Autumn, chickens, crochet, Relaxing, yarn

Hand Dyeing Yarn

I thought I’d have a  go at hand dyeing some yarn.  Last year… probably about May time (so 18 months ago), I bought some undyed yarn from eBay ready to experiment with a wonderful picture I’d seen on Pinterest using Kool-aid and Ice-cubes.  I dyed two skeins, as per the instructions and it was a disaster….. but I’ll show you those ones later!

So today, armed with the dyes I bought at Festiwool last year from Doodlestop  I attempted it again!  Isn’t it amazing how time just slips away.  I can remember buying these, and now I look back and think that was nearly a year ago.  We’ve done so much in that time, traveling, gardening, new school year……..

Warning………Get yourself all set up before even opening the dyes, so you will need:

GLOVES (Note this is in capitals!!!)

Clingfilm (Glad wrap)

Some containers for the dye


Syringes (courtesy of Nurofen!)

A plate

A microwave


WHEN HANDLING THE DYES – WEAR GLOVES and don’t do the dyeing on anything white!

So the dyeing carried out on my old garden table.  The yarn, Debbie Bliss undyed Cashmerino I think,  soaked this time in 6 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar for 30 minutes before use.


Wring it out loads so there is minimal moisture in it.  Then place it on clingfilm, I used 2 sheets overlapped.  Lay it out so that it is in a big circle.  You’ll find the skeins have about 3 tie loops holding all the yarn in place and use these to help you.


Set up your dyes for mixing.  By this point I’d already mixed up the powders with some water.  Using a kids medicine spoon, for some it was the 2.5mL end of dye in water, one if those little jam jar pots full, you always get at buffet breakfasts in hotels – you know the ones Tiptree Jam, so about 42mL of water.  For the yellow I added more colour, as it didn’t seem to be dissolving.


I then transferred them to  other jars (with lids) and these are going to be my stock jars as I’m sure I’ll do this again!

I only have 4 colours of dye, on the guy at the stalls advice.  The primary colours so I can mix what I want and black to change them slightly.

So red, yellow, blue and black dyes, made up in jars, but far too strong!


So time to dilute and have some colour mixing fun!

5 glasses from Ikea, I used little ones the children use for drinks, so about 100 mL in total and filled them up to the line with water, so about 50mL. (I tried to find a link but I think they must have been discontinued).

I knew I wanted green and blue.  As soon as I started adding the dye to the cups and mixing,  I could see the blue was a lot stronger than the yellow, so less blue was needed.  I tried all the colours on the kitchen roll too – just to check I was happy with them.

In the end I used

Cup1: 2 drops blue, 9 drops yellow

Cup 2: 13 drop yellow, 3 drops blue

Cup 3: 9 drops of blue

Cup 4: 15 drops black

To cups 1-4 I added 3 drops of the black to try and tone down the colours


Cup5: 10 drops yellow, 5 drops red

Then to paint!

Using a syringe I drew up 10 mL of the cup dye and squirted in onto the yarn.



As you can see – it looks pretty patchy, so this is where you need to get your hands dirty (or hopefully not if you are wearing gloves!), and massage the dye into the yarn.  By this point I realised I’d need a lot more colour.  So approximately each colour block needed about 30mL of dye.


So this was looking better, but I’d only got 2 colours left, and I had half a skein to dye.  So I added what I hoped to be black, and the orange leaving a gap in the middle.   The black turned out to be navy – note for next time – more dye needed!  I didn’t want it black, more of a grey, but it was a lovely colour that blended nicely with the blue it was next too.

My helpers came over to see me at this point…..


The new colour?  Well I didn’t have anymore cups, so I started experimenting with what I had, mixing in the cups, and then testing on the kitchen paper.   I wanted a purple so red and blue, but the blue was very strong and needed diluting even more!  I’ve ended up with a redish mauve colour which I’m happy with.   So I’m back on my rainbows, in the ‘correct’ order again – completely by accident!

Dyes all massaged in – now time to cook the yarn!


Roll it up in the clingfilm – so it’s completely covered, and place on a microwavable plate.  You are now going to “cook” the yarn to seal the colours in.


My yarn I did for 2 minutes on high, then took it out, and left it to cool, before cooking it again for 1 minute 30 seconds.  It should be steaming!

Then straight into a container for washing.  I filled it up with warm water, and it looked like the colour had set, as it was pretty clear even though I was squishing it about.  I then added a little bit of washing up liquid, and the water started turning a dirty murky colour.  I carried on changing the water and squishing the yarn around until the water was clear.  I did the cooking / setting and the washing steps one skein at a time.

Then I rang out the water, and hung it up to dry on the washing line on a sunny day in England (amazingly they do exist!).

Do you want to see the results?

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img_9783 img_9781



So I’m definitely doing this again.  So easy – and so unique!  I just need to think of what colours I want, and to try and steer away from rainbows!!!!

I decided to send one of the skeins to my BBB (Best Blogging Buddy), Louise from the highly entertaining blog Red Haired Amazona, all the way down under in Australia.  I sent her this hand dyed yarn, with a little note, a 3.5mm Crochet hook and a challenge!

What can you make with 1 skein, hand dyed yarn….. and I’ll do the same…… What this space……….


2 thoughts on “Hand Dyeing Yarn

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