Every time I hear my friends on Ravelry talk about dyeing, I get a little bit jealous. I have visions of myself making beautifully colored skeins and rovings, but perhaps my final year of graduate school is not really the time to take up a new hobby. Plus, dyeing requires an investment in separate equipment if you want to do it safely. So I opted for an easier method for my one-time dyeing experiment: dyeing with food.
The advantage of dyeing with foodstuffs is that, as long as you don't use potentially toxic mordants, you should be able to use equipment you have lying around your kitchen. A disadvantage, at least in the case of turmeric, is that the results are not colorfast. But for a simple, safe, and fun first attempt at dyeing, turmeric produces lovely results.
Here is what you will need:
* Yarn (I used KnitPicks Bare Laceweight)
* A large bowl
* A large pot
First, you need to make your dyebath. Fill the pot 3/4 of the way full with water. Add the turmeric; I used 2 tsp of turmeric on 4 ounces of wool, which gave a nice buttery yellow shade. Bring water to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes to extract the color.
Take the dyebath off of the heat and let it cool down to room temperature. While the dyebath is cooling, place your clean, undyed yarn in a large bowl filled with lukewarm water. You want it to wet completely through, which will take about an hour.
Once your dyebath is cool and your yarn thoroughly wetted, put the yarn in the bath. Let it soak overnight, turning it every once and a while to ensure that the dye is distributed evenly.
Remove the yarn from the bath and rise several times until the water runs clear. Wash the yarn with a gentle soap or wool wash.
Enjoy the beauty that is yarn hand-dyed BY YOU!