If you are following me on Instagram you may have noticed that I have recently started dyeing my own yarn! Dyeing your own yarn is super fun and the best thing is, that you don’t even have to buy much equipment to get started since you can just use easter egg colors and vinegar. And you can even use your usual kitchen tools because the easter egg kits are made of food coloring, which is safe and easy to use.
IMPORTANT! In this tutorial we will use and heat up vinegar (essence) which can irritate your skin and also your lungs if you inhale too much of the fumes.
So the first step is to open up your windows (especially in the room where you will be microwaving) to improve the air cirulation and you should also consider wearing gloves when you are handleing the vinegar.
Inhaleing some of the fumes is fine but keeping the windows open will also help with getting the vinegar smell out of your house quicker 😀
You will need:
- undyed, woolen yarn
- easter egg colors (mine are in the form of tablets)
- white vinegar or vinegar essence
- bowls and jars or containers
- spoons and a fork
- saran wrap
- a microwave
Before we can start dyeing we need to soak the yarn in warm water for about one hour.
First I wanted to show you how to dip dye. For that I prepared 4 containers with yellow, red, blue and violet dye. You can either follow the instructions on the back of the colors (but I would still use only half the amount of water to get richer colors!) or mix the colors as I did here.
For each of the colors red, blue and yellow I took one tablet and dissolved it in 110 ml of hot water and 40 ml of vinegar essence. After that I poured some of the blue and the red dye into a smaller container to get a violet shade, since there was no violet in my easter egg kit.
Next take the yarn out of the water and squeeze it out until the yarn is still moist but not soaking wet. Then we can dip it into our first color (yellow).
You will see that the yarn absorbs the dye really quickly so you need to work fast to get your yarn as evenly dyed as possible.
I dipped the next part of the yarn into the red color. Why did I choose the red color? When dyeing yarn you need to be aware that the parts where your neighboring colors meet, both colors mix. In this case there will be small areas of orange.
If I had taken violet instead of red there would have been some brown mixed into my yarn, which I didn’t want for this skein.
Here I am dipping the next section of my yarn into the violet dye.
And lastly I dipped the rest of my yarn into the blue color.
As you can see, the saturation of the colors differs throughout the different colors and there are also some white areas left. I personally really like that but if you don’t want that I would recommend to either use more color (for example 2 tablets per color with 220 ml of water and 80 ml of vinegare essence) or just use more water.
Using more water dilutes the color so keep in mind that the colors won’t be as bright but instead more pastel. Something that also influences the outcome is the way you place the yarn into the color. If you work faster and get the yarn into the dye all at once your result will be more even than if you work slower.
For the next skein I decided to try to speckle the dye on. I wanted red and blue speckles, so I mixed red and blue (one tablet each with 110 ml of hot water and 40 ml of vinegar essence). Since I wanted my blue to be more turqouise I also mixed some yellow and added a few tablespoons of yellow into the blue.
Next I squeezed out the skein and put it on a baking sheet. I have also put some paper towels underneath the skein to absorb any excess dye.
To create the speckles, dip your fork into the dye (I started with red) and stick the fork into the yarn. Repeat.
As you can see the speckles are pretty subtle so this method definitely is more time consuming than the first one.
After a while I felt like the yarn wasn’t absorbing the dye as good as before (the more wet the skein is the less color it absorbs) so I squeezed the skein out from time to time. Also turn the yarn to speckle the other side of the skein as well.
I repeated the whole process with the blue dye.
After I was done I still had so much of the blue and the red left that I decided to dip the yarn into both colors. As you can see the speckles are still mostly visible in the dipped parts.
Now that both of our skeins are dyed, we need to fixate the dye. Put the skein into a bowl (that can be used in a microwave!) and seal it with saran wrap.
Put the bowl into the microwave (2-3 minutes, 800 watts), take it out and turn the skein. Put the saran wrap back on and microwave it for another 2-3 minutes (800 watts).
BE CAREFUL! The yarn gets really hot so wear oven mittens and use tongs to turn the skein. Also remember to open up your windows since the heating process will set some serious fumes free.
Take the skein out of the microwave and let it cool until it is back to room temperature. Then rinse the skein with luke-warm water and wash it with some detergent for wool.
Avoid rubbing or pulling on the yarn too much since wet wool is prone to felting. Just gently squeeze any excess water out and let it dry.
This is the first skein that I dyed using the dip dye method.
This is the other side of that same skein.
After I was done dyeing I hade some dye left so I decided to dilute the colors with more water and dye a third skein. As you can see the colors became more pastel this time.
This is how I dye yarn using easter egg colors. If you decide to try it out yourself please share some photos with me on Instagram, I would love to see your results!