Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Drink Mix Dyeing

Strawberry-flavored Kool-Aid® was DS's beverage of choice to take to our annual Superbowl party and when I looked in the cabinet to see if that flavor was on-hand, I realized I had way too many packets just sitting there. I also had part of a Romney fleece that I really needed to do something with so I did a little dyeing exercise.

My dyeing notebook is full of samples from previous drink mix dyeing trials so I had a pretty good idea what colors I could hope for. But that bright yellow at the top of the photo was a real surprise!

Running counter-clockwise from the surprise yellow, grape-flavored Kool-Aid® brand unsweetened drink mix yielded the purple. It usually comes out fairly dark so this batch was consistent with previous samples. I used 4 packets of drink mix dissolved in 1 quart of simmering well water (limestone issues) and included 1/4 cup white vinegar in the blend. I dyed about an ounce of washed fleece, pre-soaked in water and mostly separated into locks. My scale is "not approved for commerce" but still fairly accurate. I put the glass jars in a large slow cooker that had about 1" of simmering water in it. The temperature setting was on low and I set the filled jars on a small rack that fits in the bottom of the slow cooker. Placed the lid on the slow cooker and let it "cook" until the dye was exhausted (water was clear in the jars).

Next up is the small amount of lighter purple (almost grey in the picture) which is a bit that I stuffed into the container when I was finishing up and realized I had some extra fleece ready-to-dye and nowhere else to put it. It didn't take up nearly the color as the earlier wool.

The dark pink to the front of the photo came from 3 packets of a flavor called "Raspberry Ice." I don't think it's available any longer -- see, I knew I needed to use some of those for dyeing. Who knows what they would taste like after all that time on the shelf?!. Followed the same method as for the purple wool.

The light orange was dyed using orange flavored Kool-Aid® drink mix, of course. It's one of the few that seems to me to yield a "true" color. I followed the same method described above.

I used 3 plain lemonade flavored Wyler's® soft drink mix packets to get that very light yellow in the front of the basket with my wool cards. I only dyed approximately 3/4-ounce instead of the ounce for other colors because I knew the lemonade usually yielded a very light color and I wanted to improve the saturation. Not sure it really made any difference in the final color when I compared it to a batch I dyed previously with the lemonade drink mix. My experience with Kool-Aid® lemonade has been the same.

The light peachy-orange fleece in the same basket was dyed with an orange-pineapple flavor Kool-Aid® drink mix called, I think, "Oh Yeah Orange Pineapple." Same amounts and method as previously described.

The bright yellow wool at the top of the photo was dyed with a Kool-Aid® drink mix called Man'O Mango Berry. It was a surprise because the drink color is more of an orangey red and yet it gave the brightest, best covering drink mix dye job I've had and is yellow. Most drink mixes yield a range of shades but this one covered the wool very well all over. And I don't normally expect the color of the prepared drink to be the same color as the dyed wool but any of the red shades (in terms of the prepared drink color) have yielded some shade of red in my previous experience. So I thought this one would follow that line. Shows me what I know of food coloring! Now if only some of the other colors dyed that strongly!

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