Yarn dying at home!

yarn dying_featured

I got home from a long office day and decided that I needed to do something hands-on and creative. My computer legs were tired of sitting.

I took one long look at my yarn stash and finally decided I would attempt to dye my own yarn.

I originally wanted to wait until I had the perfect project in mind but tonight was all about experimentation.

yarn dying_supplies

Dye Yarn at Home Supplies
– white natural fiber yarn divided up into 50 gram hanks(ie. wool)
– 2 ziploc bags with zipper closure per hank
– 2 cups of acid (lemon juice or white vinegar) per hank
– warm water
– rubber/latex gloves
– RIT dye in choice colors
– mason jars or plastic containers to mix dye in
– paper towel for testing colors
– metal pans for holding yarn while dying
– microwave for baking dye in

I pulled a skein of Lion Brand Fisherman’s wool and divided it into manageable hanks.

yarn dying_white yarn

In order for the RIT dye to stick, the yarn had to soak in an acid base. I had enough to do half the yarn with lemon juice and the other half with white vinegar. I’ve heard mixed reviews about using different acids. I’ve heard vinegar can leave a smell, while lemon juice may affect the coloring of the dye.

I filled gallon plastic ziploc bags with luke warm water, the acid and my yarn and let them soak for about 20 minutes, until I felt they were fully submerged.

My darling husband got home around this time.

“Guess what!!! I’m dying yarn! Want to help?” Of course he is sweet enough to say yes.

I give him half the yarn and we begin the fun part. Mixing colors.

yarn dying_dye
Mixing color hint * add dark colors into light colors to get desired color, otherwise you may use the entire bottle trying to lighten up a dark color.

I carefully mix colors using a piece of paper towel to examine the true color of the murky black water. I look up and see the HB haphazardly mix and dump and stir and dunk. I corrected him and he looks up and frowns. He makes the point that it’s art so how can I correct that? He was right, so I shut up.

Dye tip * If you create a color you are happy with you can add water to make a lighter shade of the same color.

We drizzle, sponge and squeeze our yarn until we are happy with the results.

yarn dying_stripes

Dye tip* to create a corrugated look, dye parts of the same hank different colors. For stripes, make separate small hanks and dye each full circle its own color.

yarn dying_doublebag it

DONE DYING? You gotta double bag your dyed yarn, it may leak…No one wants that. Fill the bags with water until the yarn is covered. I then microwaved the bags, alternating between two to prevent them from getting too hot, for 1 minute 30 seconds. Do this until the water in the bags is mostly clear.

The deeper colors never fully cleared up, but once I wasn’t the yarn, the colors stayed pretty brilliant.

yarn dying_rinse2

After “cooking” the yarn, I washed each hank in the sink to get out any extra dye and lay them out to dry.

yarn dying_drying

yarn dying_wind
I balled up each color and gave them names! “Raw Hamburger Meat” “Eye of the Storm” “Lemon Grass” and “Blue Robin.” I have to hand it to him, my love is quite the dyer. His turned out the best! Now I just need the perfect patterns…

yarn dying_finals