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She’s pure science with a splash of black cat…
-Steely Dan, ‘Almost Gothic’

I have plans. For ombré yarn. Of course, I could by it, true, but I prefer to make it. Saves money. Somewhat.

The term ‘ombré’ describes the gradual blending of one color hue to another, usually moving tints and shades from light to dark. The term is used for paintings, but can be used for fabrics and yarn. And, of course, you can make ombré designs on your own. The ‘net is a useful tool for learning to make them.

Which brings me to my own plans. In an effort to spruce up yarn for a Baby Surprise Jacket, I stumbled upon a page that showed you how to make ombré yarn with kool-aid. And me, being the thrifty moose that I am, decided to give it a go last night.

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I felt like a mad scientist, let me tell you.

So, here’s the wool:

Yarn's true color

Fibranatura’s ‘Inca’, color 43013, which is more green than what is shown here. More of a pale sea green. No idea why the camera made it look turquoise. Anywho, this is a superwash wool. It is a bit more sturdy than regular wool; it can withstand the heat needed to fix the colors better.

Dyeing yarn pot

I gave the ball a nice long soak into water, adding more when the wool soaked up some of it. Be sure that when you are using balls of yarn, to gently press it down to help remove extra air bubbles. *nods*

I then put the pot on the stove and let it heat up until it was at a very light simmer, almost like I was poaching the yarn. In the meanwhile, I prepared the dye: Two packages of lemon-lime kool-aid and a separate package of the berry-blast.

Now the lot of you are probably wondering, why kool-aid? Well, to get a bit technical, when we are dyeing animal fibers (wool, silk, alpaca, etc.) the dye needs an acid to help the color get absorbed. Kool-aid has citric acid; you can also boost the intensity a bit with a jigger or so of vinegar (more on that later). And besides, the mixes are food-safe and cheap to boot. You can read more about it here.

So when the bath was ready, I gently poured in the lemon-lime dye.

Dying yarn!

The tongs were used as weight to keep the ball completely submerged.

After lowering the temperature a bit to help prolong the heat-fix, I left it sit for a while before gently spooning in the blue dye (check first photo). And after that, I turned off the heat and let everything soak in until this morning, when I rinsed it and let it drain…

After! turned over

…until I thought it was ready to be put into a skein.

Hung and drying

You can see that about half of it is in a bright shamrock green. Not expected, but that is the cool thing about dyeing: you do not know what will happen until you finish with the project.

Now, if only I can find an ice tray…

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