Gradient Yarn with Kool-Aid

gradient yarn

Last month, I got the urge to dye yarn. I didn’t have any bare skeins hanging around, but I did remember I had pieces of a white wool sweater in my closet. Waaay back in 2010, I thrifted a large white wool sweater. It had the perfect seams to unraveling, so I took it apart almost immediately. …Then we bought a house and moved. It got trapped in a box of random crafty shit and I just forgot about it for a year. Last year, I dyed one of the sleeves and then last month I finally dyed the other.

I like sleeve dyeing because it makes me feel like I have more control over where the dye goes. Last year, I used these directions from craftystylish, but this time I wanted to try something different.

I wanted a gradient/ombre look, so I thought about how people get that with shirts by putting small parts of the fabric in at a time. Would it work? YES! I probably made it a little more difficult than it needed to be, but I was working with what I had–2 packs of pineapple Kool-Aid and 1 pack of cherry.

I started by putting my sleeve in a bowl of water with a splash of vinegar. I made sure it was completely saturated, then I put it in the microwave for a minute to temper it. While it was heating up, I mixed the 2 packs of pineapple with 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water and put it in a pot to heat up. I pulled my bowl out of the microwave and lifted the sleeve out (over the bowl, because it was dripping), gently squeezing a bit of the excess water out. I was able to handle it with my bare hands, but use caution if it feels too hot to you.

I started by dipping about 6-8 inches, counting to ten and dipping another 6 inches. I could see a lot of the dye getting absorbed pretty quickly and by the time I got to the last bit, there was hardly any yellow coming off my liquid. I quickly mixed the pack of cherry and 2 cups of water and then lifted my sleeve over the pot, mixed in the cherry and started dipping again. by the time I got to the top, the water was pink. Yay!

I let it sit in the warming water for a few quick minutes (no boiling!) and then I rinsed it with hot water, slowly getting the temperature down. When I could handle it, I put a dash of baby shampoo in to get any excess dye out. After it was done, I rolled it up in a towel and squeezed out most of the water, then let it hang in front of a fan for a few hours. Once dry, I went about the arduous task of unraveling and getting this yarn into a skein, which entailed ANOTHER bath (once unraveled). It was all worth it, as it looked so pretty wound into a ball.


I had various shades of coral and pink throughout. I was afraid the mix would be too orange, but it came out so lovely!



It took another week or two for me to finally knit something out of it, but here it is! A basic knit hat. The yarn was pretty chunky, so I was able to make a 60-st hat in a day.


It was big enough for me to tuck my hair into.

Do you like to dye your own yarn? Have you ever tried dyeing a sweater sleeve then re-purposing the yarn into something else? I’ve dyed with Kool-Aid before, but this is the first time I’ve actually tried to get the colors to look a certain way.

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2 baby sweaters

organic guernsey1
Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool (just one ball!)
Needles: US 6 & 8
it measures about 18-20″ around the chest so, HOPEFULLY, it will fit the new baby when he’s about 6 months. it stretches a bunch, so I’m hopeful it will fit in november/december. even if it isn’t cold outside, babies could always use extra warmth, right?
next up are some pants and maybe some more booties.
when I soaked/washed this one, I also FINALLY washed/blocked the pink sweater I knit a long time ago. it’s the basic top-down raglan I made with some yarn I kool-aid dyed.


this one is a little bit bigger. I’m not quite sure what to do with it. over-dye it with some red to make it more masculine? try and sell it? it’s so soft! I have 2 balls of fisherman wool (over 800yds!) that I want to dye and make something out of. maybe a blanket for the boys. speaking of blankets, I should probably make one for le fetus, so that I can cuddle with it and make it smell like me. you know, to become like a security blanket for him or something.

banana bootsies

Garter-stitch booties Garter-stitch booties

Pattern: A Good 2-Needle Garter Stitch Slipper, with Cuff by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Source: Knitting Without Tears
Yarn: Knit Picks Bare – Superwash Merino/Nylon Fingering Weight dyed with kool-aid, coffee, and food coloring
Needles: 3.0 mm

these are so teensy! I’m not quite sure they’ll fit my newborn (coming in May!) for more than a few days. They were a lot of fun, though. I was going to use this yarn for some baby socks, but I am just so bored with plain stockinette. The shaping in this pattern definitely kept my interest. I finished the entire set in about 2 hours!

Feather & Fan Bonnet

I used this kool-aid dyed sock yarn for the Norweigan baby hat I made a few weeks ago (here). I didn’t have any plans for the rest of it until I saw this. I doubled the yarn and it worked out well, I think.

Feather and Fan Bonnet

Pattern: Feather and Fan Bonnet, as seen on Stitch Marker.
Yarn: ~half a skein of KnitPicks’ Superwash/Nylon Fingering Weight kettle-dyed with kool-aid.
Needles: Boye Balene US 6

I’m not so sure about the ribbon. I think it provides a nice vibrant contrast, but do the colors really go? I don’t know.

Feather and Fan Bonnet3

but it’s very pretty. I found it on a trip to Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago. if I decide it doesn’t mesh too well with this yarn, I’m going to reserve the ribbon for another feather and fan bonnet, for sure. I think it would look particularly nice on, say, a plain white or cream one.

I really really really like the feather and fan stitch pattern. especially with the little garter row. I had been on the fence as to what pattern to use for a shawl I’m going to make for my mom, and now I’m definitely sure–feather and fan!

Feather and Fan Bonnet1
so pretty.