Dyeing Yarn

I’ve been thinking more and more about doing some crafternoon projects that center on yarn. I know a lot of the ladies are interested in learning to knit or crochet. I thought I’d take it one step further and have everyone dye their own yarn first.
I wanted to try out dyeing yarn before crafternoon to get a good feel of it. I plan to make a few more test trials with some changes to see if the results are different, but here is what I did.
I took 100% wool yarn in a hank, tied off in a few places. I soaked my yarn in warm water, then gently squeezed most of it out. I then placed it down inside a cardboard box (outside) and sprayed the yarn with some vinegar. I flipped it over several times while spraying. Then I used a mixture of unsweetened kool-aid, and food coloring. I just would squeeze some in a color at a time, and then go back and add more. I flipped my yarn a few times, but tried not to mess with it too much for fear of the colors really running together.
Once I was satisfied with the coverage, I gently rinsed my yarn until the water was clear. I was so happy with how it turned out, even though it knitted up with a bit more brown then I expected. It was so much fun to knit with. I can’t wait to see what sort of results I can get with my next skien.

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12 Responses to Dyeing Yarn

  1. Rebecca says:

    This turned out gorgeous! I want to try this, I think my daughter would have a blast doing this!

  2. Amanda R. says:

    I love your crafternoons. I’m tying to get a local coffee shop to turn the unused upstairs into a maker space. I’d love to start doing a zine, or having crafternoons, or doing something exciting. (you know, on top of the full time work, three kids, and my bazillion hobbies… I’m a glutton for punishment)

  3. Sue Jackson says:

    Think cotton yarn would work also? Love how it turned out!

  4. Alex says:

    You might want to consider heating it in some way for extra color-fastness ;-) I’ve heard leaving it in a black plastic garbage bag in the sun can do the trick (especially in a sunny windshield!) I’d worry about it fading without heat-setting, though the vinegar ought to help.

  5. mortonma@att.net says:

    Very beautiful! The multi-colors remind me of Indian corn. I can’t wait to see what you make with it :)

  6. Stephanie says:

    I haven’t knitted in years, but this looks fun!

  7. Heidi Kenney says:

    Stephanie, I’d say I knit off and on through out the years, going long long months in between. But whenever I start up again I always love it!

  8. Heidi Kenney says:

    Mortonma, Yes! I can totally see indian corn!! :)

  9. Heidi Kenney says:

    Alex, thats true, though with previous kool-aid dying I haven’t had much trouble as long as the water was warm, but then again I’ve never made anything with the yarn that requires washing (like sweaters) haha

  10. Heidi Kenney says:

    Sue, unfortunately cotton’s won’t work with the kool-aid, they just don’t take color the same way as wool and you’ll find most of the color just rinsing out. http://www.biscuitsandjam.com/index.php?firstID=1661 this blog entry though gives some interesting info on her experience of dying cottons with kool-aids. Though you could do the same effects as my yarn with dyes made for cotton :)

  11. Heidi Kenney says:

    Amanda, I am the same way-so many ideas and things I want to do—but never quite enough time :)
    I love your idea though, sounds like it could be such an amazing space!

  12. Heidi Kenney says:

    Rebecca, it is so much fun, and the best part is its not toxic like some dyes. Although it does seem creepy to ever drink kool-aid knowing it can dye wool yarn so vibrantly without anything else added! You only need the vinegar for the food dye since the kool-aid has citric acid :)