It’s been a while since I lasted blogged. I’ve been traveling and busy with my 9 to 5 and didn’t really have the time to blog. Also, in all honesty, I’ve been very uninspired as of late and got into a bit of a funk. Now I’m back and thinking of a so much content I want to bring to my blog.
As you’ve already read the title of this post I’ll just get right to it. I have been wanting to try my hand at dyeing my own yarn for almost a year now. I see all of this beautifully hand dyed yarns and my mind just starts to race. I’ve taken so many photos that inspire me for different colorways and now that I’ve actually worked up the nerve to actually try my hand at it.
I watched so many YouTube videos and read so many blog posts about dyeing your own yarn my head was about to explode and I got super overwhelmed and talked myself out of doing it about a dozen times. You all don’t know this about me but I am a complete overthinker. I can get myself pretty worked up pretty fast and lose all confidence in myself and my abilities.
Well this time I threw caution to the wind and decided to just go for it. So I headed to my local Jo Ann Fabrics and picked up some wool yarn (just one skein) and went to my local grocery store as well.
Now you might be asking yourself, “Why did she go to the grocery store?” Well, I needed to go there to get what I was going to dye my yarn with. After watching all of those YouTube videos, reading all of those blog posts I felt more comfortable with using something a little less harmful to my lungs and my kitchen counter tops and choose…. Kool Aid!!
I was too intimidated by other methods ,which now I will more than likely be inching towards after a few more test runs. So onto the good stuff…the dyeing.
So first I had to pre-soak my yarn in cool water and depending on which method you’re using, you may or may not have to add an acid (i.e. vinegar or citric acid) to your soaking liquid. Since I was using kool-aid I didn’t have to worry because it contains citric acid. I soaked my yarn for about 20 minutes as I was getting impatient and wanted to get started. I was also losing natural light in my kitchen and needed to speed things along because I wanted to hang dry the yarn outside.
After the 20 minutes were up I rung out as much water as I could by hand being careful not to disturb the fibers too much. When researching I did see some disasters of the yarn felting because of too much friction. Wait, I got ahead of myself…sorry let me rewind a little. Before I rung the water out of my yarn I prepared my work surface with 3 layers of plastic wrap. foam brushes (which didn’t work out for me so I nixed them), 3 cups, a spoon, steamer pot with basket (I don’t have a microwave) and my kool-aid packets. Then I rung out my yarn.
When most of the water was out I placed the yarn on the plastic wrap and got really nervous all of a sudden. I was standing there thinking ,”It’s no turning back now just go ahead and do it.” I added the water to my kool-aid colors I choose which were Orange, Lemon, Pink Lemonade and Black Cherry (red). I wasn’t sure how much water I should put in the kool-aid mixture because I didn’t want the colors to be too watered down and pale. So I ended up adding about a 1/2 cup of water to each mixture I created. I mixed the orange and lemon together because I wanted more of a peachy color and I left a little bit of the lemon out on it’s own as well. I mixed the 2 packets of pink lemonade as a transition shade leading into the natural color of the yarn. As for the black cherry color I wanted to try a speckled look but it didn’t quite work out…lol
As you can see in the pic above, I sprinkled the black cherry kool-aid but it just ended up creating darker spots on the yarn which as it turns out, made a pretty cool affect.
Now it was time to let the dye sit for which I was so nervous about this process I probably let it sit on there longer than I had to before heating the yarn to set the color…lol I’d say it sat for a good 20 to 25 minutes. After that I wrapped the top with more plastic wrap and loosely wrapped the yarn into a log. I had already had my steamer simmering on low heat and turned it up on medium-high and placed my yarn in the steamer basket. I let it steam for 20 minutes which seemed to be the perfect time that all of the YouTube videos and blogs said to do.
After 20 minutes, I took the plastic wrapped yarn out and placed it on a clean plate for it to cool to room temperature. As I was standing there I saw how vibrant the colors were and got excited. At this point I just couldn’t wait to wash and rinse the yarn.
I think I only had to wait about 30 minutes before the yarn was cooled to room temperature. I unwrapped it and just saw and actually stood there shocked that it came out so well. I made a rinse bath with luke warm water and placed the yarn in it. When I was first looking into yarn dyeing everyone said that you should use luke warm water and I thought they would’ve cold water to preserve the color but nope. I pressed the yarn and no color came out in the water so the color more than like struck as soon as I placed it on the yarn. I washed the yarn twice with some mild dish soap and rinsed about 6 times with regular water.
Now onto the drying part. I took a clothes hanger and draped the yarn around it and put it outside to dry. I let it hang outside for a good 2 1/2 hrs. and then brought it inside because it was starting to get dark out. I dried it over night and with the fan on in my bedroom and woke up at 3 am to check on it because I’m that person…lol
When I tell you I love how this turned out and it was a big hit at work as well. I have an idea of what I’m going to make with it so check out my Instagram page for updates. I can’t wait to test more with different yarn bases. So this will be my next series of blog posts over the next few weeks or months.
Until next time,
Tacia (founder of Joanna’s Crochet)