I thought I’d throw my two cents in about dyeing wool roving. This is anecdotal, and my results were less than perfect, though I’m happy enough. That’s the disclaimer. Here’s the fun part.
First of all, Kool-Aid is cheap. Secondly, it is very potent making this is a quick crafting experience. The rules are simple: Don’t get it on your fingers. Don’t get it on your clothes or a stainable countertop. I’m told it will wash out of everything (except wool) but I don’t want to chance it. And though I’ve read you should not use a container you would then use for cooking, I used a glass measuring cup I’m not going to throw away. It’s just Kool-Aid and vinegar, both ostensibly edible.
The recipe is terribly complex. Ready? Put a little bit of Kool-Aid and a teaspoon of vinegar in two cups of hot water, and dip. That’s it in a nutshell. Perhaps a bit more nuance is required, but I think the magic happens in the first two seconds, and any lengthy curing in the dye is not that necessary. It might depend upon how much wool you’re dyeing, and what amount of water you’re using. A rule of thumb for me was the wool will wind up being the color of the water. Dark pink = dark pink; light pink = light pink, etc.
You can wait for the liquid to become clear, or not. Some I pulled out right away and there doesn’t seem to be much difference. Rinse in cool water and squeeze softly, so as not to felt the wool. Let it dry thoroughly, of course, and you’ll be ready to start needle felting. I read that this can be done to yarn as well as roving.
My wool is for little add-ons to my pincushions. There are many videos on Youtube that are quite good tutorials using a variety of different dyes for wool roving and yarn. And of course there are plenty of books for what to do with the felt or yarn once you’ve dyed it. One of my favorite books on the subject is Pretty Little Felts by Collings. There’s a “quiet book” project in this I intend to make shortly. Felt Style by Day is more accessory oriented, as is The Big Book of Needle Felting. Felt Inlays by Hoerner is a good starter book that has headbands and very cute jewelry. Needle Felting with Cotton and Wool, Zoeterman and Lenich, has a quilting slant to it. Easy Needle Felting by Hoerner, Jacobs and Kaduce is THE book for altering clothes you already own with the needle-felting technique.
Though my objective was to find the right color wool roving for my pincushion projects, once you start looking into this you will find many corresponding crafts. I’m going to bring this up to my knitting group to see if anyone else would like to start a small break-out session to try some of these projects. I’ll post the results.