I found a 100% wool sweater at Goodwill for $3.75. I washed it and then unraveled it. I was able to harvest all of the yarn except for the two front panels and the collar. Probably got about $25 worth of wool from this sweater.
I wrapped a hat's worth of yarn around a couple of kitchen chairs in order to get a skein that wouldn't get tangled when dying. I tied white cotton waste yarn about every 16 inches.
I soaked the skein of yarn about 30 minutes in a water-vinegar mixture (one qt. water to 1/4 cup vinegar). I added the vinegar because I was planning on dying with food colors. When dying with koolaid (which has citric acid already in it) you don't have to add the vinegar for acidity.
I squeezed water from the yarn and then put the soaking water into a stainless steel pot and added about six drops yellow food coloring. It looked too bright yellow (I wanted a dark yellow), so I added one tiny drop of red hoping that it would just darken the yellow (to match the Steeler's jerseys), but it made it orange!
I kept it just below a simmer for about 30 minutes.
Here's the peach yarn after about 30 minutes of simmering. You can see that the water is now clear and all the dye has been absorbed into the yarn.
Since the peach yarn was now orange, I started over with some off-white Cascade 220 wool and repeated the process with a packet of lemonade and a few drops of yellow food color.
Now for the black. I simmered some of the peach yarn in 6 drops red, 6 drops blue and 4 drops green. After drying, the yarn was just dark gray, so I repeated the process and finally ended up with a suitable black.
Since I wasn't happy with the dark gray recycled yarn, I thought I'd try dying some cranberry colored wool using the same ratio of food colors. (This is the yarn during the presoak.) It ended up having too much red still in it, so that's when I went back and re-dyed the dark gray recycled yarn.
After gently squeezing out the water and blotting with a paper towel, I hung the skeins to dry. I hung a coat hanger from the orange recyled yarn to help get out some of the kinks.
Next post: Carter in his Steelers hat!!