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June 6, 2005


Here's how to make your own self-striping sock yarn with Kool-aid dye. At least, this is how I did it.

1. The key to self-striping yarn is a reallllly long hank. The stripes happen when there are long stretches of different colors. To get these long areas of color, you need a long hank. I used two chairs placed across the living room from each other. Here's a photo of the setup:

(This was taken after the dyeing. See where the stripes are?)

2. Actually, before doing this, I figured out my gauge with the undyed yarn. Then I decided I wanted 3 different colored three-row stripes in my sock. So I figured how much yarn that would take and put the two chairs exactly this far away from each other. This is not entirely necessary. Live on the edge - guesstimate!

3. Once you've made the really long hank, tie off sections of it that will be dyed different colors. I used some dark acrylic to mark where the color changes should go.

4. Soak the hank in water while preparing the dyes.

5. Mix up some Kool-aid with water in jars. I used 2-3 packets per each color, and one jar for each color. The more dye, the more intense of a color will result. I found that with light colors like yellow (lemonade) and pink (pink lemonade), its better to err on the side of too much dye rather than not enough.

6. Meanwhile, heat up some water in a large pot to boiling. The jars will go in here to be heated, which sets the dye. Check to make sure the water will not overflow when the jars are added.

7. Heat the jars of yarn in the larger pot until the water in the jars is clear. Its not necessary to maintain boiling water at this point, but the water should be hot. It really turns clear or milky once the yarn has absorbed all the dye! This is the coolest effect. Stir a little bit, but not too much. Some of my yarn got felt-y, and I think this was the cause.


8. Remove the yarn from the jars one color at a time and put on a plate or in a strainer or something. The colors will not run into to each other, so feel free to let the colors touch. Let cool.

9. Wash and dry per usual.


10. Return the really long hank to the chair setup and wind into a normal-sized hank. Actually, you could go straight to a yarn ball from here. I wound mine into hanks because I wanted to see what they'd look like in hanks. Plus, I could use the yarn winder thing.

Here's the final result. Self-striping yarn, made at home, without the help of the Regia corporation!


An excellent entry over at ginabeana
Shetha's recent spice dyeing entry
Knitty's article on Kool-aid dyeing
A great Kool-aid dyeing color chart

Comments (23)

I am all over this. You make it sound quite simple (but it's probably much more complicated!). I'm going to get some yarn and try this - might be a couple of weeks, but I'll keep my fingers crossed that I can do it too.

Wow! Another beautiful hank of yarn! I am so going to do this... when my kitten grows up a little and I can set this up without worrying about the yarn!

ok, this is really cool. I wondered about this. Does is smell of koolaid after? I just placed an order with knitpicks...i wonder if I can add some yarn...hmmmmm....koolaid is now on the grocery list. Hey, make something with it...come on...I want to see something done with the koolaid dyed yarn.

Lovely colors! I had no idea you would need such a large hank to make the proper self-striping stripes. Thanks for the how-to.

you are a freak! and i mean that in the nicest possible way. i had read about how you make self striping yarn a while ago .... but then went...nah! too hard. and now look at you!

Thanks for the tutorial!

So exciting! I actually held my breath while reading. I'm really anxious to see these socks in progress. :-)

awesome, you made it look so easy!!! i'm definitely going to try that one day. can't wait to see you knit with this skein!

GREAT tutorial, Diana! Yours turned out so well!

holy cow! what a process! you must be a virgo! lol

Holy Crap, thats awesome! Thanks so much for sharing. I would have never thought to do something as crazy as measure, but then again I hate measureing gauge too. But I will deffetnly have to try this asap. Are you skeins large enough for a pair of socks? You Rock!


Very pretty colors! KoolAid is usually too *NEON* for my tastes, but yours came out very nicely. I'm holding off doing my stripe dyeing until I have a warping board.

Hey thanks for the information. Have you ever done the microwave method? If so how do you find it differs. I can't wait to do some dying, maybe if plans go right, this weekend.


Thanks for sharing! The colors look gorgeous. Can't wait to see what you'll make with this yarn. Amazing!


I am totally amazed by this post. I am a scientist and would have never though about making striping yarn! I love your creative technique! I can't wait to get my Knit Picks yarn in the mail so I can try! Thanks for the description... I am going to print out this post, so I can use it as a guide!

Yay!!! Your yarn looks FABulous... can't wait to see how it works up!

Ahhhhhhh, I see, very clever! (raises eyebrows and nods head slowly in understanding)

Very cool tutorial. Thanks also for putting those reference links in.


Good pictures and explanations. Thank you. I've dyed some variegated Kool Aid sock yarn with my boys before, and now we have a new project to try.


I just went through the same yarn dyeing experience with Knit Picks' Color Your Own Yarn. However, I had a very hard time finding Kool Aid packets (not the tubs filled with sugar!). I ended up using regualr old food coloring. You mentioned in a post that you are in NYC, and I am too, so I have to ask: is there a secret supermarket that sells Kool-Aid packets? Hell, I even tried Fresh Direct!

What a cool tutorial -- very inspirational for me, as I keep thinking about trying this. Thank you!

Wow - great yarn. Dyeing is so much fun :-)


I absolutely love this yarn and its colorway. You inspired me to order several hanks of Knitpicks yarn and try this myself. The yarn should arrive soon.

I hope you don't mind I put a photo of your yarn on my blog and linked it back to your site. You're an inspiration!



diana AT streetsandyos DOT com