Kettle Dyed Wool Roving and Yarn

Creating your own color for wool yarn and roving can open up a wide range of choices for your crafting needs. Being able to create just the color you want is a satisfying project in and of its self and can make your crafts more successful. This simplified version of Kettle dying, a process where wool is dyed and cooked, creating a slightly mottled look, is a great way to get started with wool dying. While you can easily dye with two or more colors with this process, it’s a good idea to start with just one.

Things you’ll need:
Wool roving (undyed) or bare yarn
Food coloring
Clean jar
White vinegar


Things to do:
1. First mix your dyes. You can purchase commercial acid dyes but once you have used these dyes in your crockpot, you can no longer use it for food. Pour 1 cup of vinegar into your jar and add enough food color to achieve the color you desire.
2. Wrap you roving into loops that will fit into the bottom of the crockpot. Add enough water to almost cover the wool. The goal is to saturate the wool without having too much excess water.
3. Pour the dye onto your roving. The dye will basically stay where you put it, so you can pour in small amounts to create spots, add more on one side than the other to create a difference in shade or have one color on one side and another on the other.
4. Turn the crockpot to high and let it cook for 2 hours. Allow it to cool
5. Drain and rinse the yarn, most of the color will absorb into the yarn, but be sure to rinse well.
6. Allow the roving or yarn to dry before using.

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    1. Hi Kathy! Thanks for your great question. The food coloring will not be permanent on cotton or synthetic materials other than nylon. The dye will hold as long as you don’t need to ever wash it. If you would like your color to be more permanent for washing, try using materials, such as, wool, silk, or even nylon. But remember to use heat in your process of dying so that your color sticks. Please let me know if you have any other questions and Ill be happy to help you.