07 April 2013

avid dyer

The first time I dyed yarn I found it and such a lengthy process I didn't think I'd be back for more.  But this time I wanted a specific colour, had some white yarn, so why the heck not. 

I'm not particularly scientific when it comes to dying.  I've watched a bunch of youtube videos and read a bunch of tutorials, so my technique is a bit of this and that.  I personally found a bunch of the ChemKnits tutorials very helpful.

I've not graduated beyond food colouring yet.  I found these ones by Americolor in a local lollystore, and was happy to give colours outside those available at woolies (being red, blue, yellow and green) a go.

My technique in this instance was influenced by the quantity of yarn I wanted to dye.  I didn't have a micorwave safe dish that would both hold my desired quantity of yarn and actually fit in my microwave.   So I tried the stove-top method, becuase I had a big pot.

The yarn:  180g of Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4ply. 

The colour:  orange 113

The technique:

Use your swift (or the back of a chair, whatevs) to unwind your ball of yarn into a skein.  Use some cotton to tie it in multiple places so it doesn't tangle (see how she ties it here).  Soak your yarn in some water with a generous splash of white vinegar.  I soaked mine overnight.

Put some water in the largest pot you have.  Add a generous splash of white vinegar.  Add a full bottle (25g) of Americolor (or whatever dye you're using at whatever ratio you fancy) to the pot and stir so the dye dissolves into the water (I used my Nigella whisk).  Bring to a light boil. 

Remove your yarn from the soak and get rid of most of the water.  Plop it into the pot.  QUICKLY get a spoon and submerge it.  Every time I've dyed I found the yarn sucks up majority of the dye super quick, so you need to make sure it all gets submerged to get full coverage asap so the entire skein has an equal chance of absorbing the dye.  I don't know if this is scientific, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Boil until the yarn has absorbed all the dye and the water is clear.  Mine took about 20 mins.  Turn off the heat and leave the yarn in the pot to cool enough so you can handle it.

Rince the yarn in lukewarm water with a bit of dish soap until the water runs clear.  This took FOREVER for me so I resorted to a short vinegar soak in an attempt to get the dye to stick and the water was clear after that. 

Squeeze out the excess water and hang to dry. 

Twist into a hank, and take pretty pictures.

I'm quite pleased with the result.  It's bright, practically neon orange.  It has some slight variations in colour - is that what you would usually expect dying it this way?  It could have gone a lot worse considering the amount of yarn I was dying at once.

I think I'm going to call the colour, Fanta-sea.

Now.... what to make...


P.s. Linking up with Nat at Made in Home for Let's get acquainted!


  1. Oh my! I absolutely love that you! That was definitely a dyeing success, I'm so impressed. Maybe you should start up an indie yarn store with your handdyed yarn? You could name the colorways after drinks : )

    1. I think the funnest part of being a dyer would be naming the colours!!

      Hmm I think becoming a dyer can be my retirement plan :D

  2. You have inspired me to dye some yarn! You make it look so easy!

    1. I would highly recommend it :D It is very satisfying to squish the end result!

  3. That is pretty awesome, and you make it look so simple...the temptation to try it myself sometime!!

    1. I promise I didn't leave anything out - it's as simple as I describe. The most stressful bit is getting the yarn into the dye quickly.

      Watch out if your yarn isn't machine washable too. especially with the heat, you might get some felting.

  4. Ha ha, that is the best name ever! I actually literally laughed out loud when I read that! ^_^ I've never dyed any yarn before but seeing your awesome results so makes me want to try it! ^_^

    1. a real life lol! My life is now complete :D

      DO IT!

      Next time I'm going to try dying a couple of different colours on the one skein :D

  5. I love it!! And the name brings back fond memories of guzzling all that Fanta when I was a kid!!!

    Your instructions are scientific enough for me. I'm participating in a CraftAlong this month and the task is dyeing yarn. Your experiment came right on time.

    So ... what are you going to make with Fanta-sea?

    1. Oh isn't the thought of actually drinking fanta now foul?

      I will look out for the results of your craft-along!

      I was going to make a Sweet Summer Rays shawl, but I think it might be a bit too bright for a shawl. So maybe some sort of lacey scarf.

  6. Did you draw that comic? Because it is brilliant, hahaha.

  7. Brilliant! Now that is orange. Great colour.

  8. Wow it looks wonderful! I'm amazed your yarn looks so good it looks like you have been doing this for a while. Can't wait to see what u r going to do with it :)

  9. Hello Tanya,

    Gosh that is seriously bright. When I first saw the picture I thought it was a pan of orange spaghetti. Looking forward to seeing what you make with it!

    Love from England,

  10. Wow, that's so cool! I've never really thought about dyeing yarn. Maybe I'll have to give it a go :)