Using the Dye Generator

Background and Inspiration:

I recently bought a bunch of wool yarn on clearance and the other night, I was browsing around the What a Kool Way to Dye Ravelry group looking for a little inspiration on what to do with it all. The Luck of the Draw Dye-a-Long, where each person randomly picked three dyes and used that to make their DAL entry, really caught my attention… I wanted to try it out.

But how to go about it? I had Wilton’s Icing Colors, Paas tablets and Kool-aid packets on hand, but throwing them all in a bag and picking a couple probably would not get good results. Maybe writing all of the names down on pieces of paper and put those in the bag? Makes sense… but that would be too easy.

I am a bit of a computer geek and just recently, I started teaching myself how to program (Don’t know why it took me so long to bite that bullet!), so I thought, “Hey, why bother writing down all of those names and colors when I could make my computer do it for me?”

Thus the Random Dye Generator was born. It will create a random list of 3 to 6 colors to use for dyeing from a bank of Wilton’s, Kool-Aid and Paas Egg Dyes.

You can find the Generator on the Resources page. Play around with it, pick a number and let it give you some ideas for a dyeing project (And then be sure to share finished yarn!).

It might not be the prettiest bit of code and it has a few flaws (namely, sometimes a color shows up on the list more than once), but it is one of the first truly functional things I created, so I am happy with that!


I planned to dye a total of 50g of fingering weight wool/nylon blend yarn, split into a 40g and 10g hank. I put them into soak in water and a tiny bit of vinegar (because I didn’t know what sort of dyes would get chosen) while I put the finishing touches on the Dye Generator.

Then it was time to pick the colors. I decided to use 4 different colors, and here is the list it gave me:


Wilton’s Royal Blue, Orange Kool-Aid, Paas Yellow and Wilton’s Pink.

(I will confess, I deviated from the listed colors a bit. My Wilton’s Pink dried out and couldn’t be used. I substituted with pink Paas tablets).

I mixed my dye solutions in about 1/3 cup of water. Way more than I needed for my small hank of yarn. The Paas tablets were dissolved in vinegar before adding the water. I used two tablets for each color. Again, probably overkill. I used about 3/4 of a packet of Orange Kool-Aid (boy, does that stuff smell nasty!) and about 5 toothpick tips of Wilton’s Royal Blue.

Methods and Dyeing Process:

Sadly, I do not have any photos of the actual dyeing process. When I tried to transfer the photos from my camera, all of the files corrupted.

Thankfully, I wasn’t trying to demonstrate some crazy technique. I applied the dye in a pretty unoriginal manner: I divided the hank into rough quarters and then haphazardly applied a different dye to each segment using a syringe: orange, then pink, then yellow, then blue.


For the smaller hank, I took whatever remained of the pink, yellow, and orange dyes and used the twist/retwist method of dyeing. First yellow, then orange, then pink.

The Finished Product:

Here the final result, all rolled up into a pretty hank:


I was afraid that I would end up with rainbow yarn, but it actually did not turn out to be the case. Instead, it is very tropical and fruity… I love it!


There it is reskeined and paired with the smaller hank. Since the pink got so swallowed in the larger hank, I like how it dominates the smaller one.

I still need to figure out what to do with the rest of the wool I bought, so if you have some ideas for potential dyeing projects, let me know. I am always looking for some inspiration.

I hope you enjoyed my little experiment. If you hand-dye your own yarn, be sure to check out the Dye Generator. Maybe you will find a little inspiration for your next hand-dyed yarn!

Posted by Riya on
Awesome, I soo love the yarn you have made, it looks just so gorgeous. I have to spin just a little more of my South Down before I can do my first dye job, ^_^. Hope mine will end up as gorgeous as yours.
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