Earlier this week, I talked about using yarn that was tonal colored to help bring a bit of shading and interest to your weaves. Today, I’m finally trying out dying yarn with the goal of making my own tonal yarn. I’ve been wanting to give yarn dyeing a try for a while now and researched a lot of different techniques. For my first time, I’ve decided to stick with using Kool-aid and and vinegar because these are non-toxic and simple to get.
I started with this post from the lafiabarussa blog on using the microwave to dye the yarns, which was really helpful. I ended up making a few changes as I went and I’ll include my steps in case you would like to try this at home too. This process works on 100% wool yarn that is bare of color.
step 1| I filled a baking dish with 2 quarts (8 cups) of water and ½ cup of vinegar, then put my bare wool in to soak for 30 minutes. After the 30 mins remove your yarn and gently squeeze it over the baking dish to remove excess liquid. Then place the yarn on a water resistant table or on a towel (it will still be really wet).
step 2| next I selected three glass jars (or use any microwavable cup you may have) and the colors I wanted for my yarn. I decided to make a red, orange, and yellow colored yarn. So I took one packet of cherry Kool-aid for the red, one packet of peach mango Kool-aid for the orange, and one packet of lemonade for the yellow. I filled each jar with it’s own Kool-aid packet and 1 ½ cups of the water/vinegar mixture that my wool was soaking in and stirred the mixture until the packet powder was dissolved. It’s important to dissolve the powder completely so that you get good color. Place the jars on a microwavable plate so that they will be easy to carry together.
step 3| picking the wool back up, I placed a section of the wool in each one of the jars. I then took one section at a time and moved it a few inches out of the jar and into the next one. I did this with the yarn in each jar until all parts of the yarn were colored. Next I moved a section of yarn back through each jar the other way, until I had the yarn in the same position as it started. I did this to make sure my yarn was covered well with dye.
step 4| place the dye jars with the yarn into the microwave. Microwave the dye and jars just long enough to get the water to just boiling. For me this took 6.5 minutes on high, but I recommend at least doing 4 minutes and keeping an eye on it the whole time, then try adding a minute or so if it doesn’t seem hot enough.
step 5| when the water has gotten to temperature take the dye jars/yarn out of the microwave and set it to the side. Let it sit until it cools down to room temperature. You don’t want to touch and move the yarn when the water is hot. Heat and friction is what causes wool to felt.
step 6| once the water is at room temperature the water in the jars should be clear as the color has been absorbed into the wool. Remove the wool from the jars and carefully rinse it.
step 7| the last step is to leave the wool on a drying rack to dry. Since wool takes so long to dry, I like to place my yarn on an old towel (one that I don’t mind if it gets dye on it). I then slowly roll the towel over the wool and then press down on the rolled towel. This helps get excess water out of the wool without causing too much friction. Then hang your wool to dry.
I like how the colors turned out, the dip dyeing creates a really nice color ombre. I might dye this yarn a second time to try to get stronger colors and I’ll share what happens. It was really fun to experiment with dyeing yarn, and I think I’ll some different colors too.
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