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Dyeing yarn gives you the freedom to create your own amazing colorways! Using Wilton Icing Colors is a fun and inexpensive way to start. They are non toxic and intended for dyeing cake icing. This method can be done in your everyday cookware. I do not recommend that you use vintage Pyrex for dyeing yarn. because it is way too precious. Use a contemporary clear glass Pyrex, so you do not risk possibly staining your vintage Pyrex.
- Glass Pyrex Bowl
- Yarn – I used Paton’s Classic Wool, but any 100% wool or Alpaca can be used. I have had success with blends with 80% wool. You can also use a super wash wool and not have any worries about felting.
- Wilton Icing Colors – I used violet and royal
- Food Coloring – I used McCormicks
- 2 Pyrex measuring cups
- Paper towels
- Plastic wrap
- Aluminum foil
Step 1. Prepare your yarn. In order for us to dye the yarn we need to wind your yarn into a hank, or a large ring of yarn. You can do this with a niddy noddy if you have one. If you don’t have one then you can use a chair. Tie your yarn around the back of the chair, and wind it around until the whole skein of yarn is wrapped around the chair. Then take some crochet cotton and tie your yarn if a few places to keep it from tangling.
Step 2. Prepare your work space to protect your counter tops. I like to use aluminum foil to cover my work area, because it is reusable, Keep paper towels close by for a quick clean up. Gather your supplies. Wear gloves to protect your hands from staining.
Step 3. Soak your yarn in a water and vinegar solution. For this batch I used a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 6 parts water. Cover with plastic wrap and let soak for at least 30 minutes.
Step 4. Mix the dye. Fill Pyrex measuring cup with 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Dip a fork inside of the icing color of your choice. Stir into the measuring cup. You can add some food coloring if the mood strikes you. I added a about 6 drops of blue to the violet, and 10 drops of blue to the royal. I decided to mix two dye colors for this batch. You can check the saturation by dipping a scrap piece of yarn or a paper towel into the dye batch. You can mix as many dyes as you like, but I think more than three per skein would get too muddy.
Step 5. Microwave your dye for 2 minutes. Stir again to break up any chunks of icing color that still need to dissolve.
Step 6. Microwave the vinegar/water solution with your yarn in it for 2 minutes. Take your yarn out of the vinegar/water solution, and let the water drain off of it. Gently squeeze the excess liquid out. Pour out the vinegar water solution, you can save the vinegar/water solution for another dye batch if you like. Place your yarn back into the Pyrex dish.
Step 7. Now for the fun part! Pour the dye onto your yarn a little bit at a time.For this batch I poured half of the blue purple dye batch on the left, and half of the blue dye on the right. It doesn’t look like there is much of a difference at this point, but if you look closely at the purple side, you can see little bits of redish purple. The colors in the dye will absorb at different rates, so can get some really cool results. Press down gently to help the yarn absorb the dye.Step 8. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes. Then let the yarn rest for 2 minutes in the microwave. Continue microwaving and letting the yarn rest in 2 minute intervals until the water is clear. When the water is clear, the dye has set. This method took me four cycles to set.
Step 9. Rinse wool in the hottest water out of your faucet. Add a few tiny drops of liquid dish detergent to help neutralize the acid.. Be careful not to agitate your yarn too much, or it could felt. Do not let the water change temperature. Extreme temperature changes can cause felting.Step 10. Hang yarn to dry.
I recommend checking out www.dyeyouryarn.com. This site has formulas for just about any color you can think of, and it is a fabulous resource!