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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.
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.
Here is the resulting hat. You can see the subtle stripes created adding the yarn into the crock pot at different times.