12 in 2012: #5 Try Three New Natural Dye Recipes

Ok, so I’m not sure that KoolAid quite counts as “natural”, but I figure since it is technically a “food” product it can only be so harmful.  I am also impressed that my daughter now associates it with dyeing yarn and was shocked that you can actually drink the stuff.

Prompted by several articles on the internet that dealt with the subject of KoolAid dyeing, and wanting to produce a colour that was a bit brighter than my norm, I decided to try it out.

Dyeing with KoolAid is extremely easy.  Basically fill your pot with enough water to just cover the yarn you are dyeing, then add the KoolAid and yarn and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about half an hour.  Rinse the yarn and hang to dry and you are done.  Couldn’t be simpler and definitely a good go-to product if you are wanting a brighter colour and in a hurry.

I was quite surprised at how well the yarn took the dye (I used 100% wool yarn).  By the end the water in the pot was clear as the yarn had absorbed it all.  I was also surprised that when I rinsed the yarn after dyeing that no dye came out- makes you wonder what KoolAid does to the inside of your body as that colour is not coming out anytime soon.


I did all the rinsing and drying outside to avoid any staining and mess in the house.  My yarn turned a really quite nice bright blue that I can see myself using in just about any project.  I also followed advice to not push the yarn into the dye but rather to let it settle on its own.  This gave the yarn a nice variegated colour that I quite like.

One more natural dye recipe to go!


Visiting Van Gogh


This past weekend we went to see the “Van Gogh Up Close” exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.  There were approximately 45 of his paintings on display, ranging from flowers and still-lifes to landscapes.  The majority of his “famous” paintings were not there, but there were a few familiar pieces.

At first the exhibit was difficult to see because people who were using the audio-tour feature were crowding around the first few paintings.  Once you by-passed them and moved to the next room it was much emptier.  Many times I was the only one standing in front of a painting at a time.

Overall I thought the exhibit was well-done.  It was certainly nice to be able to get up close to the paintings and see the actual brush-strokes and colours that make the whole of the painting.   Getting that close made me realize that he in-fact tossed out many of the rules that I’m being exposed to in my art class and basically did whatever worked for him.  It motivates me to continue to tackle my landscape painting and my figure painting but try doing it with the colours and technique that I think will work.  I figure it can’t hurt to experiment- at the end of the day they are certainly not going to be masterpieces so may as well have fun with them.


On Landscape Painting: In Progress….

Last week and the week before in my art class we were dealing with landscape painting.  I was particularly interested in this subject as, well, I do a lot of landscape art.  We got to choose our own photo to work from and I selected this one from our trip to Iceland in 2009.  It was the view from the front door of our cottage when we stayed on the Westmann Islands.


My painting is still in progress and needs quite a bit of work to consider it “complete.”  This is just the initial layer of paint and then I am to layer over that with detailing and shadowing.


It should also be said that this is not my first attempt at the piece.  Initially I had added in a lot more bolder colours with the notion that then I would blend and layer on top of those to come up with a result that I was happy with.  But, it turned out that was not the right approach and so I had to paint over that to get this base to work with.

I’m not sure I have a bunch of lessons to share that I have learned from the process of landscape painting, like I did from the flower painting.  I think in general I have come to the conclusion that mixing paints just annoys me.  In rug-hooking I can look through my selection of colours or go to a store and find the colour that I want and just use it.  In painting, you are endlessly mixing and I inevitably don’t mix enough and then have to mix more, trying to get the exact shade that I had before (which for me just about never happens).  My husband seems to think that I am improving on the way that I see colour, but I’m not sure.  I feel like the emphasis on layering is not really transferrable to my art form.

I really think a course that emphasized drawing alone would have been a better choice.  But what this has done is that it has motivated me to buy a few books on drawing and to start to think about making the time to sit and work on the drawing aspect on my own.  So that can only be a good thing.

This week we worked on the human form.  I’ll post my work in progress on that painting next week.

And a quick note to say there won’t be a recipe of the week.  We are planning to do a two-recipe brunch either next week or weekend so thought we would skip this week.  We may also be a bit more sporadic during the summer months as it becomes more difficult to coordinate our schedules, but there will still be recipes and I’m sure we’ll get more regular again the fall.

Have a great weekend!