Sounds yummy doesn’t it? Cake Dyeing…. Unfortunately no yummy cakes were baked, dyed or consumed for this project.
Cake dyeing is taking a skein of yarn and winding it into a “cake” with a ball winder and then dyeing it. The word “cake” came about due to the resemblance of the wound yarn to a stacked layer cake. This creates a centre-pull “ball” of yarn to knit from.
Ok, enough of word origins, on to the experiment! I found 3 balls of sad looking yarn in the “free bin” in our condo craft room. 2 were an ugly golden-yellow colour, the third was a really ugly greenish-gray ball of what surely came out of a swamp. No wonder they were cast off from whoever put them in the bin. Nobody wants butt-ugly wool. So I rescued them a few weeks ago with the intention of brightening them up in a dye experiment.
Enter cake dyeing. The process where you wind yarn into the cake shape and submerse it up to half its height in a dye liquid, flip and do another colour and you come out with a wonderfully colour-patterned yarn.
First off was to soak the 2 gold ones in water and citric acid (or vinegar) to prep the wool to accept the dye. I then took a roasting tray with a rack and placed enough water in it to come up to halfway up the cake of yarn. I then added my dye stock which was 1/2 tsp of Wilton’s Icing Gel red food colouring to half a cup of boiling water, stir to dissolve and dump in. I also added another 3-4 tbsp of vinegar too.
Add your yarn and bring the temp up to 170F and simmer for about an hour. I carefully flipped the cakes over and let the second side soak for another hour. Turn off the heat and left them to cool. Once cool, rinse under the same temperature water, wind back into a skein and let dry.
The results are 2 very bright skeins of yarn now worthy of knitting. I call these 2 skeins “Orange Sherbert”.
Now with the other skein of butt-ugly greenish-gray yarn, I omitted the pre-soak to try and get the colour absorption to slow down. Which worked a little too well as the colour didn’t penetrate as far into the cake of yarn as I would have liked. The other steps were the same except for not pre-soaking.
I will re-dye this one solid purple as I really don’t like how it came out. But heck, that is why they are called experiments as you never know exactly what you are going to get!