I recently have been experimenting with dyeing yarn, and posted some photos of in the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC) group on Ravelry. I got asked what dyeing methods I used, so I decided to post about them here, and save everyone the gigantic forum essay (and also my posts weren’t posting correctly!)
Here’s all of my finished skeins. I used 3 different methods of dyeing to create them so I’ll explain each method separately.
I started with these yarns: (not super expensive, but you get a lot of yardage to play with!)
I skeined them (or rolled them in a ball if I wanted to do a gradient – more on that later)
and soaked them in water with white vinegar for at least 30 minutes. I believe the ratio I used was 1/2 cup of white vinegar for every 4 oz of yarn, but I’m not 100% positive:
Method for creating two color yarn:
- Squeeze (do not wring!!) vinegar/water soak from skein.
- Take two quart sized mason jars and fill them about 3/4 of the way with your vinegar/water soak.
- Add food coloring until you reach your desired colors (I used about 30 drops of McCormick food coloring per jar, but I like REALLY saturated colors, and was using 100-120 gm skeins).
- Put yarn in water 😉
- Put the two jars in the microwave. “Cook” on high power until you see the water start bubbling a little. Let it rest for a couple minutes. Repeat “cooking” process until the water in the mason jars is clear (basically the goal is to keep the water hot without agitating the yarn, which would cause felting).
Jars in the microwave:
Remove jars from microwave, and let sit on the counter to cool down a bit.
Once the water has cooled to room temperature, remove yarn and rinse. The water should run clear. If it does not, rinse until it does. Wash the yarn gently, and rinse again.
Hang to dry!
Kettle Dyeing Method:
Do the same vinegar/water prep as above, including squeezing out the water.
Fill a pot part way with your vinegar/water, and add dye.
Place yarn in pot. <– this part is where you can change up how the dye is distributed. For the purply skein above, I made sure the entire skein was dunked in the dye water.
For the blue one, I only partially submerged it: and then once half the dye had been absorbed, I submerged the rest of it. It gave me that lovely variation you see in the blue skein! Anyway, turn the burner on a low heat setting. Your goal is the same as with the mason jars. You want to heat the water without agitation, so a little bit of a steam or simmer is ok, but no boiling.
Once the water in the pot is clear, carefully remove the yarn and place it in a separate bowl to cool off. Once the yarn has cooled to room temperature, follow the rinsing and washing procedure as mentioned in the Two color method.
Gradient Dyeing Method:
Wind the yarn into a ball instead of a hank before soaking. Soak it as a ball in the same solution, and squeeze out the water once it has soaked.
Fill pot on stove with water (you can use the soak water – I did, but you don’t HAVE to).
Add dye: I used about 40 drops of McCormick dye for a 100 gm ball of yarn
Turn stove burner on low heat (so the water heats up but doesn’t boil – and thus felt – the yarn). Heat water/yarn until the yarn absorbs either all the dye, or almost all the dye (when you’re happy with the outside color, you’re good to go).
Remove ball of yarn CAREFULLY. Place in empty bowl to cool down.
When you go to squeeze out/rinse the ball of yarn, be careful, because the center might still be really hot. I use kitchen tongs to grab and squeeze the first time.
Rinse and wash yarn (I use a little dish soap) and make sure the water runs clear.
Wind into a skein and hang dry (in the sun works the fastest).
Play with pretty yarn 🙂
Please keep in mind that this is just the method that I used. It may not be the “right” way, as I’ve never been trained in dyeing – I basically just do some research and make it up as I go along because I love playing with colors!
Thank you to Wbmommy on Ravelry for asking me, and prompting me to write out this post! I hope it helps someone 🙂