This week is two experiments in one for me. I’ve been wanting to try out using my crockpot for dyeing. However, since acid dyes aren’t food safe, I wasn’t ready to sacrifice my beloved crockpot. That left me with finding food safe dye options. In full disclosure, I wanted to try Kool-Aid, but my grocery store only had one flavor. (Disappointing to the kid in me, I remember there being a whole Kool-Aid section and begging my mom for one of each.) So food coloring it is!
I am going to be dying with Fannie this week. It’s a 100% Merino Wool Superwash with a gorgeous ply twist to it. The stitch definition is stunning.
For dyes, I picked up two boxes of food color in Neon and Basic colors. I figured with these two I can get a whole rainbow of colors.
While the yarn soaked in water, I filled up the crockpot. I decided I wanted to give middle immersion dyeing a chance, so I added a bunch of water. That means there was enough water for the dye to float around, but not enough to just become one color. And 1 tsp of citric acid.
The yarn was added to the crockpot and wiggled around to be randomized.
I used the food color bottles and dropped random drops of color on top of the yarn.
The process was repeated with the Neon Pink, Neon Blue and Neon Purple.
I’m not always a patient person, so I helped the color mixing along by squishing and lightly swishing the yarn and water around.
I popped the lid onto the crock pot and turned it on high for an hour. I checked it at the 45-minute mark by dipping a spoon into the water. Since the water was clear, I knew the food coloring had exhausted.
The yarn was cooled to room temperature and rinsed out. Off it went to hang dry and now I can admire the beautiful variety of color. The thing that surprised me the most was how much red showed up when though I didn’t use it.
I’d say the food coloring was a success! I can’t wait to give it a few more experiments just to see what it can do. Plus, I get to use the crock pot.
Stay tuned for next week where I have more fun with food coloring!
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Tara Warburton is the former graphic designer for Makers' Mercantile® and a fine artist. She specializes in watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. She lives with her two cats, who are not helpful when knitting.