Dyeing Yarn
Green Hints

Here's green hints - three ways to make more green in your stash.

  1. Use green food color straight out of the package.
  2. Overdye spare yellow or blue wool yarn.
  3. Mix your own green with yellow and blue food color dye.

First, the easy way, most lines of food color carry at least one green. Here is a comparison of Wilton Kelly and Juniper green icing jell, Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid, McCormick Neon green, Schilling green and an Easter Egg tablet.

Wilton greens also includes Leaf and Moss in 1 ounce jars and Willow in the pastel set.

The next technique is a bit of alchemy, you never know what color green yarn you will end up with. And as you can see in my photos, sometimes a mixture you thought should be green - isn't!

Go through your stash and pull out all your blue wool yarn, make mini-hanks and mix up a yellow dyebath. Which type of yellow food dye you use doesn't matter as long as the dyebath is so strong that it looks orange (blue is usually very saturated and it takes a fair amount of yellow to shift it to green). The scrap of yarn I used to tie the hank shows just how dark the yellow food color was. The yellow food dye is McCormick yellow.

Heat the yarn in the dyebath and then add vinegar - yellow is a color that strikes fast without much fussing with extra vinegar.

Allow to cool and rinse.

Here are my five hanks lovely green hanks, and an oops. The blue hank didn't bond with the dye because it isn't wool yarn. Even though I tested the yarn months ago, and discovered it wasn't wool - somehow the hank migrated from my acrylic yarn stash into my wool stash. eeeek!

Return to your stash and gather your yellow wool yarn. Make a few mini-hanks and a blue food color dyebath. Blue food color tends to be very strong and you don't want to overpower your yellow yarn, so start with a small amount of blue.

Heat the yarn in the blue dyebath and add the vinegar (most likely that blue will take three times as much vinegar as the yellow did to bond). When the dyebath reaches 180 degrees F, turn off the heat and set aside. The blue might not have exhausted yet, and that's fine. Blue bonds slowly, give it 20 minutes and see what happens.

Cool and rinse.

First, let me point out - I used too much blue food color. My pastel yellow is completely blue, not green.

However, I caused a happy accident.

The other hanks have a blue halo (the blue sticks to the surface of the yarn and the green is coloring the core). A halo is caused when a dye is made up of a mixture of colors and they are absorbed at different rates. Some colors bind while others continue to be drawn into the yarn.

Another green hint is to mix yellow and blue food color dye together produces lovely greens. You can mix one brand's yellow with another brands blue (remember to add vinegar!).

We have page has ooooddles of green formulas, with photos.

Here are some green hints:

  • Add the blue to the yellow, not the other way around because yellow is the weaker color.

  • Pre-made green food color is generally very dark, with the exception of McCormick neon green. It takes a lot of yellow to make a yellow green with pre-made green.

  • Large 1 fluid ounce bottles of yellow are sold in grocery stores.

  • Try dyeing non-white hanks of yarn in a green dyebath. You might not get green, but a totally terrific unexpected all new shade.

Need more red in your life? Find out how to dye wool yarn red.

Which yarn should you buy?

Examples of colored wool yarn over-dyed to make all new colors.

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