I'm experimenting with dyeing this week with Kool Aid, this time using roving instead of finished yarn. I had planned to do multi-colored hanks, but have had interesting results with just single batches. I divided a bag of 100% Superwash Merino into thirds and prepared the first dye bath. (I'll include specific directions below.) I first mixed five packets of Grape in a quart of hot water. It looked a little muddier than I wanted, so I mixed in two packets of Berry Blue. This had interesting results. I had soaked the first third of roving in warm dishwater(still in a sweater bag) and squeezed it out before adding it to the dye bath. I left it in the sweater bag the entire time until hanging to dry. Each container was set out in the sun for a few hours, until the water in the bath was clear. Each hank of roving picked up color in different amounts. Some parts picked up very strong purples, some a lighter blue from the packets of Berry Blue. Some parts of the roving picked up little color at all. The same happened with the other batches.
With the second (green) batch, I mixed five packets of Lemon-Lime with a quart of hot water. The green was a little too crayon green for my taste, so I added about half a bottle of Wal Mart brand food coloring in yellow. I did stir it up, but again, the colors separated somewhat, giving me a kind of chartreuse and ocher combination.
The third batch was done with just five packets of Berry Blue. The colors range from dark teal to white.
One thing I noticed was that the ultra smoothness of the roving changed to a certain fuzziness after dyeing. I've checked it after drying and it doesn't seem felted, just not as smooth. I don't think this will affect the spinning quality at all. I didn't keep the second and third batches in the sweater bags the entire time since the jars I used were narrower than the large glass measuring cup I used for the first one. I really didn't notice a difference from doing this, but I'd love to have two more huge glass bowls next time just for the ease of getting the roving into and out of the jars.
I will probably go back and over-dye the blue and purple batches, just because I'd like to experiment with adding more than one color to the roving. One word of caution: don't stand over the containers as you add the Kool Aid (use a mask if possible) for health reasons to avoid powder inhalation. I wanted to add that the fuzziness mostly goes away as the wool dries.
I. 100% Superwash Merino Wool – 4 oz.
Kool Aid: Grape – 5 pkts/ Berry Blue – 2 pkts
1. Soak wool roving in warm soapy water.
2. Heat 1 qt distilled water 3 minutes.
3. Add color packets.
4. Stir until dissolved.
5. Remove roving still in bag and squeeze gently to remove excess water.
6. Lower roving into color mix. Turn to make sure all parts are exposed to coloring.
7. Add enough warm tap water to cover roving. Set in sun 2 hours.
II. 100% Superwash Merino Wool – 4.4 oz
Kool Aid: Lemon-Lime – 5 pkts
½ bottle Yellow Wal-Mart Brand food color
III. 100% Superwash Merino Wool – 4.4 oz
Kool Aid: Berry Blue - 5 pkts