Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Howdy my lovlies,

Today I will cover crock pot dying.

I am not a true dying expert, but I do like to have fun with dying.
There are a few things one can do when dying using a crock pot. I live with family whom if I dyed in my kitchen, would freak out at the smells. I'm lucky enough to be able to have a room large enough for good ventilation to use just a crock pot.
Firstly there is immersion dying.
It is just as it sounds, you immerse the yarn into a colour and cook it.
So here is an example of immersion dying
Start with blanks
White, off white and natural are all good.
You need to then soak your yarn in warm (not hot!) water. I like to use a bit of Eucalan to make sure its clean. Add some vinegar which is used as a mordant*.
Fill your crock pot with water and add some more vinegar. Now I don't ever actually measure my vinegar I just add it. Add your wet yarn to the pot. Let the yarn simmer. It will heat up as the water does, just be careful not to agitate it too much, as it can cause yarn to felt.
While the water and yarn are heating up, it's time to mix the colours. In this example we are using a combination of Cherry Kool-aid and Wilton's cake dye. Although these aren't acid dyes, Kool-aid should be dealt with as acid dyes. Please protect yourself and wear a mask glasses and rubber gloves. You don't want to inhale the crystals. Once they hit the water, you can take off your goggles and mask. Don't remove your GLOVES when handling dye, you will have dyer's hands and it takes forever to come off and you look odd!
When mixing Wilton's I scoop a small amount into hot water. I play with it until I get the colour I like. Add some vinegar & let it set.
When mixing Kool aid, I put the powder in a bowl add a small amount of water to make a paste. Then when I have whisked it and the powder has dissolved, I add vinegar and more water.
Now the dye sits in waiting, to settle while the yarn warms up.
Now that the yarn is warm (about an hour), you add the colour at will! Please note that colours can run and bleed into each other. So  you may want to be careful where you put your colour, or you may wish to do one colour. So I used red and blue. I know that if there is any running together, it will become purple.
Now you must wait as colour and yarn become friends and you go knit something while watching your favorite show.
When the colour is no longer in the water it means it's done. All the colour has connected with your yarn. Turn off the pot, let it cool. Once the yarn has cooled, you need to rinse it in something like Eucalan. If there is a bit of colour running, add a bit more vinegar to the water.
Let your yarn dry & VOILA!

 Here is a before and after of overdying yarn. That is taking a yarn that you are not feeling and changing the colour.
Now go have fun and DYE!

 One more note: Once you have used bowls, crock pot & utensils for dying, you can not use them for consuming of food! So a trip to the dollar store is in order!

* A mordant is a substance used to set dyes on fabrics or tissue sections by forming a coordination complex with the dye which then attaches to the fabric or tissue.[1] It may be used for dyeing fabrics, or for intensifying stains in cell or tissue preparations. The term mordant comes from the Latin word, "mordere", to bite. In the past, it was thought that a mordant helped the dye bite onto the fiber so that it would hold fast during washing. A mordant is often a polyvalent metal ion.[2] The resulting coordination complex of dye and ion is colloidal and can be either acidic or alkaline.


Thependragonseye said...

It is helpful to note that koolaid dying will only really work on animal fibers - not acrylic.

I've personally never added vinegar to my koolaid dying projects - the citric acid in the powder has always been enough.

electronjam said...

I am really tempted to try dying this month for the first time. I vaguely remember that there is something different you need to do for your turn in posts - I think it's that I need to take pictures of my process? What specifically is the minimum for a successful turn in?


Abby said...

Electronjam, you need process pictures in order to turn in a dyeing project for points. I usually do just a before, during, and after and explain what dyes I used.

electronjam said...

Thanks Abby for your reply. And thanks to AuntTallulah for the tutorial :)