Adventures in Yarn Dyeing

As my new grandchild is going to be a boy, I have decided that I am going to need lots of blues and other strong colours for cardigans, building blocks, toys and blankets. So it was down to the Brickworks today for another session of dyeing. Now I haven’t done yarn dyeing for a little while so it was a bit of a learning curve and looking at the book a lot before I got going.

I usually use 4-ply botany wool as it dyes easily, washes well and is (I think) better for baby clothes than all these synthetic baby wools.

Firstly, I had to wind some 50g hanks off the cone.

Then the hank was secured with 4-5 figure-of-8 knots and was soaked in warm water for 30 minutes.

The next stage was to mix up the dyes. I use Easydye All-in-one dyes from Kemtex colours. These live up to their name as you don’t need citric acid or vinegar – just hot water.

All-in-one Dyes

How much dye you need depends on how deep a shade you want and there are loads of books giving advice on this. But I dissolved 1 teaspoon in 1 tablespoon of warm water, mixed it to a paste and then topped it up with 100ml boiling water. then, I took a tablespoon of this mixture and mixed it into 1 litre of warm water. (You can dye a lot of wool with just one teaspoon!)

This was then poured into a suitable plastic or glass bowl which  fits in the microwave and the yarn added.

Yarn in a suitably sized basin

The bowl then needs to be covered with clingfilm, which is pierced a few times, and the yarn cooked on medium power for 10 minutes. After this period, check the dye liquid. It should be pale or clear. If it isn’t it needs to go back in for another 5 minutes.

After cooking, carefully remove the clingfilm and leave the yarn and liquid to cool completely.

Rinse in warm water until the water is completely clear.

Squeeze out remaining water – don’t wring!!

Fold a large bath towel in half widthways and lay your hank on the towel.

Wrapping your yarn in a towel

Fold the towel up carefully, lay it on the floor and stamp purposefully back and forth – on the towel.

Me Stamping Purposefully

Now hang your hank up to dry, spreading out the strands to aid airflow.

Hanks Drying

Now all you need to do is knit, knit, knit – or if weaving is your bag – get to it!


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