Dye Your Yarn in Fall 2011 Colors

You loved the Fall 2011 colors on the catwalk. But the search for quality yarns in those fabulous hues have turned into a frustrating snipe hunt.

How about dyeing your own wool yarn?

Strap yourself in, put on your mad scientist apron and create drool worthy Fall 2011 colors inexpensively on your favorite base yarn.

First, two inspirational sample skein photos. Then scroll down for the formulas and advice.

Food color dyed wool yarn


A. Phlox - mixture of 2 drops blue and 5 drops red McCormick per .2 oz yarn (6 yds).

B. Deep Teal - 1/16 teaspoon Wilton Transformers blue and 1 drop black McCormick per .2 oz yarn (6 yds).

C. Nougat - A trace of Wilton brown per .2 oz yarn (6 yds).

D. Coffee - 1 Tablespoon red mix, 2 1/2 Tablespoons blue mix, 1 Tablespoon yellow mix and 1 teaspoon black mix per .2 oz yarn (6 yds).

E. Honeysuckle - 1/16 teaspoon Wilton Burgundy and 1 Tablespoon red mix per .2 oz yarn (6 yds).

Food color dyed wool yarn


F. Quarry - 3 parts Kool-Aid Pink Lemonade and 1 part Kool-Aid Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade.

G. Emberglow - a trace of Wilton Fairies red and 1/4 tablespoon red mix per .1 oz yarn (3 yds).

H. Cedar - a trace of Wilton Juniper per .1 oz yarn (3 yds).

I. Bamboo - a trace of Wilton Buttercup per .1 oz yarn (3 yds).


Quick and Easy Fall 2011 Colors

Quarry (F) is a blend of Pink Lemonade and Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade. Because Kool-Aid has citric acid, don't add vinegar.

Phlox (A) is a blend of McCormick food color.

Nougat, Cedar and Bamboo (C, H, I) are each a small amount of a pre-made Wilton icing gel. See how to make a trace of gel.

Deep Teal (B) can be made with Transformer blue or Royal blue and McCormick black. Wilton Black is a different color and more green.


More Complex Fall 2011 Colors

To make Coffee, Honeysuckle, and Emberglow (D, E, G) - you need to make jars of diluted food color.

Yellow - 20 drops to 8 oz of water
Red - 20 drops to 8 oz of water
Blue - 2 drops to 8 oz of water
Black - 2 drops to 8 oz of water

Then use a teaspoon and tablespoon to measure out the colors.

Coffee (D) is a very dark color when the yarn is wet.

Honeysuckle (E) is made with Wilton Burgundy. Use as little vinegar as possible. Too much vinegar will cause the red to come off on your hands and needles.

This version of Emberglow (G) is made with Wilton Fairies red. Wilton Red-Red can be substituted.


What do the measurements mean?

A drop - McCormick food color is in small squeezy bottles. Lightly squeeze the bottle - out comes a drop. Squeeze too hard and you will get too much food color.

A 1/16th teaspoon is not a common spoon size. Dip an 1/8 teaspoon in the Wilton less than half way (to allow for the gel coating the back of the spoon). Try to have the gel flat in the spoon, not heaped.

A trace is the amount of Wilton gel that coats a quarter of an inch of a toothpick.

With the exception of Quarry (F), the other colors will need vinegar (or citric acid) to set the food color.


How to dye

1. Mix the colors in enough plain water to cover the yarn (not so little the yarn is crowded, not so much that energy is wasted heating a ton of liquid).

2. Drop the yarn in and let soak for several hours, or overnight if the yarn is thick.

3. Place the yarn and dye in a pot or microwave safe container.

4. Heat to 180 degrees F (not boiling, yarn isn't spaghetti).

5. Add vinegar - about 1 tablespoon for .2 oz samples in 8 oz of water.

6. Stir slightly and remove from heat.

7. Allow yarn to rest and the food dye to bond.

8. Dark colors and blues may need to be reheated and have more vinegar added.

Gadzooks, you need at least one skein of each of these colors. Make some mitts, a cuddly animal, a cat bed.

Skeins make a great stocking stuffer, too.

See our videos.

Use these formulas on gray yarn, too!

Go from Fall 2011 Colors to Dye Your Yarn Home Page.

Be the First to
Hear About New
Dyeing Experiments and Videos.

Subscribe to
Dyer's Notebook

Enter your E-mail Address
Enter your First Name (optional)
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Dyer's Notebook.