Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm Dyeing! I'm Dyeing!

I've wanted to do a post about dyeing yarn for a while, so when I agreed to barter a pair of my Centennial socks for some great IndyCar swag, I decided to hand-dye the yarn for the socks and take a few photos.

You can dye wool yarn quite easily with powdered drink mix.  For this project I used four packets of Cherry, two packets of Black Cherry and two of Tropical Punch.
Yarn soaking before being put in the dyepot.
After you put your dyepot water on the stove (you want it just barely at a simmer), you have to soak the yarn thoroughly so the dye will strike relatively evenly.  The soaking water should be pretty warm, and you want to poke the yarn down into the water really well so it all gets wet, but if you don't have superwash yarn don't wiggle it around too much or you will end up with a felted mess.

Dyepot ready for drink mix dye solution.
 I put the drink mix powder into a glass jar and add hot water to it, stirring well to make sure it's all dissolved. then I add this to the dyepot on the stove.  One advantage to dyeing with drink mix is that you don't have to have separate utensils for dyeing because the ingredients are all food (sort of, lol).
Yarn in the dyepot.  It sits until all the dye strikes.
 Lower your sopping, soaked yarn hank (which hopefully you have tied loosely so it doesn't tangle) into the dyepot, poking it down well under the dye solution.  You can GENTLY stir and lift the yarn around, but don't be too enthusiastic if your yarn isn't superwash.  Simmer the yarn until all the dye has struck onto it; the water will either be clear or nearly so.  I use a wooden spoon to lift the dye out of the water, and I put it over a clothes hanger and let it drip over the sink:
Dyed yarn hank drip-drying.
 Once it's all dry, you can take a look at it and if you're happy with the result, wind it into a ball and knit away!  There are some places in my skein where the dye didn't strike well, but I decided to knit it up anyway and see how the socks look.  If I'm not happy I can overdye them to reduce any wild variation in color intensity!
Half a leg of sock #1
This evening I got to the heel flap of the first sock; I'll do the heel tomorrow and should be finished with the sock on Friday night (after which I will immediately cast on the mate).

So you see it's pretty easy to dye your own yarn....you don't have to do one color either.  The first yarn I ever dyed was a random mix of blue raspberry, black cherry and tropical punch!


  1. Thanks. I am liking the way it looks knit up so far; the variation gives the yarn a bit of a weathered look.