Monday, May 15, 2017

Dyeing with Kool-Aid

Annual Fiber Guild Spring Retreat
dyeing wool with Kool-Aid and food coloring
May 2017
(click collage to enlarge images)
I had a great time at the Guild's annual spring retreat earlier this month. The morning class was dyeing wool yarn with Kool-Aid and food coloring. The Guild purchased all the supplies and paid the instructors, but the class was free. I had a great time.

The class gave me the confidence that I needed to jump in and try the process. I've been wanting to do this for ages. I had some off-white wool that I reclaimed years ago and took two skeins to the class.

skeins of wool that I dyed in the class
Top - the skein provided - 100% wool
Middle and bottom skeins are reclaimed wool
 85% wool and 15% mohair

The instructors had seven large crock pots available for steaming or stewing the yarn. I chose to use the same technique for all three skeins - hand-painting. Others in the class dyed in a bowl in the crockpots as well as using Mason jars for saturated color.

The next day, I decided to dye more skeins in two different immersion dye pots.

blue and green Wilton icing pastes
purple, blue, and red Wilton icing pastes
purple dye pot skeins in the middle
blue dye pot skeins on the end. 

No bleeding during the final rinse, so the color should be colorfast.

reclaimed and dyed yarn
75% wool and 25% nylon
reclaimed and dyed yarn
75% wool and 25% nylon

I'm thrilled with the results - the class yarns and the ones I dyed at home. I will definitely dye more wool in the future.  This class and others in previous years are the main reason I belong to the Fiber Guild: so many talented individuals that are willing to teach, and even more who want to learn new skills.

The turquoise color is my favorite, and I've already cast on a project to see how it looks knit.


  1. What fun! And you did a beautiful job! I love it all - your hand painted skeins are really pretty. Now...what will you be knitting with all this lovely yarn?

  2. You did a fantastic job! They are ALL gorgeous. Now must get to the knitting so we can see how they work up. LOL

  3. Oh Nancy! I wish I lived near you. I have been wanting to learn to dye yarn for years and I'm afraid to try it on my own. I just love all the beautiful yarn that the indy dyers are making these days, but I can't afford to buy them. Your yarn turned out so beautifully! I'm thinking that if I started dying, I would just be falling down a rabbit hole! I may never come out of the dye pots! Ha ha!
    Blessings, Betsy

  4. Really gorgeous! You did a beautiful job on these.

  5. Oh my gosh they are beautiful. I have always wanted to learn to dye with Kool-Aid. I'm looking forward to seeing what you knit with these!

  6. You lucky lady! I love the yarn you have dyed. And, how beneficial that you had some reclaimed wool to work with too. I may have to look at Kool Aid dying -- either for fabric or yarn! I'll try to keep my eyes peeled to see what you make from your wonderful yarns!

  7. Oh that purple, blue, red wool! So nice, I want some!

  8. Ahhh, dyeing your own wool/yarn is a slippery slope! Enjoy the slide! Your yarns are beautiful!

  9. I love the Kool-Aid dying you did. Beautiful job! Can't wait to see what you create from those gorgeous colors.


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