Dyeing in a Crock Pot
Many dyes aren’t food safe, so you don’t want to eat out of a pot that you used earlier for dyeing. Instead, go to a thrift store and find an old crock pot that you can dedicate solely to dyeing projects. If you are concerned about making a mess in your kitchen, you can take your crockpot and an extension cord outside or into the garage to dye (baking soda is effective for removing dye from countertops and sinks). You can also use your crock pot to heat up your dye bath and set the dye to achieve vibrant colors.
A crock pot
A hank of yarn secured with figure eight knots of waste yarn or a dye blank
Dye of your choice (acid dye, plant dye, or food coloring dye)
White vinegar (for acid or food coloring dye) or cream of tartar and alum (for plant dyes that need a mordant)
A large spoon for stirring (note, do not use for food after you have used this spoon for dyeing)
Rubber gloves and a face mask (especially when handling acid dyes, you do not want to breath the particles)
Whether you are dyeing with acid dyes, natural dyes, or food coloring dyes, you can use a crock pot both as a dye bath container and as a heat source to help your yarn to absorb dye. We have additional tutorials for dyeing with each of these materials. When calculating dye amounts, keep in mind that a standard crock pot usually can hold 16 oz of water, in addition to a skein of Bare yarn or a dye blank.
You can create solid or variegated yarns in a crock pot.
1. Thoroughly wet your yarn and let it soak in vinegar (for acid or food coloring dye) or alum and cream of tartar (for most natural dyes) for at least an hour.
2. In the meantime, fill your crockpot up with water and dye of your choice. Since crock pots are small, you may have to recalculate how much dye and water to add, but keep the proportions the same as what the label recommends.
3. Add your yarn to the dye bath and leave submerged in your crock pot for an hour. Put the lid on the crockpot and make sure that it is set to medium.
4. Removed dyed skeins from your crock pot and rinse in room temperature water until they rinse clear. If are using a wool or alpaca yarn that is not superwash, be careful not to significantly switch temperatures, or it could felt your yarn.
5. Hang your yarn up until it is dry. Then wind yarn into a ball and start a project!
Several mason jars
A turkey baster, a squeeze bottle, or a spoon (not safe for food after you have used these items for dyeing)
1. Mix up several colors of dye and store in Mason jars. When you are done dyeing, you can put a lid on your Mason jar and save the remaining dye to be used again.
2. Wet your yarn in water, then let it soak in water mixed with vinegar or alum and cream of tartar (depending on what type of dye you are using) for an hour.
3. Place yarn in your crock pot. The crock pot should be turned to medium and already filled with water.
4. Use your turkey baster, squeeze bottle, or spoon to add dye to the water inside of your crock pot. Be careful not to stir the water at all. You want to have separate groups of different colors of dye. It is difficult to keep colors from bleeding into each other, so choose colors that will still look good if they are mixed. Applying dye this way will create a splotchy variegated effect on your yarn. Put a lid on your crock pot and let the yarn soak in the dye bath for an hour.
5. Removed dyed skeins from your crock pot and rinse in room temperature water until they rinse clear. If are using a wool or alpaca yarn that is not superwash, be careful not to significantly switch temperatures, or it could felt your yarn.
6. Hang your yarn up until it is dry. Then wind yarn into a ball and start a project!