I'm just dyeing to show you this


These aren't the best photos ever taken, but I wanted to record my first ever dyeing experiment. If you can believe it, I started with some handspun cashmere. I know, loco.

But, lest you think I'm completely irrational, part of the reason I went with cashmere is that I knew it would just languish in a big pile of undyed lovely handspun I have sitting around and also, it doesn't felt, so it'd be harder to ruin. So there, method + madness = marnie.

Dyeing Cashmere
1. Undyed Cashmere, 2. Cashmere in Black Cherry Kool-Aid, 3. Cashmere dyed with Kool-Aid, 4. Overdyeing Cashmere, 5. Kool-Aid used for overdyeing, 6. Exhausted dye bath, 7. First go at dyeing, 8. First go at dyeing
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.


  • Fiber: Mongolian Cashmere
  • Yards: 168
  • Source: Chameleon Colorworks
  • Plies: 2 (using the Andean Plying method. Can you say, "hand cramp"?)
  • WPI: 12
  • First Dye: 2 packets of Black Cherry Kool-Aid
  • Second Dye: 1 packet of Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade and 1 packet of Grape Kool-Aid

I found out the hard way that you need to tie your figure eight even looser than you think you need to. My first dye session didn't quite get around some of the knots and left a few white patches. I knew I was going to overdye the yarn so I figured it'd just add more interest, but it still wasn't my intention, you know? To make sure the second pass dyed properly over those spots, I reskeined the yarn to distribute the light patches, and tied really loose figure eights all around. Way more beuno.

The second go, I used two flavors and, what surprised me is that the yarn drank the grape way faster than it drank the blue raspberry lemonade. The water started out a deep dark, nearly black purple, but was pure cyan about ten minutes after dropping the yarn in. It took almost a full hour for all the cyan to be absorbed. So there you go, cashmere likes grape. Take note.

So dyeing went fine. I'm not sure it's my "thing" but I'm glad I gave it a go. Kool-Aid is a great safe bet for the uninitiated who has some wool lying around. If you want to learn more, yourself, you can check out this knitty article.


I applaud your choice of materials. Too many people sit on "the good stuff" and let it languish. :)

I agree with Jasmin - if you've got the good stuff, use it! Lovely results, too. I prefer using gel food coloring because I just don't love the aroma of Kool-Aid, but it's so fun to pick out flavors!

Great job! Dying fiber is so much fun too. With it being close to easter I'm stocking up on some of those tablet easter dyes for an article I read using them to dye wool.

What a yummy project! I just love those deep colors you got! :)

As always, I love it when you decide to experiment! Now I can't wait to see what the cashmere calls out to you for it's final transformation!

Yay for dyeing! And yes, loose ties are definitely required, unless you like the white/light speckles in your yarn. It could make for a nice effect in some yarns, though!

I keep saying I'm going to try this....I really must...yours looks very successful!

isn't it fun? it appeals to the former lab geek in me.

It looks great! This is on my to-do list and it helps to see others give it a whirl. Thanks!

Makes sense that yarn made from goats would prefer grapes...

Wonderful job. I love the deep color you were able to get with the Kool Aid.

I used the Knitty article too as a guide for when I tried Kool Aid dying. Liqua-Gel food coloring works great too - I like their colors better than Kool-Aid.

Gorgeous! I have PAAS egg dye waiting, and sme great single-ply I bought a while ago.....I can see what nextweekend will be holding for me!

Turquoise/cyan, these are always the last colours to be absorbed in almost any form of dye - the Navajo used to say that the colour didn't want to leave the sky!

This tendency can be manipulated to create interesting effects.

I love your Kool-Aid cashmere! A bit of a caviar and budweiser pairing, but I totally understand it.

I recently tried natural dyeing, but I have to say that I ended up with pale, felty stuff that resembled fiberglass insulation more than anything else! I like synthetic dyes more. And now that I have a microwave, I can dye a batch and clean up in half an hour... And the stuff I dyed for the Knitty article is still crasha-banga-booma vibrant, so no worries there!

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This page contains a single entry by Marnie published on March 19, 2009 9:20 PM.

Keeping it simple was the previous entry in this blog.

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