So this is how I spent my Saturday. Following is the method I developed for dyeing my recycled yarn with food paste dye (Wilton’s icing dye). What I like about this method is that the yarn is never added to water that is a different temperature, thus minimizing the chances of shocking/felting. Added bonus is not having to handle scalding hot yarn, this is a good thing if you are like my accident prone self.
First soak the yarn in lukewarm water (without vinegar) for 30 minutes. While the yarn is soaking prepare your dyepot.
Icing dye is very concentrated, so 1 bottle of food coloring will dye a lot of fiber. For 4 oz. of yarn I used a little under 1/2 tsp. Wearing gloves, mix your dye into a cup of hot water until it is completely dissolved. Next, fill your dyepot with tepid water and pour the dye mixture in.
*Tip – You can purchase latex gloves in bulk at hardware stores like Northern. Usually 100 gloves for around $6 instead of 3 pairs for the same price elsewhere.
Remove the yarn from the soaking water and gently squeeze out excess water. Now add the yarn into the cool dye.
Bring water up to near boiling (150-160°F) and simmer for 10 minutes. A steady steam should be rising off the top at this point.
You can see here how the water is getting much clearer
Now add a glug or about 1/4 cup of vinegar being careful to not pour it directly on the yarn. The vinegar aids in the uptake and colorfastness of the dye, because of this it is best to add it after the yarn has evenly soaked in the dye to help with a more uniform coloring.
Bring the temperature up to 180°F (170°F for silk) and simmer for 30 minutes or until color is exhausted.
Turn off heat and let cool in dyepot to room temperature.
Rinse thoroughly with same temperature water and hang to dry.
The first batch I dyed is hanging on the right. This was with Leaf Green and it produced a very vivid green. The second batch I wanted a more mossy/earthy tone so I sprinkled in about 1/3 of a packet of Cherry Kool-aid too. The result is hanging on the left, exactly the color I was going for actually. I guess all that color theory in college finally paid off, heh.
The finished skeins
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