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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tutorial: Dyeing Yarn

After making my post yesterday, I realized I should probably write a tutorial on how to dye yarn at home without expensive or toxic dyes. The technique I used creates yarn guaranteed not to stripe.

sugar-free Kool-Aid packages (I recommend starting with reds, pinks, and purples. They are darker and adhere better)
Mason jars
saran wrap
new craft sponges
medicine droppers
undyed wool skeins (a natural cream works best)
apple cider vinegar
rubber bands
ceramic bowl
clothesline or something else to dry your yarn on
pot of coffee or tea


1. The night before, soak your skeins of wool overnight in a pot full of 1/2 coffee and 1/2 water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar will help the dye adhere more permanently to the yarn. The coffee will mute the bright colors of the Kool-Aid.

2. Use a surface to spread out several layers of saran wrap. Kool-Aid actually dyes most things it comes in contact with, so if you don’t want your kitchen counters permanently red, I’d suggest using a card table or a garage counter.

3. Open a Kool-Aid package and pour its contents into a Mason jar. Add tap water slowly until about half-full. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Do this with all the colors you want to have.

4. Lay your skeins flat and untwisted on the layers of saran wrap.

5. Start sponging the dye onto your yarn randomly in 1-2 inch sections. Make sure there is enough dye to soak through all the layers of yarn.

6. You can also use the medicine droppers to randomly splatter drops of dye onto the yarn.

7. Once you are finished with your skein, roll the skein up into a noodle shape inside the saran wrap it is laying on, making sure to contain most of the dye.

8. Twist your noodle of saran wrap and yarn into a circle. Secure with rubber bands.

9. Place wrapped yarn into your ceramic bowl and put in the microwave for two minutes. The heat “sets” the dye.

10. Let the yarn sit for 15 minutes in its bowl to cool off and to allow the dye to adhere even more.

11. Hang yarn up to dry on the clothesline. You should put more saran wrap on the floor. If the yarn drips, it will stain the floor.

12. Once your skein is dry, roll it into a ball, and begin knitting!

1 comment:

Jamie W. said...

OH MY, Rose, this is so FUN! I really want to try this now. But as I'm in the middle of two projects already (and school!) it will probably have to wait. :-( Still, fascinating to know how!