Kool-Aid® Colors Part 2 (And there are probably more out there that we haven’t run across yet!)

Walmart is probably the best place to look for Kool-Aid® — most stores have space on their shelves for a dozen or more flavors in the area near the powdered drinks. Unfortunately, because it’s also the least expensive source, the selection of available flavors is often limited. Still, if you’re serious about doing much dyeing with Kool-Aid®, their 20 cents a pack price is hard to beat so it’s worth checking several stores to get what you’re looking for. Walmart doesn’t sell Kool-Aid online.

Supermarket chains that I’ve visited carry a varying number of flavors of unsweetened Kool-Aid® if they carry at all. In Miami, our Winn Dixie stores all have shelf space for it, some more than others, but the selection  also varies.

Keep an eye out for other sources where you live. In Miami we have lots of ethnic markets and bodegas that often have a small selection of Kool-Aid®. I’m in the habit of looking everywhere I go because there seem to be lots of flavors in circulation — manufactured either in the US or Mexico.

Here’s a batch of flavors I’ve picked up since making the initial samples. Next time I’ll do a better job remembering where I got them! The Tanerine is just a little different from the other oranges and I’d like to get some more and play around with it but it’s not a common flavor and I can’t remember where I got it!

new color cups  new colors

 

 

The Eclectic Kool-Aid® Acid Test

What’s the difference in color between Mango and Peach-Mango Kool-Aid®? Strawberry, Watermelon and Pink Lemonade all contain Red 40, but how much? The only way to find out was to spend an afternoon collecting all the flavors of Look-Aid® we could find and the evening dying a small sample of yarn with each. A mother and grown up daughter project — like the prettiest, best smelling science fair experiment ever!

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2 powder

3 dyeing

 

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About Yarn Play @ miamiyarn.com

We don’t play with yarn much in Miami – at least not in the traditional manner, with knitting needles and crochet hooks. Granted, we need light wraps and shawls in frigid air conditioned buildings, but knitting and crocheting a little something to wear isn’t something many people do here. As a result, we don’t have many local yarn shops, but the ones we  have enjoy a loyal following.

A few months ago, one of our local yarn shops went on the market and was going to be shuttered. Anticipating the void that would leave in the needle arts community here, a group of regular customers formed a consortium to buy the shop’s name and inventory and open it as a co-op yarn shop in a new location.

I got involved because I love textiles – looking at them, touching them and marveling at the incredibly beautiful things people make using them. I’m a mediocre crocheter at best, but I love visiting yarn shops when I travel and usually Google “cityname yarn” when I arrive in a new city. I’m also a techie nerd and couldn’t wait to get an online store up and running for our co-op. I bought the domain name miamiyarn.com thinking people looking for yarn in Miami would find our new venture, whatever the name ended up being.

Sadly, time was short and the consortium investor’s reasons for participating differed greatly. Some envisioned a textile arts maker space with an array of both traditional and trendy yarn, others felt moving the contents of the existing shop to a smaller, more affordable space with a table for folks to gather and knit was all they could support. Time ran out, the shop sold at fire sale prices and I parked miamiyarn,com and waited for an inspiration.

So now I’m unparking it.

MiamiYarn.com is going to be the home my latest project, Yarn Play – an alternative way for Floridians to play with yarn. Turn a skein of natural wool into a dappled sweat band or a  hot little cell phone caddy — items we can use in  tropical paradise!

And, because the nerdy part of me is easily amused by many things and the lover of textiles that I am often sees things that are too good not to share, there will be a steady stream of eclectic randomness woven in as well.

~Jane

 

Hello 2016!! Yarn dyeing “Maker Bags” are here!

new kit

The first day of a new year – the best day of the year! The holidays are over and the fridge is full of  last night’s party food. I feel caught up with almost everything and everybody on my year-end list so this is always the day to get a good start on a new year. Some years that involves staying in nightclothes all day, reading and nibbling; when the kids were little, it was parades.

This year there’s a project dangling over me — not unfinished business exactly – more like not properly started business. It involves yarn and, like many knitting and crochet projects that involve yarn, it’s been picked up and put down many times. Today’s the day for Yarn Play.

What is Yarn Play?

I while back I realized there aren’t very many fun, yet educational projects, you can do with kids – or other adults for that matter. I was thinking back to Science Fair time in the public schools and how my kids often had fun ideas for experiments. We kicked them around the dinner table and worked on them together because we were interested to see the outcome. The fun of that process was usually overshadowed by the torture of getting them write the report and get it on a project board, but now that they are both successful young adults, I can look back wistfully to those days when playing with science was fun.

I ran across something recently that was so intriguing I had to try it and after I did, I wished I’d had a child or grandchild around to do it with me. I had some leftover natural wool yarn and was intending to dye it with tea. While looking for instructions and tips, I stumbled on the incredible dying properties of unsweetened Kool-Aid®.

I picked up some packets of Kool-Aid® and wound my yarn into skeins so I could try different flavor/color combinations based on the food dye colors listed among the ingredients. Kool-Aid® is powerful stuff! When you open a package and sprinkle it on hot wet yarn, it creates instant colors. The primary colors in the dye blend to create secondary colors and when you use several flavors, the kitchen begins to smell strangely tropical.

It was easy, inexpensive and fun. And not only was it pretty and messy, there was a lot of science to be talked about – color mixing, acid setting, natural verses acrylic fibers. I wished I’d discovered this when my kids were growing up.

Then I remembered I probably would have been too busy to gather the supplies and search out Kool-Aid® dyeing instructions then, but if there was a kit available with everything necessary to make some pretty yarn with the kids, I would have loved it. They would have too. They loved dyeing Easter eggs but never wanted to eat the eggs – this way they could keep the results. I want other people to have an easy way to play with yarn and Kool-Aid® so I’m introducing “Maker Bags” with everything you  need to make a beautiful skein of yarn.

Playing with dye and yarn is fun but what can a kid do with a ball of yarn? The answer is use it to learn an enjoyable craft that may one day become a hobby.

When I was about nine-years-old, an aunt who came to visit showed me how to knit. I didn’t start turning out sweaters and socks back then, but I kept the little orange swatch I made in the top drawer of my dresser for years. Later in life, when I picked up a set of needles and set out to learn to knit, I knew I could do it — I’d done it before – and it came back comfortably.

I think crocheting is more straightforward than knitting and easier for growing hands to manage. It’s also more forgiving.

I’ve included basic crochet instructions with illustrations along with a step-by-step guide to yarn dyeing in the kit but the value in this project lies in the opportunity to experiment a little with safe materials and little guidance to create something unique and beautiful. Hopefully with someone you love.

Happy New Year to all!

~ Jane