Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Yarn Dyeing... With a Toddler (or Two!)

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Dye yarn safely and easily with your toddler. Great for knitting, crafts, or a fun rainy day activity. Tutorial by Make It Handmade
 I'm so excited to bring you guys this tutorial. Although there are a million billion kool aid yarn dying tutorials out there, I want to share how we tweaked it to involve my two little toddlers. These photos were taken last October when my kiddos were 3, and 1.5, so even the littlest of kiddos will enjoy seeing the transformation. If you don't happen to knit or crochet, I still think it's a worthwhile thing to do with your kids. The resulting yarn could be used for pom poms, wrapping gifts, or just general crafting. As a bonus-- you can dye a small item (like a newborn hat) if you are in a pinch and don't know a baby's gender yet.

This tutorial will cover how to make a variegated yarn as well as a few tips on safely dyeing with small kids around. (and yes, you can still follow all the steps if you don't have a toddler.)



First off, make sure the yarn is made from an animal fiber such as silk, wool, alpaca etc. I admit I cheated bit here, and used a 70/30 wool/synthetic blend. It turned out just fine, especially since I was hoping for a light, baby pink. In the past I have used Lionbrand's Fishermen's Wool and have been extremely happy with the results. You'll also need a few packets of Kool Aid in your desired color.

Since I abhor odd pooling, I like to work with a fairly large skein. I placed two chairs about 3-4 feet apart, and let my toddler wrap the yarn around the chairs. You can see that it's not perfect.
Dye yarn safely and easily with your toddler. Great for knitting, crafts, or a fun rainy day activity. Tutorial by Make It Handmade
Uneven wrapping simply means that your color variegation will be slight more random. I re-wrapped the yarn blobs that you see, and tied off the skein in 4-6 places around the large loop. I like to keep my knots a bit loose to make sure the dye will penetrate the yarn under the knot.
Dye yarn safely and easily with your toddler. Great for knitting, crafts, or a fun rainy day activity. Tutorial by Make It Handmade

Now for the exciting part! I've always dyed using a pot on the stove, but felt a slow cooker would be safer to do with the kids. I filled my 8qt cooker with water, let it warm, and put about half my skein of yarn along with the koolaid into the cooker.
Dye yarn safely and easily with your toddler. Great for knitting, crafts, or a fun rainy day activity. Tutorial by Make It Handmade
The hardest part is just keeping the kids from trying to taste the Kool Aid. The best part is that into only takes a few minutes for the yarn's color to change. We used the intervening time to talk about sheep, wool, hats and how they are all interconnected.
Dye yarn safely and easily with your toddler. Great for knitting, crafts, or a fun rainy day activity. Tutorial by Make It Handmade
 I added the rest of the yarn after a few minutes to create varying shades of pink. I also threw in a white hat I  had knitted from the same yarn.
Dye varigated yarn safely and easily with your toddler. Great for knitting, crafts, or a fun rainy day activity. Tutorial by Make It Handmade
 The only only part I didn't let the kids help with was ringing out the yarn and laying out the yarn to dry. Even though the ties around the skein should prevent tangling, I doubt that they could stop my two toddlers!

Here is the resulting hat. You can see the subtle stripes created adding the yarn into the crock pot at different times.
Dye yarn safely and easily with your toddler. Great for knitting, crafts, or a fun rainy day activity. Tutorial by Make It Handmade
 And here's the hat I threw in at the end! (this is a much better representation of the color.)
Dye yarn safely and easily with your toddler. Great for knitting, crafts, or a fun rainy day activity. Tutorial by Make It Handmade
If you try this out with your little ones, I'd love to see the results! Leave a comment, or email me!

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