Monday, April 19, 2010

Dying for Mohair and Alpaca

Hello everyone:

Recently I purchased a bunch of white mohair and alpaca of all different styles and lengths. I decided to take the plunge tonight and try the Kool-aid dying. For those of you who have been on Desert Mountain Bears with Joanne Livingston you will have had a tutorial on Kool-aide already using water only, salt, no salt, vinegar etc. So I am not going to get into that.

However I did use the same recipe as Joanne so we could compare notes and see the differences. I agreed with liking the white backing and so used just water at 1 cup water to 1/2 tsp of Kool-aide. I also tried no name brand and had great results.

I began using 30 minutes as Joanne did in her tutorial and I used actual Kool-aid on white mohair:

This came out very vibrant and a nice bright pinkish orange.

Next I decided to play around with the time used to process the mohair. I started with 10 minutes using orange no name brand with the same water to kool-ade (no name) ratio.
The first set is alpaca and mohair at 10 minutes
next alpaca at 20 minutes
next alpaca at 30 minutes
I was using short alpaca against longer mohair and found the alpaca held the colour far stronger than the mohair. Also I did not find any difference between the 20 min. swatch and the 30 minute swatch.

This led to the next stage of tests... going with very little time in the solution. Don't forget too this is all done on very low heat on the stove in an old pot

I started with 3 minutes, then went to 5 minutes and lastly 8 minutes. I found the difference between the colour saturation to be significant enough that I would choose different times for different purposes even at this small amount of time difference. So here are the swatches from each of these times in alpaca and mohair and the 30 minute swatch on the left of the same kool-aid (Strawberry - Kiwi). 

I keep my mohair samples in a little journal with quick hand written notes... nothing fancy but it keeps them all together in one place. It is easy to flip through and fold the pages back as above to compare colours together etc. 

If you have ever thought of trying to dye your mohair yourself and have been worried, I hope this and Joanne's blog log help to get you over the hump. As a side note: another thing I really liked about this form of dying is that as the mohair simmers away in the pot the room is filled with the wonderful fragrance of the fruit scent that you are using. My whole house smells like Strawberry - Kiwi... Yummy!

Have fun and have a wonderful time experimenting with colour!


  1. Thank you Michelle for this. I love the more muted colors of the lesser time. And I never thought to by the no name stuff. They do have some different flavors. Gosh aren't the swatches beautiful.

  2. Many thanks for visiting my blog Michele and it was lovely to find yours.
    Love all the beautiful colours you have dyed the mohair.

    Have a happy week