Monday, October 18, 2010

To Dye or Not To Dye

I've been dying to dye yarn for awhile now, and yesterday I decided to take the plunge. On Saturday, I bought some Kool-aid packs, as well as a 12 color kit of Wilton's Icing Dye. I didn't know what color(s) to pick, so my husband told me to pick a number and he assigned each color a number. I ended up picking Kelly Green and Royal Blue Wilton's Dye. I searched the web, reading a few tutorials, as well as a few threads on the Ravelry group, What a Kool Way to Dye. Below are pictures of my process, which I did in the Crock Pot.

First, I made a Swifter, from these directions found online. I don't have the money to spend on a professionally made one, and this worked just as good. I bought most of the items at the 99 cent store, the only one I didn't was the lazy susan (from Walmart) and the coffee cup. I had the hangers, but those could be bought at the 99 cent store as well.

Top down of the homemade swifter

This is the yarn I decided to dye from my stash.

The whole skein on my homemade swifter

This is the whole skein- 465 yards. I realized it was too much, so decided to separate it into smaller hanks.

This is the amount I decided to use at first. I have no clue how much it is, but not a large amount.

The yarn in the Crock Pot, waiting for me to fill with water and vinegar. Put just enough to cover the yarn.

I soaked the yarn in a mix of water and vinegar. Then, I mixed the dyes in a cup of boiling water, and poured it in. The green on the right, blue on the left though it kind of merged into one.

After the dyeing process is over, I pulled the yarn out of the Crock Pot (with tongs) and laid it into the clean sink

A close-up of the yarn in the sink straight out of the Crock Pot

This is the yarn after cooling and squishing the water out with a towel.

A close-up of the yarn, wet but not dripping

In this picture, you can see the variation of the skein. It has areas of green, blue and lighter areas the dye didn't hit.

This is my attempt at twisting the yarn into a hank.

Overall, I'm very happy with how it turned out. There are darker and lighter areas I'm not crazy about, but for my first time, you can't go wrong. I'm currently dyeing another section of the skein, which I'll share in a post later this week.


  1. Awesome!! The yarn is gorgeous, and I love the colors.

    It's great to know about a non-cooking use for the Crockpot. I have 6 of 'em. Sigh. At one time, I was cooking for 2 households, and I needed 2 big ones and 2 little ones, but now I just can't bring myself to get rid of them. Then the other 2 came from a MIL and a friend who passed away. Okay, one of them is going to be for dyeing.

    So tell me, at what point did you heat the stuff in the Crockpot, high or low, and how long?

  2. Alea and Nicci, thanks!

    Pentalia, wow, that's a lot of Crock Pots! I only have a small one, and hope to get a bigger one. The great thing about both Kool-Aid and the icing dye, they are both edible so you can use your Crock Pot for food later. Put the yarn in the pot when it's just room temperature out of the tap, and turn it on high with the lid. I put a glass plate on top of the yarn so that it was completely under and let sit for an hour. Then I mixed the colors and poured them in and let cook for another hour with the lid on. When done, the water should be clear, leaving all dye in the yarn. Make sure to be careful because the water and yarn will be SUPER hot!

  3. Thank you! I've got a big t-shirt I've been dying to try this with so I can make tarn that's not old-t-shirt-white.

  4. Your yarn is pretty! I started dyeing with Kool-Aid and lately with McCormick food coloring drops -- even when I don't get what I planned, I still love the results. It's an instant gratification project too -- I can dye yarn way faster than I can knit it up :-)

  5. Pentalia, I'm not sure how well it will work on a cotton shirt. It doesn't work on cotton dye I believe. you may have to get the t-shirt dye that may have a different compound. You can always try it!

    Marushka, thank you! Isn't it so fun! I have another piece of the skein in the Crock Pot now using Kool-aid and the icing dye. Can't wait to see it!

  6. Ah, that's good to know. Actually, I was planning to use tea or coffee for the dye.

  7. I tell you another easy way I've done it. I soaked the hanks in a basin of warm water with a cup of white vinegar. I diluted the Wiltons in those condiment squirt bottles from the dollar store with a bit more vinegar and hot water. Wring out the hanks and place on a length of plastic wrap. Squirt the dye on the areas you want it. Seal up the plastic wrap and put in a microwave container and heat in the microwave for a few minutes, rest a bit then another few minutes. Let it cool.

    I've also put the plastic wrap bundles in a baking dish and put in the oven on 140F for 30 minutes. Let it cool.

  8. Wow, great to know, Denise! That would be a lot faster in time than what I'm doing. Do you put a lid on the microwave container or just leave it open?

  9. When I've done it, you don't need a lid for the container in the microwave.

  10. Pretty yarn! Isn't dyeing addictive?!

  11. Word Lily, thanks! I'm going to try it this week!

    elephantJuice, omg, so addictive! I have another skein to share that I dyed on Monday and I bought 8 more dye colors at Michaels yesterday, plus another ball of wool. I'm excited to hear of a faster way to do it (the microwave!)

  12. If it's wrapped up really well with the plastic wrap, no lid is needed really.

  13. Oh I love the color(s). Great going!