Learning how to dye yarn is one of those things that many people say they would like to do, but don’t feel brave enough to try. As with any new skill, its something you can learn with practice, but some top tips from someone who has already learnt always help! Give your self a headstart with these top ten things you need to know before you start dyeing yarn.
1 . You don’t need any expensive or fancy equipment. I started with some dishes I got from a charity shop and an old microwave, and that equipment lasted me for quite a long time. If you are using food safe dyes you can even use your ordinary kitchen equipment, just make sure you wash it all well afterwards or you’ll have blue specks on your worktop for weeks!
2. Its absolutely possible to dye yarn in your own kitchen at home, and in a way that is safe for your children and pets too. You can get great colours from food safe dyes, if you want to try powders I sell a full set of colours in the shop here, or if you’d like to try other colours then I recommend these food gels ( click here) which will give you really good colours that last.
3. It is always always worth the extra five minutes to set up properly, and make sure everything is neat and you have everything you need to hand. A few well placed plastic tablecloths ( like these) will save tears and heartache when you spill the dye or someone knocks the dye pot over. Keep a supply of old towels or cloths handy to mop up spills as you go, and take time to make sure you have everything to hand before you start.
4.Work out how many undyed skeins you think you might like to start with – and double it! You can guarantee you will get carried away and want to dye ‘ just one more’ to get that shade you wanted and waiting for more undyed yarn is frustrating!
5. Gloves are your most useful secret tool – they will keep your hands clean and stop people asking why you have green fingers – but most crucially they will stop you transferring specs of dye on to other parts of the yarn you don’t want ruined. They are easy to wash and the dye runs off. Simple gloves for washing up are all you need but heat proof ones like these are really useful too, especially for handling the hot yarn.
6. There is no such thing as a mistake with yarn dyeing. It may not turn out the way you wanted, but the likelihood is it will still be beautiful – and if its not, then the next challenge is to learn how to over dye! Its sensible to take a modest approach and do ‘less-is-more’ to begin with until you have a sense of how much dye you need and how the dyes work, but if you end up with too much dye, its ok, just use less next time!
7. Learning how to dye your own yarn will absolutely not reduce your stash, in fact it will probably have the opposite effect! Its hard to part with the fantastic colours and lovely yarns that you have made yourself!
8. Once you learn how to dye your own yarn, you have a great way to make a very special gift even more special – not only can you knit handmade socks or crochet a lovely blanket as a gift, but now you can dye the yarn as well and give a really unique gift!
9. You will never ever run out of combinations to dye, whether its changing a colour or a shade, how you apply the dye or how you set it, there are always ways to create new colourways and effects, which leads me to…
10. And finally – its addictive! You may have already guessed, there is no such thing as ‘just dyeing this one skein’ – once you get the bug and see how many amazing yarns you can dye in your own kitchen, you will want to keep on dyeing!
So what are you waiting for, its time to learn a new skill! If you want a kit with clear instructions you can buy one of my ready to go kits, here and dye your own yarn at home. If you’d like to chat yarn dyeing, see what others are dyeing and show off your new yarns, then join us over on Facebook in the Devon Sun Yarnies facebook group where we chat all things yarn and yarn dyeing. I would love to see the yarn you have dyed – please come and show me!
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