Monday, December 19, 2011

Dyeing Yarn with Food Coloring on the Stovetop

It almost feels silly to share this video tutorial with you now, as over the last few months I've shared many different yarn dyeing tutorials with you. Unlike some of the more advanced techniques, this video will show you how to dye yarn a single color on the stove top. Good luck!


  1. Hi, love your blog. I just started knitting again (learnt when I was 8) and have been so inspired by all the expressive, inventive, creative things everyone is doing. (Yeah internet!)

    I have experimented with dyeing fabric before to not much avail. How do the colours 'live' as it were? Does the vinegar fix the dye into the wool to withstand multiple washes, or is there a gentle degradation in colour intensity?

    If you are interested, my most successful dyeing projects were with red onion skins (a warm cream colour), tumeric (an earthy yellow) and chamomile (an interesting, muted, sallow yellow).

    I really like that you dye with natural, or non toxic dyes.

    Thanks for all you do - it is inspiring.

    1. I have not put anything I've dyed through the washing machine. I have hats, mittens that I wear frequently (for years) and that are years old and the color is still fine. I dyed yarn for oven mitt which I boiled during the felting process, and the color stayed. I have a blanket that is dyed that is out all the time and the colors have not faded at all. I have never had any colors bleed onto my hands or clothing from using an item that I had hand dyed.

      I would treat any handmade item with care. Most of the yarn I dye now is 100% wool, so it would always be hand washed. I wish I could answer your question more directly.

      I wouldn't call the dyes that I use "natural" because they are food coloring and kool aid, after all. BUT since they are food safe they are certainly non-toxic. I have dyed with tea before, and I have some plans for using other types of food dyes. You should note that dyeing with plants isn't always non-toxic, you often need to add chemicals (mordants) for the dyes to stick to the yarn. (I don't have any experience in this.)

    2. Yeah good point about the mordants.

      Thanks for the info - I wouldn't wash anything in the machine anyways.
      Tea is a funny one, I once stained a buttercup yellow jumper with a cup of black tea. I wonder if dyeing it in more tea would make it wearable again!

      Thanks again.

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