DIY: Yarn Dyeing with Food Color

Hey Everyone, 

Long time no see. It's been awhile since but I think this one is a great one and will make up for lost time.

I'm going to teach you how to dye natural protein fibers with things you may already have in your kitchen. Yup that's right you heard correct. I'd like to give a huge shout out to Sarah over at for having such a helpful site. This is why I'm bringing it to you guys. So let's just get right into then shall we. 

Things you'll need:
Gloves ( to protect you hands)
Microwave safe containers (this is for the dye baths)
Food Color ( Wilton's, McCormick's or Kool-aid the unsweetened kind)
Paper towel or Cloth towel (optional)
Tongs (optional)
Measuring Cup (liquid)
Measuring Spoons
Natural Protein based fiber ( Wool, Wool Blend, Alpaca, Angora, Silk)
Scale (optional)
measuring tape/ruler

OK so the things that I used are a 12pk of Mason Jar for canning, 4pk of Mcc Neon food color and 4pk of Mcc Assorted food color, Vinegar, Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool 100% virgin wool. 

This tutorial is going to show you the steps you need to get about 96 colors excluding anything in the black family. 

Dye bath ratio will be as followed. 
4 drops food color
1tsp vinegar
8oz water
3 yards of yarn or .2 oz if you're using a scale

(you just want to make sure you have enough water to cover the yarn so that it doesn't burn or scorch in the microwave) 

Getting Started:

1. measure and cut as many 3 yard mini skeins as you're going to need. 
2. Soak mini skeins in warm water with a touch of vinegar for about 15 to 20 minutes (this will help with the dye take up in the bath later)
3. prepare dye baths ( follow the dye bath ratio above. just make sure that for every 8oz of water you use 1tsp of vinegar . the dye drops do in multiples of 4 and your yarn yardage will vary you just need to make sure that the water covers all your yarn)

Dyeing Yarn:

1. Pull 1 skein at a time from the pre soak and place it in your dye bath. 
2. Place dye bath container in your microwave and heat on HIGH for 1 minutes remove check temp, if it reads 180 degrees Good. if not put it back in for another minute and check temp again until it reaches 180 degrees. remove from microwave and let sit for 30 - 45 or until cool enough to touch. 

*Depending on how much yarn is in your bath the dye will have exhausted and your water should be clear. with smaller test batches will probably still have dye in the water. 

3. Empty out dye bath and rinse off the yarn in warm water and squeeze out yarn till water runs clear. Let yarn dry. 

So that's it's you've dyed you're yarn. It's that simple.

Hints and Tips:

Blue dyes may need a little more vinegar to help take and some extra heat setting as well. 

So here are some pics of the color batches so far. I will be posting the other results in the next couple of days as they are finished.

Upon finishing the red tests I've noticed that my first 3:1 batch seemed a little odd and that it produced shades of pink which confused me and caused me to redo it which in turn produced the proper colors. I think it's due to the fact that the vinegar I used for that first batch was from the yellow tests that had been sitting out over night and may have lost some of it's punch because the heat and the drop ratio were correct.
So I guess this a happy accident that produced some nice shades of pink for me.

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