Knitting and the Scientific Method

Yarn Science Lab Report

Purpose: To dye yarn a pleasing, not-so-ugly color using Kool-Aid drink mix.

Hypothesis:  Kool-aid dyeing will end in sweet-smelling, brightly-colored yarn and probably permanently neon orange hands.

Materials: Yarn, Kool-aid, warm water, soap, bowl, microwave


1.  Consult the Internet for directions on how to dye yarn with Kool-Aid.

2.  Wash the yarn in warm water and a little soap.  Rinse it out and let is soak for a while.

3.  Cover hands in plastic bags because you don't have gloves.

4.  Add (sugar-free) Kool-Aid and water to a microwave safe bowl (about one packet per ounce of yarn)

5.  Put the wet yarn into the Kool-Aid mixture and add enough water to cover the yarn (apparently it is the ratio of dye to yarn that matters and not the amount of water)

6.  Heat the bowl of yarn and dye in the microwave for two minutes at a time until the water is clear/all the dye is sucked up in the yarn.

7.  Rinse the yarn out in warm water.

8.  Hang the yarn to dry.

Observations:  Obviously not enough dye here.  I should have doubled or tippled the amount I used.  Luckily, I was using non-handspun for this experiment, so I don't feel bad that is turned out weird.  I will be redyeing it, though.  But probably red, instead of orange, because, honestly, who likes the color orange?  (JK, folks, jeesh.  I realize that some people think orange is a perfectly legitimate color....I just don't understand why).

Also, this whole thing is soooooo easy.  Because Kool-Aid is so acidic already, you don't have to add anything to the dye to get it to stay in the yarn well.  This should be very color-fast if the final garment every gets washed (and hopefully won't dye anyone's whites a Kool-Aid color).

Finally, the colors are super bright.  I am not sure how easy is it to mix colors, but I might experiment with toning down the brightness just a lil' bit so that I don't look like an elementary school coloring project.

Conclusion: Hypothesis was partly confirmed and partly rejected.  The yarn is not THAT ugly and certainly is bright-colored.  In this case, the yarn smells like orange popsicles....mmmmm....I did not, however, end up permanently dying my hands orange.  I count this among the good.  Overall, good fun.  I am going to try redying this yarn and dying the homespun purple next.  Woot!  (yea, I just said woot in a lab report....I totally just failed you Mrs. C).