One thing I really love about knitting are all the beautiful yarns available. There are tons of commercial yarns that are pretty, of course, but what I really love are the indie dyers that sell their yarns on Etsy or other websites. The color combinations they come up with are so beautiful! I don’t know if I’ll ever be as good as any of them, but I really thought it would be fun to try to my hand at dyeing yarn.
There are many different ways to dye yarn & I hope to try all of them eventually. I promise I’ll post mini tutorials for each one as I try it. First up is dyeing yarn with Easter Egg tabs, which I scored for fifty cents a box the day after Easter…..
Items Needed –
- animal based yarn (I used 100% superwash Merino wool, 100 grams)
- a couple boxes of Easter Egg Dye kits
- a pot
- your stove
Let’s talk a minute about your yarn. You can buy undyed (or “naked” as I like to call it) yarn. It doesn’t have any dye or colors added. That is fantastic and I can’t wait to have some to play with. The nice thing about it is that you are starting with a clean slate. But, if you are like me and have absolutely no patience, then just pick some yarn from your stash. Anything that is lightly colored will work fine. The yarn I used was colored very lightly with pinks, purples and creams. Here is a picture…
Okay, back to the dyeing. First up, fill your pot about 1/2 or so full of water & add a few splashes of vinegar and add your yarn. You need it to get nice and soaked through so leave it to soak for a few hours. Don’t put your pot on any heat right now, you just want it to rest and wet the yarn. I filled my pot, added my yarn, and went off to watch tv with my hubby for a few hours. It kinda looks like spaghetti at this point!
Your yarn should be all wet now and you are ready for the fun stuff! Put your pot on the burner and turn the heat up to about medium. You want to get the water to a light simmer, but not boiling, and let your yarn heat through a little. I let it go for about 15 minutes while I was getting my Easter Egg Dye kits open and choosing my colors. It’s hard to tell which color the tab will turn into but just make a guess. (I’ll write a post later about the steps I took to get my Easter Egg Dye tabs organized.) I decided to go with 2 pink, 2 blue, and 2 green tabs.
Here comes the fun part! You are going to gently move the yarn with a long spoon to make a little pocket and drop your first tab into the pot. Then, in the same manner, add the rest of the tabs in different spots in your pot. Try not to really stir or agitate the water too much. You want your Easter Egg tabs to strike & color the yarn where they hit. Here is a picture of mine right after I dropped in all six tabs…
Keep your burner turned to about medium so that your water will continue to simmer. Set a timer for about 20 minutes and watch the magic unfold. Do not stir!! When your timer goes off, add just a little more water & another splash of vinegar and set it for another 20 minutes. I don’t know if this is completely necessary but I wanted to be sure that all the color set into the yarn. After the second 20 minutes session, remove your pot from the heat – not stirring or agitating the water – and leave it to cool down. I know it is difficult but wait until the water and your yarn has cooled down enough that you are able to touch it. Feel free to admire your handiwork as it is cooling! I’m loving the way mine turned out…
Once your yarn is completely cooled, remove it from the pot and rinse in your sink. Use warm water and just keep rinsing until the water runs clear. Now gently squeeze out as much water as possible. Don’t wring the yarn, just gently squeeze it. Next, wrap the yarn in some towels and press down hard to get more water out. You’re basically just trying to get as much water out now so that it will dry quicker. After you’ve gotten as much moisture out as you can, gently hang your yarn to dry. Here are a couple pictures of my drying yarn, although the color will probably change slightly as it dries…
I absolutely love the way my yarn turned out! There are so many different shades of blues and greens. The pinks seemed to turn more of a purple shade. I love all the variations!! I can’t wait to see how it changes and deepens as it dries. Not to mention how fun it is going to be all knit up. I’ll probably make some socks! Be watching for the finished items….eventually, lol!
If you try out this technique I would love to hear about it. Leave me a comment! Or if you have any tips or tricks to share about dyeing in general. I can see where I could become very, very addicted to this new hobby! I think that dyeing yarn with Easter Egg tabs is a fun, easy way to get started. But I’m also anxious to try out all the other techniques. Maybe I’ll even make up a technique or two of my own!
P. S. ~ ~ ~ ~ My yarn was dry when we got home from church this morning so I reskeined it. I think I like it even better now that it is dry! And the process was so fun!! Here it is in all its beauty…..