Needle felting part 1- Dyeing wool

dyed with Kool Aid!

Thanks to my friend Madame Mudslinger who suggested I look into this!  I’ve just come off a marathon research session on needle felting and have decided it’s the next thing I’m going to teach myself.  Here’s a cute little video that shows 2D image felting and another which shows 3D shape felting.

I’m totally twitterpated with this idea.  So I found a few websites that sell needle felting materials.  It’s pretty expensive! But I was at the farmer’s market today and found 15oz of wool for 15$  this is pretty good since most websites sell wool roving for around 5$/oz.  yikes!

So the first part of this felting journey is all about dyeing wool.  I’ve read up on it, and though I thought using beets would be a simple idea… apparently, they don’t make a good textile dye – even for wool!  who’d a thunk it?!

Apparently, the best dye is Kool Aid!  This makes me happy.  a) because I don’t want to have to buy a bunch of bonding agents like alum and b) because there are so many different colours and c) because … well… Kool Aid!

Before getting the Kool Aid I thought I’d try a little beet dyeing just for fun.  I took a little bit of wool and for fun dyed one bit with beets, another with tea, another with coffee and a last one with turmeric.

Here’s the unscientific way I did it:

1- boil the beets/coffee/tea/turmeric to steep them in their own little baths

2- strain out the liquid (dye)

3-put the wool in the bath and simmer for awhile… an hour is what people say, but honestly, the beets didn’t even simmer at all and the turmeric for only 5 minutes or so.

clockwise from red: beets, tea, turmeric, coffee

4- I added a bit of vinegar to bond the dye in the coffee and the beets…

I read somewhere that it’s a good idea.

5- I let it cool and soak for about 24 hours.

6- take out the wool and rinse

They turned out really well!

Next step!  finding a felting needle and other felting supplies… hmmmmmm

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2 responses to this post.

  1. email me your address and I will send you a needle I just found a bunch yesterday. The kool aid dying is super easy, just be sure and use the cheapy unsweetened stuff, and set it with vinegar.
    Onion skin makes a nice dye as well.

    Reply

  2. thanks so much! I did the Kool Aid and the colours were amazing. I didn’t use vinegar though… I guess if I’m not going to be washing whatever I make, it may be ok.
    I’m soaking some in onion skins right now 🙂

    Reply

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