My Strawberry Ishbel


3476583061_5561e80f0b_bRecently, I dyed some yarn with Kool-aid (and blogged about it here). 

This was the result I got with Strawberry and Tropical Punch flavours.  I really liked how it looked in this state, as a skein – a lovely blend of pinky tones from nearly-white to almost-red.

I decided to try making Ishbel, a lovely, lacey shawl/scarf by the Scottish designer, Ysolda Teague. I made the smaller version of the pattern, a triangular scarf. 

3975094974_93549375e2_bThe Malabrigo Lace yarn is so soft, it makes a very luxurious and cozy scarf.  The stripes from my dye job didn’t quite strike my fancy, however… they were a bit too strong and distracted from the lace pattern.

After doing a little reading online about overdyeing and colour-mixing with Kool-aid, I decided to overdye the finished scarf with Black Cherry flavour (which, as far as I can tell, is not available in Canada – but a knitter friend of mine had some to share).

The tricky thing is that you need heat to set the dye, but when natural fibre yarn is heated it can easily felt.  I mixed two packets of Black Cherry Kool-aid and a bit of blue food colouring in a crock pot full of cold water. It looked very dark, sort of inky purple. I submerged the folded-up scarf, put the lid on, and turned the crock pot on low. Then I left it alone, resisting temptation to poke and prod and see how it was doing. 

3975094248_b86709c681_bAfter a few hours, the yarn had soaked up all the dye, and the water was clear. It’s quite amazing how that works! I turned off the crock pot and let it cool down before I removed the scarf, rinsed and blocked it. The colour was a bit of a surprise, I was expecting a darker reddish-violet, but as you can see it ended up in autumnal shades of brownish/orangey red. 

Any knitters familiar with Ishbel will probably see the mistakes I made!  But, considering it’s my first completed lace project, I’m pretty happy with it.


About Kate

An artist and creative living advocate, I blog about Creative Canadian Women at

Posted on October 14, 2009, in crafts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hi Kate
    The scarf is beautiful – such a lovely shade and it looks very intricate. How long did it take you to complete? As I’m not familiar with Ishbel I certainly can’t see any mistakes and I’m sure they’re not that noticeable. We’re always more critical of our own work than others would be. Have you got any project in mind yet for the other skein of Kool-aid dyed wool?

    • Thanks Kathryn! It’s not as intricate as it looks, actually (once I sort of got the hang of lace knitting, that is!) The pattern is very well written, which definitely helped. How long it took…. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but by rough calculation I think it must have taken a total of about 20 hours.

      I’m not sure yet what I will make with the other Kool-aid dyed yarn, but I think I will overdye it before knitting it up. I like the more subtle colour variations that overdyeing produced, and the overall colour is more interesting than a “straight from the packet” Kool-aid colour, so I’ll be doing some more dyeing before I knit that one!

  2. Hi Kate,
    I love the final colour. All those subtle autumnal tones look gorgeous. Ishbel was my first lace shawl as well – thank goodness its so well written so I could find my lace feet so to speak:-)

    Loving your blog layout here, really clean and uncluttered. Liking it a lot!

  3. Wow I so admire you for making this scarve!! It’s brilliant! I like the design *and* the colour!

  4. I cant see any mistakes and I wear it every single day! Thats no lie either, I never take it off, even at work!
    You shouldnt be too critical (says she who says she hates everything shes done lol)

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