Dyeing yarn is at the heart of fiber arts. Unfortunately for me, my family is allergic to wool, so the traditional methods are out. I decided to try my hand at dyeing cotton yarn. It turned out to be a SUPER fun, easy, and very rewarding process!
This past weekend, my little boys and I decided it was time for a Spring tradition, tie-dyeing T-shirts! The boys’ school has a “Hippie Feel Good Day” every year when all the kids wear tie-dye shirts, fun sunglasses and sing feel good sings together. As a result, new tie-dye shirts are a part of our May to-do list every year.
This year, I decided to try something to get in on the fun and tie-dye some yarn.
When I got it all home, I realized I needed to go backwards with my yarn and take it out of a skein and back into a hank to dye it.
I don’t have a skein winder (although I may get one if I keep doing this tie-dye thing!), so I got out my yarn bowl, pushed two chairs together, and tied one end of the yarn to the back of the chair. Then I started to unravel the skein into a long loop over both chair backs. It took a few minutes, but before too long, I had a nice unrolled hank of yarn. I cut two strands about 8 inches long and used them to tie around the hank, securing the ends in place and keeping the whole thing together. This will keep it from tangling when you are washing it later.
Just like the T-shirts my boys were dyeing, I wet the yarn and wrung it out.
Then, with a plastic table cloth down, I laid out my yarn and added my desired colors. I went neon with my first one. J In the future, I will put down plastic wrap FIRST and then dye the yarn. The yarn has to be wrapped in plastic at the end, and it is easier to wrap if you don’t have to move it after dyeing.
I put a gap of white between each section, and I’m glad I did. The color bleeds down the fibers of the yarn and they blend together. Had I put the colors too close together, they would have gotten murky in the transition. Make sure you get all the yarn colored, but do not drench it! It will be sitting overnight wet, so you don’t want it in a puddle.
When I laid the plastic wrap on top, I tucked in the sides and pressed it down in the center of the ring so that the dye couldn’t seep to the other side. The plastic is so the dye stays wet, so make sure it is air tight. Then I let mine sit overnight. The instructions say at least 8 hours.
The next day, I rinsed out the yarn with cold water and then washed it with blue Dawn dish soap. I went around the ring and washed it a section at a time so that it didn’t get tangled.
I didn’t want the sun to fade the color, so I laid the yarn out the dry on my laundry drying rack in my living room. It needs to be rotated and “fluffed” occasionally so it dries evenly.
Then, I twisted it into a hank and it was ready to use!
And now, all I can think about is what colors I will do next!! So go! Dye yourself some awesome yarn! Make me a tie-dyed llama and comment with pictures!
100% white cotton yarn (I used Lily Sugar’N Cream Super Size.)
Kati is the designer behind Hooked by Kati. With thousands of patterns sold around the world, Kati prides herself in creating innovative, easy-to-follow amigurumi patterns. She has designed for several publications, including Crochet!, Crochet World, Simply Crochet, and I Like Crochet. Kati finds her inspiration in science fiction, video games, and numerous visits to the zoo — all passions she shares with her husband and two boys.