June 12th, 2012
Dyeing your yarn is a great project for the warmer months of the year, and can blossom into a hobby that you’ll enjoy year round! When you want to try dyeing your own yarn, here are a few tips that will help you choose the yarn, dye and tools you’ll need to have a successful project:
What tools to use? The first step in dyeing is assembling the right materials. Make your you have a non-reactive pot to heat the dyebath in (try steel or enamel pots), tongs to move the yarn, and protective covering/clothing in case of spills. If you’re working with kitchen-safe dyes, then you can use the pots you cook with, but in general it’s a good idea to have a separate set for dyeing.
100% Natural, or Fiber Blends? You’ll want to pick something with a high percentage of natural fiber in its composition. Blends of natural and acrylic fibers can take dye well, but will often have a different appearance.
Plant or Animal Fibers? Animal fiber (or keratin fiber) such as wool, alpaca, cashmere and angora, takes most natural and man-made dyes well. Plant fiber (or cellulose fiber) like cotton or bamboo can also be dyed, but requires specific compounds to bind to the fiber. Animal fibers are particularly easy to work with when you’re just getting started because they will respond to many kitchen-safe dyes. Whatever fiber you use, be sure to check that your dye is appropriate.
Color? In the beginning, it’s a good idea to use natural or very pale/white yarn for dye projects. As you get more comfortable with dyes and color, you may want to try over-dyeing, a process in which you dye a fiber that has been dyed before.
Some animal-fiber yarns that are great for first-time dyers are:
Have you ever dyed your own yarn? what tips would you share with a beginner?
- Yarn Dyeing: Selecting the Right Dye for Your Fiber
- How-To: Kool-Aid Dye with a Microwave
- Natural Dyes from Edible Items