Dyeing Yarn With a Crock Pot (Slow Cooker)




A FiberArtsy.com Tutorial

Over the years, I’ve explored many different methods of how to dye yarn and I just realized that I never shared the slow cooker yarn dyeing technique. Dyeing yarn in a Crockpot or slow cooker is simply another heat setting technique. It’s very useful if you only need to dye a small amount of yarn (one or two skeins), if you don’t have a lot of room to make a mess or if you would rather not stink up the house by dyeing yarn in your oven.

*** Important safety note … once you use your Crockpot with chemical dyes, you will no longer be able to cook food in it. Also, any utensils s.a. spoons, measuring cups, chopsticks, etc. will not be safe to use for food prep. That does not apply to dyeing yarn with food coloring or Kool Aid, though.

More Yarn Dyeing Tutorials such as:

Beginner’s Guide to Hand Dyeing Yarn
How to Hand Paint Yarn

There are two ways you can use a Crockpot to dye your yarn: Hot or Cold … Fast or Slow Striking. (Those are not official dyeing terms lol). Fast striking simply means that the yarn and water are hot when you apply the dye so that it strikes (adheres) quicker than when the yarn and water are cold. Slow striking means you apply the dye to cool or warm yarn/water which doesn’t strike until the water gets hot. This gives the dye a longer time to move around. For this dyeing tutorial, I used the Hot/Faster Striking method. I wanted some of my colors to be brighter and less diluted.

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Step 1:

Step 2: ​Supplies:

– Protein Fiber Yarn: I used Paragon Bare from Knit Picks

– Acid Dyes: I used Jacquard and Cushing

– Slow Cooker

– Water

– White Vinegar

– Plastic spoons, Chopsticks

– Dust Mask (you don’t want to breathe the dye powder)

Prep The Dye:
If you wish to use the dye in liquid form, go ahead and dissolve the powder with water according to the instructions on the label. This step is optional. I used pre-dissolved silver grey because I already had it from another project. Colors I used for this yarn: Jacquard Silver Grey, Jacquard Pink, Cushing’s Jade Green

Step 3: ​Prep the Yarn:

Add a couple inches of water and a cup of vinegar to your slow cooker. Place your yarn in the slow cooker and gently push it down into the water. Since the water is cold, the yarn won’t absorb it at this point. Don’t worry about that. It’ll absorb water as the slow cooker heats up. Turn the slow cooker on high and leave it to heat for about an hour.

Step 4: Apply the Dye:

At this point, you can decide which method of dyeing you want to use. You can sprinkle or speckle dye (see tutorial here) or kettle dye. I used the speckle dye method. First, I added some of the liquid silver grey dye. I wanted a somewhat neutral base of grey instead of white. Use your chopstick to gently lift and move the yarn so the dye goes sort of where you want it. Needless to say, be careful as the crock pot and the yarn are HOT!

Next, I picked up some of the Jade Green dye powder with a spoon and gently tapped it with a chopstick to sprinkle the yarn with the dye powder. (Wear your dust mask).

Repeat with other colors:

At this point, just leave it alone for a few minutes so the dye can be absorbed into the yarn. I accidentally dropped too much Jade Green in the pot so it took longer to strike.
Once the water is mostly clear again, gently turn your yarn over using the chopsticks or old metal spoons. Don’t move the yarn around too much or it might felt. Repeat sprinkling dye on the other side of they yarn.

Step 5: ​Finish the Yarn:

Put the lid back on your crock pot and let it cook for about an hour or until the water is once again clear. Turn off the crock pot and let it cool completely. Gently remove your yarn and rinse it with room temperature water. Try not to manipulate the yarn or drastically change the water temp as this can cause felting. Squeeze out excess water and hang your yarn to dry. Once the yarn is dry, it’s ready to use! Now you can knit or crochet or even felt with your pretty new yarn.



Have you tried dyeing your own yarn?

Make sure and check out my other yarn dyeing tutorials such as:

Beginner’s Guide to Hand Dyeing Yarn

How to Hand Paint Yarn

Kettle Dyeing Yarn and Fiber

How to Dye Self Striping Yarn

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    12 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Wow that looks beautiful. I bought a super cheap slow cooker just to use for craft stuff. So far it's melted beeswax, served as a pickle dip for silver rings, now it'll be dying some wool! thanks

    2 replies
    KAZ 2Y5

    1 year ago

    Thank you for this! I crochet and I'd like to try my hand at dying yarn, fantastic tutorial, really enjoyed it!

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    I'm ignorant about this 'stuff' but might consider trying it for my Mom.

    The dye precipitates out of the water into the yarn and leaves the water clear, did I understand that correctly?

    Is there such a thing about too much dye?

    How can you multi color a skein?

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes, absolutely you can use too much dye. It's always best to start with less dye and add more as you need it. You might try dyeing with kool aid or Easter Egg dyes first to give you an idea.


    1 year ago

    Is the yarn colorfast at this point or do you have to do a post dye mordant afterwards? I'm trying to learn about dyeing and really confused about mordants. LOVE the idea of using a crock pot. There's always a bunch of these in yard sales.

    1 reply