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Step by Step Turmeric Dye

By Amy Reader on January 7, 2021

Turmeric is a bright golden spice that you can find in most grocery stores. It is commonly used in curries and recently in golden milk. If you have ever cooked with it, you probably know that it stains bright gold very easily. This staining effect can be used to our advantage to create a beautiful golden yarn in your own kitchen!

The warm golden color of turmeric pairs perfectly with soft, and squishy yarn like Stratus that is perfect for knitting or crocheting up something cozy during the cooler months.

 

Turmeric powder Dye

 

Supplies

  • 1 skein of bare yarn (I used Stratus)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of turmeric powder
  • Citric acid or vinegar
  • Tongs
  • Slow cooker (or your favorite method for heat setting yarn)

 

Turmeric Dye dissolve

Prepare 

Prepare your yarn for dyeing by presoaking it. In your dye vessel, add your turmeric, acid of choice, and 6 ounces of warm water. I used one and a half tablespoons of turmeric and one tablespoon of citric acid. Mix together until the turmeric is dissolved. Looping a zip tie around one end makes your yarn easier to manage during the dye process. 

When the turmeric is fully dissolved, fill the dye vessel with enough cool water to cover the yarn. 

 

Turmeric Dye

Dye

Add your presoaked yarn to the dye vessel. Gently stir the yarn in the vessel to ensure dye flows fully around the yarn for even color distribution. As your yarn absorbs the dye pigment, you may need to gently move it around the dye bath a little bit. Using your tongs, rotate the yarn slowly in a half-circle. I rotated mine twice over the course of four hours. Take care to move the yarn very slowly as too much agitation will cause it to felt. 

 

Turmeric Dye

 

Heat set

Add heat to your dye vessel. Here I have used a slow cooker to heat set the yarn. I left the yarn on the high setting for four hours until the dye bath was exhausted. You can also use a stockpot on the stove to heat set your yarn, or your preferred heat setting method. If you have your yarn on the stove, keep an eye on the yarn while it is setting as you do not want the yarn to boil. 

 

Turmeric Dye

 

Let it cool

Once your yarn is a bit darker than desired, remove it from the heat to allow it to cool. Yarn will lighten as it dries. 

Rinse

After your yarn is fully cooled, squeeze out any excess water and then rinse it thoroughly with cool water.

 

Dry

After your yarn has been thoroughly rinsed, squeeze out the excess water again, and then hang it to dry. Yarn can take a few hours to dry, so hanging your yarn over a drying rack in a room with good airflow or a fan on low can help expedite the drying process.

finished Turmeric Dye yarn

 

Enjoy your yarn! 

Now that you have finished dyeing your own golden yellow yarn, it is time to make something with it! Be sure to tag us on social media with #knomadyarn to share your golden turmeric dyed creations! We can’t wait to see what you make.

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Amy Reader

Amy Reader is a fiber artist based in Portland, OR. She learned to sew when she was six years old and quickly fell in love with textiles of all kinds. With the help of her grandmother, Amy learned to knit and crochet shortly thereafter. Amy started dyeing with kitchen safe dyes and was immediately hooked. She loves working with bold and playful colors and primarily dyes yarn for her line of hand-embroidered jewelry.

2 responses to “Step by Step Turmeric Dye”

  1. Hanna Cordray says:

    Forewarning to dyeing with turmeric: it fades VERY quickly in the light. So quickly, in fact, that while my turmeric-dyed wool yarn came glowing a gorgeous yellow out of the dye pot, as I dried it on a rack in the afternoon sun, it slowly (and quite unevenly) faded to a pale yellow. The result by the evening was almost a popcorn color effect: mostly an off-white yellow with small bursts of yellow (areas that were under strands in direct sunlight). This was just one afternoon in the sun.
    Yes, I mordanted the wool.
    Imagine what it would look like after one or two days of wearing it in a sweater! Goldenrod, though not as bold of a yellow, does not fade nearly as quickly, and is a great alternative to turmeric.

  2. Judy Taylor says:

    Thank you for a great idea. I’m trying it today.

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