Kool-Aid dyeing revisited

>> Thursday, October 29, 2009

This morning I did a little Kool-Aid dyeing with some white roving I had in my stash. I've been seeing fat braids of yummy hand painted roving online but I'm feeling poor so I decided I should try it myself. We'll see how it goes...

I've noticed that roving with mixed colours can look garish, but once spun up and plied it changes how the colours work together. I've been seeing stunning examples on Flickr which have really inspired me.

While looking up info on spinning I found some tips on dyeing roving. I was reminded about how easy it is to do dyeing with Kool-Aid which allows you to use your regular dishes. I even had some Kool-Aid left over from dyeing yarn a long time ago so I didn't even have to go to a bunch of grocery stores trying to find a range of flavours.


1. Add warm water and 1/2 cup of vinegar to a microwaveable dish. I used a ceramic dish. Place your roving lined up in rows to soak. You can push the roving down into the water but throughout the process handle it gently so that it doesn't felt - no twisting/wringing etc. And no moving the wool from hot to cold which shocks the fibres and can lead to felting.
*Don't use a rectangular dish that won't fit into your microwave because you will be sorry when you have to try to move a soppy mess of Kool-Aid soaked roving into another smaller dish and you will be very frustrated and feel stupid. Ask me how I know.

I mixed a variety of flavours: orange, strawberry, lemon-lime and raspberry with red and blue food colouring

2. While the roving is soaking you can organize your colours. I opened the packets of Kool-Aid into glasses of water and stirred them. You can use some paper towel as a palette to dab with each colour so that you can see it clearly. Mixing can give you colours like brown and olive green, if you prefer bright colours don't mix! Of course you can add extra water to dilute a colour and make it lighter.

3. After soaking the roving for 10 minutes I applied the Kool-Aid. Pour or spoon the Kool-Aid onto the wool wherever you'd like the colour to go. You can use a spoon to gently pat and spread the colour around. Remember it will blend a bit more by itself.

4. When you're happy with how the roving looks carefully place the dish in the microwave. The water should just barely cover the yarn.

5. Microwave for 5 minutes and take out your dish using oven mitts. Tilt the dish a tiny bit so that you can see the water. If it's clear then the wool has absorbed the dye.
This is the only picture I took of roving in the dish, this one was a bit of a mistake, I meant the colours to be more distinct. I'll wait and see how it looks spun up & plied

6. Let the dish of roving sit and cool down. Once it's cool you can rinse the roving and pat with a towel before hanging to dry. Remember not to twist or wring the yarn.

Next post you can see how mine turned out!


mamafox October 31, 2009  

The colors turned out amazing. I have used Kool-aid to dye play silks for my daughters, but the yarn is simply gorgeous. Love the name too.

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