Tutorial: Yarn Dyeing

This post was supposed to be up last week, but life got in the way a bit.. well, maybe just a 2 year old. Now, I'm no expert yarn dyer so this is just how I dye my own yarn using the Kettle Pot method.

Supplies Needed

  • Undyed yarn: wool or superwa
  • Acid dyes: I use Jacquard Acid Dyes, you can get them at Knit Picks or sometimes at a yarn shop
  • Big pot not shown: make sure you don't use it for cooking afterward
  • Potato Masher: also make sure you don't use it for cooking afterward
  • Throw Away Cups: again, don't use these for cooking or drinking out of later, I use plastic fast food cups
  • Sink: For rinsing out your yarn, duh! :)

Step 1: Lay your yarn out in a circle, I leave it in skein form for this. Tie 4 evenly placed loose loops around the yarn to keep it together when dyeing. This will make it from tangling in the water and when you mush it around a bit. I always throw the dry yarn in the pot before I start so I can see how much water I need to add. I like to add the water high enough so that the yarn puffs up a little like an island in the water.

Step 2: Fill your pot up with water so that the yarn won't be fully submerged in the water. Turn it on high and bring it to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, boil some water in a kettle to use for the dyes.

Step 3: When your water starts to boil in the pot, turn down the heat to medium or medium-high. Just to tone down the boiling a bit. Your kettle should be boiling by now as well. Add a a little bit of acid dye to your cup, not sure how much I use, I always just sprinkle it into the cup... maybe a teaspoon or two. Add your hot water to the cups, not a whole lot. You can see how much I added, it was only around 2 inches of water. Stir them or swirl your cup around to get the dye mixed.

Step 4: While your dye is dissolving, go ahead and throw your dry yarn into the boiled water pot. Some people like to have their yarn wet when they add it to the pot, I like to add it dry. It's just one less step to do when you have a 2 year old running around the living room. Mash your yarn into the water gently with your potato masher. If your using 100%, do it gently as not to agitate it too much and cause it to felt. I'm pretty rough and have never had yarn felt up, but you never know!

Step 5: Now time to add the dye! I usually add 2-3 colors of color to the pot and pick out a darker color for spots. For this yarn I used Sky Blue, Kelly Green and Chartreuse. Pour your first color against one side of the pot (I did the blue first on the far right), then pour the other color into the other side. If your using 2 colors, I pour one color to the right and one to left. I don't like my color to touch when pouring, so I leave a lot of white in between or in the center. The dye will migrate to these spots while it "cooks" though. When I have added my premixed dyes from the cups, I then just sprinkle dry dye directly onto the yarn. I only sprinkle it on the yarn that isn't in the water, you can see the clumps of it here and there. Some of it will migrate to the water and dilute out a bit, but most will stay put.

I keep my yarn in the pot for 5-15 minutes, depending on how vibrant I want the yarn. The longer you leave the yarn in there, the more the colors will mix I've noticed.

Step 6: Once your yarn is ready to come out of the pot, you'll turn your sink water on hot. Let it get really hot to match the same temperature as the water in the pot. I take the yarn pot to the sink and pour out the water, using the potato masher to hold the yarn back and not fall into the sink. Fill it back up with the fresh hot water, then pour it back out like you just did. I keep doing this over and over and gradually turn the water cooler and cooler so you don't shock the yarn and felt it. Once it's cool enough to handle I flop it into my hands and squeeze out the water gently. When the water runs clear, then your done. I normally throw the wet yarn over out front gate to let it dry in the sun.

Your done!

1 comment:

  1. this is awesome, thanks so much! I cant wait to try it for myself! :)