Monday, May 17, 2010

How to Dye Wool with Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid is a permanent dye on wool. Kool-Aid will dye any animal fiber, but it is not suitable for dyeing cellulose fibers, such as cotton, or synthetics. Below are instructions for using the “sun tea” method of dyeing.

Large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid (such as an old sun tea jar, pickle jar, or applesauce jar)
Long-handled spoon that you don’t mind turning the color of your dye
Plastic gloves
Kool-Aid (unsweetened)
Wool fiber or yarn

Remember: All dyeing equipment should be used only for dyeing. Do not return any of these items to kitchen use.

The amount of Kool-Aid dye to use per ounce of fiber/yarn depends on how dark you want your color to be. The more dye you use, the darker the color. In general, estimate 1 package of Kool-Aid per 1 ounce of fiber/yarn.

Pour the Kool-Aid powder into the jar. Fill almost to the top with water. Stir. Gently push the fiber/yarn into the jar with the long-handled spoon, making sure all of it is submerged.

Note: If you want even color, make sure the fiber/yarn can move freely in the jar; don’t pack it in. If you want an uneven, tonal color, pack in as much fiber/yarn as you can. The dye bath will color the fiber/yarn irregularly (which often gives lovely results).

Put the lid on the jar, and close it tightly. Set the jar in the sun for several hours. When the water is clear, all the dye is absorbed.

Note: If you used a large quantity of Kool-Aid per ounce, the fiber/yarn may not be able to absorb all the dye, so the water may not turn clear.

When the water is clear or you feel it is done (as per note above), drain the water from the jar.

To rinse, place the fiber/yarn on some paper towels (so it won’t stain your work surface) while you fill the jar with clean water of the same temperature as the water you just emptied from it. Return the fiber/yarn to the jar, and gently push it down with the long-handled spoon. Let it soak in this rinse water for 5 minutes, then drain the water.

Place the dyed fiber/yarn on a flat surface, or drape it on a clothes hanger to dry.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another Lamb?

Jana lambed yesterday morning -- 4 months after the other ewes! I was certainly surprised when I went out to feed the sheep. The new baby already tried to bounce today as she followed her mother to the upper pasture for hay.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wool and Craft Fairs

Shearing has begun! I sheared Hermes (black ram) last week and Snowden (white ram) on Monday. Hermes was much better behaved than Snowden; the process would have take 1/3 less time if Snowden hadn't fidgeted so much and tried to escape once.

Now I'm washing wool. I'm working on two mail orders and have a craft fair this weekend at which I'm selling, so I'm pretty busy.

Preparing for shows is always time consuming. It's amazing how long it takes to attach price and information tags to everything. Some items, like scarves, I need to measure; wool I have to weigh and package. Writing the fiber content and care instructions on each tag takes time, as well. And that's after I've sheared, spun, woven, or knit the items!

I enjoy it; I just tend to underestimate (every time) how long it takes to get ready for craft fairs. This one is the Mountain Artists Guild 24th Annual Spring Festival of Fine Arts and Crafts, Courthouse Plaza, Prescott, AZ, Saturday, May 8, 2010 & Sunday, May 9, 2010, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. I will be at the Mountain Spinners and Weavers Guild booth, near Gurley St.