kool-aid will be needed to over-dye the old, poorly dyed orange Kool-Aid dyeing experiment.  Homespun might be slightly harder to dye because it is denser, making it harder for the dye to soak all the way in.

Materials: Yarn, Kool-aid, warm water, soap, bowl, microwave, the ability to try-try-again


1.  Follow the basic steps found in the first Knitting and the Scientific Method.
2.  This time use RIDICULOUS amounts of Kool-Aid.
So much dye....

3.  Be amazed when the ridiculous amounts of Kool-Aid still fail to completely dye the yarn solid red.
4.  Add EVEN MORE red Kool-Aid.
5.  Realize that this yarn is never going to be solid red, and decide that you think the mottled, strange red is quaint and exactly what you were going for to begin with.
Rinsing the red Kool-Aid.  It looks super gross in this pic.
 6.  Repeat the steps for the homespun using purple Kool-Aid.
These colors aren't quite how they look in real like.  The red isn't quite so orange...
Observations:  I do not know what is up with KnitPicks natural merino yarn, but gosh is it stubborn!  I am really embarrassed to say how many of those little cherry-flavored Kool-Aid packets I used (the lady at Target looked at me like I was crazy when I made her count all the packets...I just told her that only Kool-Aid can truly quench my thirst...), but probably more than three times the recommended amount for this much yarn.  Weird....Also, it is now a huge tangled mess that I am going to have to wind by hand.  Oh, and it keeps turning my hands pink when I touch it.  I am going to have to wash it once more before I knit with it, or I am going to be perpetually pink.
Tangled, tangled mess.

The purple homespun I think I love.  It looks a little gray in certain light, but I kinda like it.  It took a lot more cooking in the microwave to get it to soak up all the dye, but I got really nice, even coverage of all parts of the yarn. 
Pretty purple.

Conclusion:  Hypothesis was partly confirmed and partly rejected.  I did need A LOT more red dye to fix the ugly orange yarn, but apparently EVEN MORE might have been in order.  Or maybe I am missing something about red dye (or the particular yarn I am using) and it is just impossible to make it even?  Hmmmm...unlike Part I of this experiment, I did manage to completely dye my right hand red.  Some of it came off rubbing them with baking soda (that worked nicely on the counters as well) but I might need to paint my nails to hide the rest.

This homespun is blowing my mind.  It was slightly harder because of the added cooking involved, but actually, it resulted in a much nicer color.

And now I can honestly say that I have done spinning, dying and, soon, knitting, of fiber from scratch.  Slowly making my way to the point of doing the whole process (since I obviously did not shear a sheep for this round, nor do I have enough yarn to knit a sweater at the moment).