Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Adventures With Sugarflair Food Colouring (Photo Tutorial)

 Last week, when I struggled to find the right yarn to complete my project, many lovely bloggers suggested I dye my own. While I'm (impatiently, I must add) waiting for packets of KoolAid to make their way to me across the pond, I bought some Sugarflair paste which you can easily get from eBay, Amazon or baking shops. Beauty of using food colouring is that you don't need separate containers as it's not toxic. So here's what I learnt :-)

Arrange your yarn. I usually do between 8 and 10 ties, depending how big the skein is and use cotton yarn. Tie loosely if you want overall colours, tie tightly if you want some variegation - dye will not colour where the string is wrapped tightly.
You will need vinegar (previously I used lemon/lime juice but I think that vinegar works better and quicker for intensity of colours). Open the windows! I used 400ml for 2 x 100g skeins of yarn.

Soak yarn in warm water with vinegar for at least an hour, ideally overnight. I usually put a plate over the yarn so it's all under water.

Soak for shorter periods of time if you want more variation in colour.

For Sugarflair, I took out about half a teaspoon of paste and put it into a glass, then pured hot, not boiling, water with a teaspoon of vinegar.
Grape Violet, Dusky Pink, Pink
I took the yarn out of the pot for a minute, added in the paste mixture, stirred and then added yarn back in. Put in on the hob/stove at the highest setting until it starts bubbling gently (this took just over 5 minutes for me).  Lower the heat to just-about to bubble state, and keep for 10 minutes, stirring very very gently - you don't want your yarn to felt.. After that, I turned off the heat, covered the pot and left it on the hob for another hour to steam.

Colour One: Just after adding the dye.
Colour 2: Just after adding the dye.
Colour One : After 5 minutes.

Colour Two: After 5 minutes.
Colour One: After 10 minutes.
Colour Two: After 10 minutes.
Colour One: After 15 minutes.

After about 10 minutes, start checking whether all dye has been absorbed. If the water is clear, or nearly clear, then all dye has been taken in and your yarn is ready. If you're not happy with the colour, add more dye, stir thoroughly and check again in few minutes.

Colour Two on the left and Colour One on the right (just to be awkward :-)).
Because I'm usually very impatient and want to see the results immediately, I take the yarn out of the pot and leave in the bathtub. Never ever rinse it with very cold water as it will felt - at this point your yarn will be piping hot and drastic differences in temperature will not make it happy! Leave it to cool and when it feels cool enough to touch gently rinse it with water of similar temperature until water runs clear. 

Hang your yarn to dry, and if you have kitties like mine they will surely *guard* your new yarn.

The Results

Colour One
Colour One
Colour One
Colour Two (this is alpaca/wool mix so it's a little fuzzy)
Another yarn dyed in the same solution as Colour Two

Happy dyeing!



  1. What you did is really nice, I think the result is very satisfying!

  2. I always love seeing dyeing tutorials since I haven't tried it yet myself. Nice colors!

  3. wow! I never thought of dying yarn myself! I love your kitty getting in on the action too!


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