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!