Kool-Aid dyeing felted wool roving for a crochet llama hat

Yesterday when I sat down to work on my current front burner project, things were moving along just fine until–when I had the base of the hat and the earflaps crocheted– I paused for a moment to reflect. The hat, as it was, was substantially more neutral than what I typically crochet, and the brown I had considered using for the bangs and the snout would not change that at all, so I decided to reach deep into my crochet/yarn toolkit and do some Kool-Aid dyeing.

The base of an adult size crochet llama hat with earflaps

Kool-Aid dyeing is a remarkably simple process that you can use to change or enhance the color of a natural fiber. It has the advantage of having an acid built right into the dye product, and you can mix various flavors to get exactly the color you want.

I started by cutting yarn in the lengths I would need for braids on either earflap and one very long piece to use to crochet the snout:

Off-white yarn cut in lengths and ready to be dyed.

Then I headed to the store to find a Kool-Aid flavor that was in the “pink” family. I had previously used the pink lemonade to good effect, and I went to the store thinking I would walk out with ten packets of it and be on my merry way.

Then I saw the watermelon. I love watermelon. I love the flavor, I love the color. I was unable to resist, but fearing that unadulterated watermelon would overwhelm the off-white, I decided to do a 50/50 mix: half pink lemonade and half watermelon, and it came out better than had hoped:

The same off-white yarn after kool-aid dyeing
The Kool-Aid dyed yarn

and once the longest strand of yarn had dried, I wound it around the empty plastic M&M container, and had a small skein of yarn to work from:

A small skein of yarn after Kool-Aid dyeing
The yarn, after dyeing, wound into a teensy, tiny skein

Working with the things you have to create new things is an enormously satisfying way to spend one’s time. I forces you to see things in ways you might otherwise overlook, as you move forward, one stitch at a time.

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