Thanks, Amy, for the really helpful sites on how to dye with Koolaid. There are a few different methods out there. Some say to wrap in plastic, some say to use vinegar or dish soap, some say NOT to use vinegar.
They recommended 1 packet of Koolaid per oz of wool. I bought 3 of the 3.5 oz skeins of "blank" wook from Knit Picks for $2.99 ea. I wanted all 3 to be the same color, and I didn't want varigation - I wanted solid color. I was trying to go for a blue-green so I bought berry blue and green apple Koolaid.
I mixed 3 different bowls, one with just berry blue, one with green apple, and one with both to see what the actual color differences were. I dipped a piece of the yarn in the mixed colors bowl. It was too green for what I wanted so I made the final bath with about 3 - 4 more berry blues than the apple green.
I plunged, cooked, rested, cooked, rested, and cooked again. The skeins picked up all they dye water in the bath so I know it was as concentrated as it could be with none left over.
The color I got was a bright neon "wintergreen" kind of color. Egh. Wouldn't look good on me. It might make a nice summer color, but I am not about to wear a wool sweater in the summer when temps around here stay in the 90s.
So I went to the supermarket and bought 6 more blue Koolaids and some food coloring. And I re-dyed the yarn!
Even before I cooked it, the yarn absorbed all the dye, every drop. The water was just about clear.
The color came out turquiose. Not the blue-green I wanted but I got tired of trying (for now).
What I learned: 1 packet of Koolaid per oz is not enough unless you want a really pale color. The color in your bath will be the color your wool comes out if you use white or cream color wool. It doesn't matter if you wrap it in plastic or not (I did the second time, same results). If you work the wool too much (too much squeezing when you're soaking) it will get fuzzy. I think this means it will start to felt. Also, next time I do it, I will add fabric softener to the final rinse. The wool feels course and I am not going to want to wear it directly next to my skin.
I would like to try to dye one skein different colors (like red-orange-yellow, or different depths of one color) at some point.
But I spent about $4 in koolaid an another $2 on food coloring, bringing my price to $4.99 skein. Now we're not talking really cheap anymore.
I'd like to find cheaper wool to experiment with, or silk or cotton. Does anyone know where, except Knit Picks?
What I always say - knit and learn. I have to get ready for work.