I’ve been having a bit of fun this week dyeing yarn in my crock pot, or slow cooker as we call it here in Australia. My local big craft store had a sale on yarn and I picked up some balls of cream wool and Wilton’s food dye. About six months ago I tried dyeing yarn in my microwave and on the stove top and discovered it’s quite easy to felt the wool if you’re not careful. Dyeing your yarn in the crock pot is so much easier!
This is what you’ll need:
- a hank of pure wool
- a slow cooker/crock pot
- kettle to boil water
- Wilton’s food dye
- a few small glass jars
- a pair of chopsticks (no joking)
- a large bowl or dish (4 litre)
- good quality wool wash
Step 1 Grab your ball of wool and wind it into a hank, I found winding it around the backs of two chairs is the easiest way. Loosely tie the hank in four of five places so it doesn’t tangle.
Step 2 Take your bowl and fill it with luke warm water and add a 1/4 cup of vinegar and soak the yarn for at least half an hour.
Step 3 After half an hour (at least) slide the yarn and enough vinegar-y water into your crock pot to cover the yarn completely. Put the lid on and turn up to HIGH. Now it’s time to mix some dye.
Step 4 Open up your jar of Wilton’s gel dye, you’ll need about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of dye in a glass jar mixed in with hot water. Stir well and set aside until you can see the steam rising from the crock pot.
Step 5 Now is the time to get a little artistic. You can pour the dye in or add it in little pools, leaving sections without dye. If you’re using more than one colour try to keep the areas of dye separate. Put the lid back on the crock pot and leave it for half and hour.
Step 6 After half an hour lift the lid and drizzle in some more vinegar. Dyes with red will set first in low acidity and by adding more vinegar the blues will set next. Put the lid back on and check again in an hour or so.
Step 7 Use the chopsticks to carefully check if all the dye exhausts (that’s when the dye sticks to the yarn and the water is clear). Here you can see the dye has exhausted into the yarn. You can turn the crock pot off now and allow to cool down. If you are a little impatient you can use the chopsticks to lift the yarn into a colander to drain and cool.
Don’t handle the yarn too much while it is hot as it will easily felt.
Step 8 When the yarn is cool add some wool wash and rinse well until the water runs completely clear.
Step 9 Gently squeeze the water from the yarn, again be gentle you don’t want to felt the yarn. Hang it out to dry, preferably in the shade.
And here’s some of the yarn I’ve dyed in the past week.
If you have any questions leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them or try out some of your suggestions!