Solar Dyeing with Queen Food Colours

With all the hot weather we’ve had lately in Brisbane, I decided to use some of the sun’s heat by doing some solar dyeing using food colours.

Now let me warn you, I am not an ‘exact measurement’ dyer when it comes to mixing the food colours and water. I found half the fun was actually putting about a cup of water into a jar (I had a nice collection of old jam jars) and then adding a few drops of the dye until I had a colour I liked. When the mixture ran out, I’d just add some more water and dye and made another shade. It’s really fun!

Before I started I soaked my skeins of wool overnight in a 3 parts water / 1 part vinegar solution. The vinegar helps the yarn grab the dye more quickly. Plus, if your yarn is scratchy, it softens it up quite nicely!

There is lots of information on the internet about dyeing and I would suggest you read as much as you can so you understand what you are actually doing!

Chantelle from Fiberific has made a fantastic YouTube video on basic dyeing with food colours although she uses steaming to set her dye. This video is very informative and I’d recommend you watch it if this is your first foray into dyeing. She shows you how to lay out your plastic Glad Wrap and wrap your skeins in the sausage shape.

Here is the result of my dyeing:

This effect was obtained by randomly squirting drops from a pipette all over the skeins. It will be interesting to see how it knits up.

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For this effect I simply alternated between an orange dye and a green dye.

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Once I had ‘painted’ the dye onto the skeins, I just rolled them into a sausage shape in plastic Glad Wrap and placed each sausage into a black garbage bag on the pavers out in the sun. Once the colour has been absorbed and any liquid is relatively clear is when your yarn is ready to rinse and hang out to dry.

This is my favourite colour which is a combination of yellow and yellow/orange.

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I have used this yarn to make a pair of socks and they are coming along nicely 🙂

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So if you are interested in dyeing some yarn using the sun’s heat I would highly recommend it. All my skeins are OOAKs (one of a kinds) as I didn’t measure the drops of colour I used. I find this is less stressful and it’s always a surprise to get a unique skein.

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Don’t these skeins look amazing!!

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And here are caked skeins

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Have fun solar dyeing with food colours 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie