April 08, 2007

The Easter Bunny helped me dye yarn!

Hi Everyone!

I have yarn. I have vinegar. I have food coloring. Would it work?

I honestly didn't think it would. I'd read tutorials about Kool Aid dying, acid dying, etc., but I'd never heard of using plain ol' food coloring. I'm sure there's something about it out there in cyberland, but so far, I've missed it. So here's how I did it.

First, while dying eggs, I'd taken two hanks of 100% wool yarn apart and put them in a pot with cool water. I understand this helps the wool absorb the dyes better. Like a damp sponge absorbs better than a dry one.

Second, I hollered at my son just in time to keep him from mixing all the dyes together! I always liked doing that too!

I'd already put a teaspoon of vinegar in each of the glass cups as per the instructions on the box of food coloring. When the eggs were taken out, I added more vinegar (although I didn't measure exactly) and I added a bit more boiling water to each cup. One set of cups had McCormicks "Neon" food colors and one set was the standard four colors of blue, green, red and yellow.

I separated the hank, with no rhyme or reason, and stuck a section of it in each cup (5 different colors). Then, I put the cups, water and yarn goodness in the microwave and zapped it for two minutes. I let it rest for awhile, although there was no set time. BZZZZZ - zapped again for another two minutes. SNORE - letting it rest for awhile. I may have zapped it again, but I really don't remember now! I finally let it cool off totally. The wet paper towels on top of the cups were to keep the exposed yarn wet. I was afraid the yarn would dry out and burn up! That would just be my luck!

As you can see, much of the dye was soaked into the yarn and the cups are relatively clear. Cool, huh?

Now, here are the results. Are they not the neatest thing?!!!?

My mom calls the color on the left, "Tranquility". But the color on the right, which I think is perfect, in my humble opinion, is popsicle". It really fits!

I rinsed the hanks and very little dye bled out. I was actually surprised. To test it further, I wrapped the hanks in a white dishtowel and wrung some of the extra water out of it. Not a single spot!

I'm not sure what I'm going to make with this yarn, but I'm sure in won't be anything to wear. The wool is just too scratchy. A new felted purse perhaps?


loomyjulie said...

Oh my gosh!!!! This is totally awesome!!!!!! The colors are beautiful. You'll have to let us know how it holds up, color wise and what you make out of it.

Anonymous said...

I like it's great! I have played with kool aid but not food coloring! I love how your colors turned out.

Dora Renee' Wilkerson

Becky said...

I love your dye job! I can't wait to see what you knit out of it!

Eva Whitley said...

You ought to send a pointer to this to the McCormick's Consumer Affairs Department. I had a temp job there about 10 years ago, and they were always looking for off-set suggestions. Or you could call it in to 1-800-MEAL-TIP.

Debbie said...


Thank you so much for the suggestion. I will certainly do that. I've recently purchase a couple of rose bushes for my garden and I can't wait to dye some yarn to match them - using McCormicks since it's so easy!