Tuesday, May 31, 2011


When I was younger (okay, up until around four years ago), one of my favorite things to do was choose a somewhat outrageous shade of red and apply it to my head. It all began in the 6th grade, when my girlfriends and I would use Kool Aid to color strands of our hair green or blue or pink. Sometimes, it made a mess (my old apartment's bathroom looked a bit like a crime scene after one particularly careless incident). Sometimes, it made me look a bit mad, but it was always fun, always a change. And, I love color.

Monday, I tried a new kind of dyeing. I colored some wool using Kool Aid dyes! I found a couple of nice tutorials ("How I hand-painted using Kool-Aid or food coloring dyes" and "Hand Painted - Dyed Yarns"). It was actually much easier (and less messy) than I had anticipated, although I learned a few things to do differently next time! Here are the pictures...

Ramen & bread dough?

The yarn on the left was hand spun from KnitPicks bare roving Peruvian Wool. On the right, I used Peruvian Wool Silk roving. In this photo, the fiber is bathing in some water-vinegar mixture.

The assorted "dyes"

At this point, I got a bit excited about the process and forgot to take many additional photos... but, the gist is that I soaked, then laid out the fiber and squirted on the dye and then microwaved it to set the dye. Then, I had to wait for it to cool, rinse it and hang it to dry. Here are the final results...


Cherry/Grape, Strawberry and Orange!

The yarn was fun to color. I used squirt bottles and did spaces of dark red, red and orange. As you can see, it bled together a lot, but it still varies. I could have gone for a bit more color intensity and will probably be more generous with the Kool Aid in the dye next time. I might also try it on a flatter surface than in a baking dish, in hopes that the dye wouldn't run as badly. I was pleasantly surprised though, it looked like there were a lot of white spots when I first put it in the microwave to set the color, but the dye spread and it all ended up taking on color!

Lemon/Lime, Raspberry Lemonade, Cherry/Grape

The fiber sucked in the dye like a sponge. I used more dye on it than on the yarn, and it still stayed uncolored in most spots! I think it will spin up nicely, but it wasn't what I was expecting. If I were to dye fiber again, I would probably soak it in just one color, or I would braid it and then apply the color like I see so many artists do on etsy.

I am considering buying some Jacquard dyes, but I'll probably stick with Kool Aid for now because it's so cheap (and the smell is nice!). I am pretty excited about knitting the yarn I spun and colored, spinning the roving and trying it all again!


I can't believe how long it's been since I posted over here... seven months?! How did that happen? It's not that I haven't been crafting. On the contrary, I've learned a whole new skill! But, since it's been all fibercraft, Ravelry has kind of taken the place of this blog as my brag space.

For my birthday, back in February, my favorite sister ever gave me a spinning wheel! At first, I was intimidated. Sure, the name "Babe" doesn't inspire fear, but it's mechanical, you have to take things like tension and speed into consideration, and you have to do things with BOTH feet and BOTH hands at the same time! For someone with my considerable lack of coordination, this can be a little scary. After several trial sessions, which deteriorated into cussing fits, I finally had a long talk with myself, sat myself down and worked through a batch of fiber. And you know what? It turned out just fine! Even kind of lovely, in its own way.

My first yarn!

Even though it feels like I've spun a lot since then, I've actually only tried a few more times, but I see improvement with every try.


Note: #3 is featured in the next post.



The funny thing is, I've made this yarn but have yet to knit anything with it! The last two skeins were from borrowed fiber, so they go back to my friend in the knitting club. Also, I've made such small amounts, it can be tough to pick a project that will fit. I am learning to spin thinner yarn though, which makes it go farther and I'm also really excited to be able to order undyed yarn (cheap!) from knitpicks. The wheels are turning, and I have plans for larger quantities (woot! bad spinning joke!) so that I can eventually start a larger project, knit from yarn that I've spun and dyed!