Easter Egg dyes are the best! So bright and rich, in easy to use little tablets. I always get great results using them. This week, we’ll experiment with kettle dyed yarn using Easter egg dye tablets! Since I’ve started doing this, I’ve noticed they’ve begun to make all kinds of deluxe easter egg dyeing kits, but for this, you’ll just want the basic dye kit with tablets. Mine had lots of colors, and although it’s difficult to tell what color they are in tablet form – all you need to do is dab them on a damp paper towel to see the colors:
Kettle dyed yarn is unique in that you can create a deep tonal color by layering several colors on top of one another. You’ll be dyeing in your crock pot, which is perfectly fine for food safe dyes like these, but never use dyes that aren’t food safe in your kitchen equipment that you’ll want to use for food again! For this tutorial I used one tablet of yellow, one of orange and three tablets of brightest pink
Wool or other protein based yarn, (llama, wool, alpaca, silk, milk fiber) SUPERWASH WOOL works best and shows colors the brightest *NOTE: acrylic or plant based yarns will not work with this process
2 or 3 Easter Egg dye kits that have dye tablets
a chopstick or wooden spoon
Think about the color wheel when deciding which colors to use. Colors next to one another on the color wheel will do best, starting with the lightest and adding progressively darker colors. Ideas:
Yellow, green, blue
Yellow, orange, pink
pink, red violet
lavender, blue, purple
Don’t mix colors that are across from each other on the color wheel in a kettle dyed yarn. These colors are called complementary colors and mixed together they make muddy brown colors : purple and yellow, blue and orange, red and green.
Here’s the process:
Prepare your yarn:
Wrap your skein into a large loop using a niddy noddy, (Why yes we DO have a tutorial for that), or around the back of kitchen chairs. Tie the skein in at least 6 places, using figure 8 ties and waste yarn. Keep the ties loose so the dye can get to all the yarn.
Kettle Dye Process:
While the crockpot is heating, begin dissolving your first dye in a couple tablespoons of vinegar. Add enough water to make a cup and add to the crock pot. Since the pot is barely warm, it will dye most of the skein an almost uniform color.
As the pot continues to heat, dissolve your next dye, again in 2 Tblsp vinegar then add enough water to make 1 cup. When there’s steam and droplets on the inside of your lid, add your second color by pouring it throughout the top of the skein, making a mottled finish. When the liquid is hot, the dye will strike quickly, and won’t move around the pot dyeing all the yarn. It will just dye where you pour it.
Don’t move the yarn until all the dye has been taken up by the yarn, otherwise you won’t get the tonal effect you’re looking for.You’ll be able to tell when all the dye has been taken up by putting the edge of a white paper towel in the water. If it stays white, you can pick up and move the skein with a chopstick to be sure the underside of the skein gets dyed. You might want to add the final color more than once. I added my final 3 pink tablets one at a time, waiting til the dye was all taken up before I moved the skein between each application.
Cooling and Drying the yarn:
Allow the yarn to cool completely in the crock pot before removing it to the sink and rinsing with cool water. Press out excess water and hang over a clothes hanger to dry.
Better snatch up more Easter Egg dye kits when they go on clearance so you can try all the possible color combinations!
Share your kettle dyed masterpieces! – post them in our Crafty Community facebook group, and share the hand dyed love! Use the hashtag #aprildyealong to share on instagram and facebook
Join our email newsletter to receive our free tutorials and periodic PDF downloads for our free patterns direct to your inbox!