dyeing to play

indigo … cochineal … Osage orange … these were some of the natural dyes that the talented  Kim Gibson gave a talk on … followed by a hands on demo last week …


being a big fan of the color blue … indigo especially intrigued me … it is perfect for over dying fabrics giving them a common thread … if I had taken notes I would have some proper technical terms here … but you get the idea


it is always special when you can spend time with passionate people … someone who Loves what they do … Kim is a very talented and generous  artist … full of information and inspiration


at first I thought I would just watch and listen … then realized it would be silly to miss the chance to play …. luckily since the gathering was held in our local fabric store … there was plenty of cotton to buy … I used white and off white for each of the pieces I am showing here


I took a good yard or so of dyed fabric pieces home in plastic baggies to dry


tying a couple of loose knots made these great patterns above


and the Osage orange strip of fabric didn’t thrill me quite as much until I scrunched and squeezed  one piece of the deep indigo around it before drying it  … I learned a lot and had a great time in the process … Kim Gibson teaches fiber arts classes at our local G Street Fabric stores

a couple of days later I needed some watermelon red wool for a project so I thought I would give dying with Kool-Aid a whirl …


I have wanted to try it ever since I saw Dot’s beautiful array of Kool-Aid dyed wool roving … still sorry I did not snap a picture of that … but you know how it is when you get in the room with lots of creative people … the energy levels are high and it is all very exciting … that’s my excuse and I’m stickin to it 😉

… while Kool-Aid is not exactly “natural” in my view … you can do the dying in a regular kitchen pot


it was quick and easy and silly me buying just one package of the mix (we never were big Kool-Aid drinkers at all what with all those names we couldn’t pronounce in the ingredient list) … be sure you use unsweetened 😉

the pale color yarn on the left was an afterthought … but as you can see the pieces put in the pot before it … sucked most of the color out already … playing with dye and fabric is chuck full of wonderful surprises

19 responses to “dyeing to play

  1. whoa,,,what you have boiling on the stove…Mr. Magpie came home and said…oh honey,,,what´s for dinner…………he opens the pot and UGH,,,
    yeah, really tasty looking ,,,my dear…and left for Pizza Hut ,,,right?
    Trust me,,,we all understand ,,in the name of art …well this looked like a great way to spend your day. I was off painting sunflowers with the artsy pals,,,what a great day we had too!!
    I am trying to send an email to your yahoo but it already got returned once…..it has to do with the “Bee saga” and my Sunday Freebie paper……..ok,,,,enough ,,,I will leave enough room for all your other fans to leave their kind words.

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  2. Who wants Kool-Aid?!!!! Ahhhhhh….a national treasure my friend!

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  3. ahh fabrics, they are sooo pretty and versatile!! the blue is gorgeous and of course all the “play” is worth it!! glad you had fun!! hugs steph

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  4. Those blues are gorgeous, each different and intriguing, Loved the butterfly.

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  5. indigo is the most intriguing of blues. beautiful.

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  6. Very fun! I never thought to tie-dye with Koolaid but it makes sense; I have dots of red on my countertop that just won’t clean.

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  7. Looks like you had a fun time 🙂 Love the blue piece with the butterfly-ish shape on it.

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  8. KoolAide works on any animal fiber…silk, wool, dog hair, alpaca,etc. as well as human hair but I wouldn’t advise trying the red…wonder what blueberry jello would look like. Both Jello and KoolAide with a little vinegar and salt work well.

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  9. You’ve given me a serious case of “the blues” today, Patty! Your fabrics are awesome! As for the KoolAide – Holy Cow! I love the results. Who knew??? I’ve heard about the process, but haven’t tried it. I do love the contrast between the first pieces of dyed wool and the pale later version of the same color. What a fabulous post today – full of inspiration. Hugs, Terri xoxo

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  10. You and I are on the same wavelength this week. I’ve been removing color and you’ve been adding it. I have been gathering lots of information on natural dyes, but need a whole lot of things to make it work, like mordant and other silly terms I can’t remember, either. If you have day lilies, the spent flowers, cooked for about an hour, are supposed to make a fabulous color, anywhere from pink to green, depending on the original lily color.

    I’ve got to get some Kool-Aid. I can’t wait to try this. It looks too, too fun.

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  11. Marilyn Rock

    How fun! And……………yummy! Luscious colors!

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  12. Pingback: gypsy journey continued … « Magpie's Nest ~*~ Patty Szymkowicz

  13. The blues are awesome! Why didn’t I ever think of Kool-aid to use as dye!! My kids always have the “Joker” smile after red Kool-aid.

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  14. Love what you did with the Kool-Aid….understand your not wanting to drink it. The results are great!! Need to play some.

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  15. Oh how fun! It reminds me that I have a whole tub of silky ribbon and some flowers I’ve made from using the koolaid dye. I’m with you on the ingredients though! Your fabrics turned out beautifully!

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  16. omg imagine the color of your insides after a glass of that stuff!!!

    i do love your dying tho, something ive yet to try…

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  17. Oh cool! I have wanted to start dyeing fabric, but do I really need more supplies to do something different? Yes!!! It will have to wait awhile though ~ maybe next summer…

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  18. Fascinating… never could stand kool-aid but what a great way to use it and would have never thought to use the non-sugar one….. Hmmmmm, how to attract ants without really trying , or bees, or any other sugar addict out there. I might give this a try! hugs

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  19. yep, this is what we were trying to do as kids…good thing I never knew about kool aid, my mom would really have had a hissy! these fabrics turned out beautiful….gotta love that indigo……

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