Wednesday

[dyeing] Dyeing Yarn with Food Coloring

I've been wanting to try speckle-dyeing yarn with food coloring for a while. I have a couple skeins of natural wool (seconds from the Green Mountain Spinnery) and a box of nice Wilton gel food colors- so I tried it over the weekend.

I gathered my supplies:

Yarn dying with food coloring

Food coloring, yarn, little blue cups to mix the dye, forks to dip into the dye and then onto the yarn.

First I soaked the yarn in water/vinegar:

Yarn dying with food coloring

Then I squeezed most of the water out of the yarn and put it onto cling wrap on a cookie sheet:

Yarn dying with food coloring


I mixed up some food coloring in little plastic cups with about 0.5 oz water. Then I dipped a fork into the colors and touched it to the yarn here and there:

Yarn dying with food coloring


You have to move the skein around, open it up, and turn it over to ensure you're getting even coverage. I think my yarn was still too wet from the soak because the colors really started to bleed and travel along the yarn:

Yarn dying with food coloring


At this point I steamed this skein to set the dye. I put a canning rack into a deep pot with an inch of boiling water and then set a metal colander on top of it. I put the yarn into the colander and steamed for about 10 or 15 minutes while I dyed the other skein. Because of all the jumbled colors on the first attempt, I used only pink, green and brown for the seconds skein.

The finished yarns (rinsed and dried). Skein #1:

Yarn dying with food coloring


Skein #2:

Yarn dying with food coloring


They still kind of bled color a bit when I washed them after steaming. I think I should use them alone for their own projects, in case they still bleed a bit of dye. I like skein #2 better- less is more.

It was a fast and easy experiment. Would be a fun weekend craft project to do with kids. But not really my cup of tea. I had issues with the steaming; at first I tried to just set the yarn on top of the canning rack but pieces kept drooping into the boiling water. It was a while (too long!) before I thought to put a metal colander on top of the canning rack.

Also, the colors ended up muddier than I would have liked. Obviously, like anything, I'm sure I'd get better if I do it a lot more but... I'd rather be knitting with pretty yarn that more skilled professionals create.

No comments: