Healing Handcrafting

exploring process and healing through fiber arts and handcrafting

Wool and Kool-Aid = Fun Times

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I’ve gotten a bit behind in sharing what I’m working on. My last post was a share of a fellow blogger who was kind enough to detail her Kool-Aid yarn dyeing know-how. Well, I tried it yesterday with clean, uncarded wool. I needed to practice with the stuff before I brought it into my daughter’s kindergarten class to dye wool that they will be using in an art project in a few weeks.

Last week, the children washed raw wool. I wish I could share pictures of it, but you know… privacy and other people’s children is very important to honor! Let me just tell you it was funny, wonderful and I was so proud of all of them. It is true that there was a lot of “ewwwww!!!!” and “gross!” and “it smells like poop!”, but I can assure you that there was no poop in the wool and once they realized it was kind of like petting sheep, they got over it, and all of the kids wanted to put the wool into the warm, soapy water.

I had to do a few rinses of the wool once I got home because there just wasn’t time to get it all done at school.

This week I’ll bring some of that washed wool back to school to have them dye it. I was stumped when I was trying to figure out how to expose them to wool dyeing- I have gotten really into plant dyes and have done some dyeing with synthetic products, but those are stinky, kind of complicated and very time consuming. Somewhere along the way, I came across a mention of Kool-Aid dyeing, but when I first started researching it, I found a lot of links to directions involving heat, stoves and time. That’s why I was so excited to find this link.

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I tried it myself yesterday and loved the results. This is what I did:

I separated my wool into weighted amounts: 4 2 oz piles and 1 1 oz pile. I then soaked the wool in warm water for 30 minutes. While the wool was soaking, I got my dyes set up.

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I had three half-gallon mason jars and one one-quart mason jar.

In each of the three large mason jars, I put four packets of Kool-Aid, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and filled them about half-way up with warm water. I then stirred the mixture well.

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In the one-quart mason jar, I put two packets of Kool-Aid, a 1/4 cup of white vinegar, and half filled it with warm water.

I had an extra glass bowl hanging around and put three packets of raspberry Kool-Aid in that, along with 1/2 cup of white vinegar and some warm water.

Once the 30-minutes of soaking was up, I put the wool in their respective jars and bowl, added warm water until the wool was submerged, covered the jars and bowl and then put them all in a sunny spot for about 4 hours.

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When I was happy with the color absorption, I pulled out the wool and rinsed. I was delighted with the results and know this will be wonderful for a classroom experiment/project. The color was not totally spent in the dye bath; I’m not sure if that’s because I used too much Kool-Aid for the fiber that was in the bath, or if I didn’t leave it in long enough.

I am so excited to do this with the kids next week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Author: healinghandcrafting

I am a psychologist and a fiber enthusiast. I have a deep interest in the healing effects of handcrafting, and its place in our common histories.

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