Using Easter Egg Dyes for a Custom Yarn

ScannedImageEaster is right around the corner, and one of the things I look forward to is the egg dye. No, not necessarily dying eggs, but the dye for the eggs. I have enjoyed using this in the past to dye fibers. I thought I’d give you my process so you could attempt it for yourself, and if you have already colored eggs in your home, not to worry, Monday you’ll find coloring kits discounted at stores.

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Skeins before and after dying

I prep an area just I am planning a bunch of kindergarteners to be dying eggs, I usually work outside, It is fun to do some dying but I don’t really care for stains all over the house.

First you have to have an item to dye. This could be yarn, and finished crocheted/knitted item, or un-spun wool, the only catch; it has to be a protein based fiber/material. Basically yarns are made out of 3 main fibers: protein, cellulose, and mineral….animal, plant, and other (think acrylic). This process only works for fibers that are from animals, such as wool, silk, alpaca, etc. You need to get this fiber wet, and soak it in a mixture of 1 Tablespoon 56% citric acid crystals and 1 quart warm water. (56% citric acid crystals sounds more impressive then it is, this is an edible ingredient that with help the dyes adhere to the fiber and be permanent, it can be found on-line at places like www.nuts.com, (or just search for citric acid crystals) or at compounding pharmacies, in a pinch you can even use Kool-Aid powder, just remember Kool-Aid has a dye already in it, and this will set to the fiber as well). The fiber will float on top of the water; you can gently coax it down and give it a squeeze to work our air bubbles.

Next, you make up the dye as directed on the package (color eggs if you want; there is still plenty of dye left over). Dip your item into the dyes, or use a brush and paint the dyes onto your item (I’ve even had fun attempting tie dye). Consider “over dying” by placing a dyed spot in another dye, or using a fiber that isn’t white…browns and grays can dye up in really pretty ways. Once you have the color where you want it, let it sit for a minute or two (this gives you time to clean up some of the mess), then go ahead and rinse out the item until the water runs clear. Let it dry and enjoy. I have found this a personal way to play with color, allowing myself to have the ultimate control over my creation in a way that has no surprises except for what my imagination can create.

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