Dying with Food Coloring, part 1

I’ve been getting requests to do a dying with food coloring tutorial for a while now (Hi Mom!), so let’s do it.  Dying with Kool-Aid is fun and all, and leaves your knitwear smelling fruity fresh, but there is a very limited color selection with it.  And, unless you’re six years old, you probably don’t want a “Blastin’ Berry Cherry” colored sweater.

Here’s what you need:

 

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-Food Coloring.  I like the gel concentrate stuff from Wilton.  It’s super concentrated, so you can use just a little bit and still get really bright colors.  And, it comes in approximately a million shades.  I bought this box of 12 colors for about $10 (with a coupon from JoAnn’s), and it’ll last me years.  You can use the regular liquid colors from the grocery store, but you’ll have to use a lot more volume to get brightly colored yarn.

-Vinegar.  To set the color into your yarn, you have to add an acid, and plain white vinegar works best.  It’s dirt cheap, and you probably have a bottle of it in the back of your cupboard.  (We didn’t use vinegar when dying with Kool-Aid, since it already has citric acid added to the powder, so you don’t have to add any more. Science!)

-Yarn.  Just like with the Kool-Aid, this kind of dying only works with animal fibers (wool, alpaca, angora, silk).  It has to do with the protein makeup of the yarn, but I don’t know all the science behind it.  I just know that if you try it with acrylic or cotton, it’ll never take up the color.  I’m using Paton’s Classic Worsted.  It’s a 100% wool yarn, and it’s easy to find at your local Jo-Ann’s/Michael’s/Hobby Lobby.

-Water.  Duh.  From the tap is fine.

-A non-reactive vessel.  (Just like with dying with Kool-Aid)  Stainless steel, enamel, glass or non-stick/Teflon work well.

Collect up your gear, and meet me back here next week when I’ll show you how to dye semi-solid and variegated yarn. And (if the time management gods smile upon me), I’ll give you a pattern to use your newly dyed yarn!

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One thought on “Dying with Food Coloring, part 1

  1. Pingback: Lazy Susan Beanie | On the Needles

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