DyeYourYarn.com Blog

A blog for short bits about dyeing experiments, new food colors, where to get cheap supplies, dyers in the news, yarn hints and Kool tidbits that aren't full pages on DyeYourYarn.

Is Soap Ruining Your Yarn?

Your yarn was just fine in the rinse water, then you added a wool wash or dish soap or shampoo and the yarn bled.


My theory is that there was too much difference between the pH of your dyebath and the pH of the soapy water.

The soap is breaking the bonds between the wool and the food color.

What to do?

Well, let me confess. I don't wash my yarn.

I don't knit sweaters or socks that need to be laundered. I knit hats and scarves, that other than getting full of snow never get wet.

So, if you aren't going to launder or wet block your yarny object then forget the soap.

If you are making something you want to wash frequently, test the color on a snippet of yarn with your soap.

Gray Yarn Overdyed for a Scarf

I love lopi.

It knits up quick, it's stiff enough to keep on pointy shape and it dyes great.

I'll overlook how much dye it slurps.

But, if you start out with a gray you can use a tad less dye.

The scarf is called Oxford Mitered Scarf. The pattern is from Denise Layman's loom book, How the Knit Fashionable Scarves on Circle Looms"

Easter Egg Dyed Hank

Guest Dyer, Sister Marie shares a yummy hank, (and a wonderful photo, too).

Sister Marie says " Here is my 1st hank I ever dyed. I used PAAS Easter Egg dye to do it. The yarn is Paton's Classic Wool Roving yarn #5 bulky. I steamed it in a pot and it is hand painted."

"Going to do 2 skeins today! Can't wait!! One with Koolaid and the other with food coloring. This is addicting!" she exclaims.

More information on Easter Egg Dyes.

New Search Box

Trouble finding a page?

Or you'd like to read everything on a topic, such as vinegar?

We have a snazzy search button at the top right of the page. It's labeled     "Google Custom".

Type your word in that box, click on the little magnifying icon in the tiny gray box next to it….

and you're off to hours of fascinating  photos and advice.

In a Color Rut?

Need fresh color ideas?

Visit your local fabric store for the new spring pallets.

How did I Make that Color?

A dyer asked how I keep track of all the color formulas I've made over the years.

Here's a photo of AmeriColor samples.

Each has a small tag made out of a piece of an index card with an abbreviation of the brand and the two colors.

Such as Am EY+LF.

AmeriColor Electric Yellow and Leaf.

These samples come in handy for dyeing large hanks and also color matching.

Have You Seen our Overdye Pages?

Turn ugly yarn into a wonderful skein you can love using McCormick, Kool-Aid and Wilton.

We've been busy re-coding our overdye pages, all 9 of them. Better pictures that load faster.

See how a dip in the dyepot can make tired old yarn sing again.

This page gives you choices of base yarn  so you can select a color, and the see it overdyed in dozens of colors.

What to Do with Mini-hanks, Part 2

Hats are a great way to use up small amounts of yarn.

Throw your mini-hanks into a bag and randomly draw out the color to use next.

Spice up a basic hat pattern and in no time you'll have a great gift.

Klass Drink Mix

Kool-Aid gets lots of attention, but other brands of powdered drink mix can also be used to dye.

Klass drink mix is a blend of artificial and natural colors. The palette is yellow, orange and red.

Klass is often found in the Mexican or ethnic food aisle.

My Food Color Supply

All my colors fit in a small tub. Except for the Easter Egg dyes, which are still in their boxes.

It's great to have so many choices of colors, however if you have limited storage, I have a top ten list of colors.

My Kool-Aid is stored against one side of the tub, the Great Value powdered drink mix is on the other side. I have large bottles of McCormick red, yellow, green and black. Large and small packages of Wilton in ziplocks. Squeeze bottles of Americolor (they come with a colored dot on the top) are in the bottom of corner of the photo.

Mobile Devices and Pages

About 30 percent of DyeYourYarn viewers are mobile.

I have been making our pages more friendly for them. And adding little dyeing tidbits that we have learned since the pages were first created.

So you might notice some changes in these pages:

Black hints, comparing Wilton and McCormick
Blue hints, which blues have reds mixed in
Blue Kool-Aid, blue cashmere dyed with Kool-Aid
Green hints, 3 ways to make green yarns
Red hints, which colors have red that might break
and the Overdye page, which links to individual base yarn colors.

Making a Hank with an Ice Bucket

Usually this aqua ice bucket holds toys or library books.

But buckets can also be used to make a hank of progressively smaller loops.

Here I have one continuous length of yarn wrapped on four heights of the bucket.
Every 15 wraps, the yarn is tied with color coded yarn for easier balling or caking after dyeing.

Because the loops are different sizes, the finished knitted or crocheted object will have a different color pattern than loops equal sizes.

Solar Dyeing

Your yarn can dye itself. You don't even need to be home.

Grab some yarn, a jar with a lid, your favorite food color and some sunshine.

Here, I'm overdyeing blue cashmere, but any colored wool, silk or nylon yarn will work.

Dye Your Own Sock Yarn

If you like knitting socks, you should try dyeing your own sock yarn.

It isn't any harder than dyeing 100% wool yarn.

Although your colors will be more subtle if the sock yarn is blended with nylon.

And you dip dye. See marvelous photos and instructions.

It's Not for a Horse, of course.

Continued from Apr 8.

The vest was full of dust and VM (that's Vegetable Matter - the polite term for straw and burs found in lightly processed, lightly twisted yarn like lopi).

The vest went into the wash tub that my washing machine drains into. After a few cycles, the stripes started to become apparent.

Fast forward past the drying and frogging….

Here, are two of my Noro cakes.

Finding Noro

A while back, I found a "horse blanket" at a band sale.

A band sale is a big garage sale held to raise funds for high school band trips. Except this sale was in the school lunchroom, not a garage.

And none of the clothes were priced individually. Whatever you can shove into a paper grocery bag is 5 dollars.

I had ten pair of jeans in my bag and as a lark tossed a pair of cowboy boots and this horse blanket on top.

Arriving home with the loot, I noticed the blanket was a hand knit vest.

To be continued…… on Apr 9th.

Breaking Colors Other Than Black

If you enjoy breaking black, you'll love breaking food colors such as purple, violet, aster, delphinium, juniper and others.

Visit this page for photos of all these colors and how to use recycled sweater arms as dyeing blanks.

Heat Proof Gloves

Recycled chop-sticks and spaghetti tongs are fine for lifting small hanks of steamy yarn out of a hot dye bath.

But for giganto hanks, it's a good idea to use a pair of heat proof gloves.

Good quality gloves allow you to stick your hands right into the dyebath to turn the yarn. Or to press dry yarn into the water. Or to lift hot yarn without splashing.

A big box hardware store should carry heat proof gloves. Use according to the label.

Breaking Queen Black Food Colour

If you'd like to see more photos of Cathy's project, visit her blog.

Cathy says "First, I put some dry wool lap (leftovers from Bendigo Woolen Mills) in the crockpot and dropped some black food dye in small dots."

She dribbled diluted vinegar onto the dry wool. As the vinegar wicks through the fiber the black will break.

The amazing streaks of burgundy and aqua happen all by themselves.

"I set the crockpot to low…." she continues, and in an hour and a half later " the water in the pot was clear and here's the result."

Too Much Novelty Yarn?

Here's a great use it up project that sells well at craft shows and silent auctions.

And it requires no knitting or crocheting. If you can braid hair, you can make this project in about a half an hour.

If you can't braid, find a child with a collection of fashion dolls.

In this photo, we have three strands of white yarn that are four yards long. To these strands, we added a bunch of fun fur, ribbon yarn, and left-overs.

Braid the yarn and tie a knot at each end.

This scarf is long enough to wrap around the neck twice and fall to the waist.

Use shorter strands for a necklace length scarf.

Easter Egg Dye Clearance

Folks are pretty savvy about finding cheap chocolate, but thankfully not many know to grab up Easter Egg Dye.

Reports are not good from the Dollar-type stores. Supplies were low even before Easter and some store seem to be removing product rather than putting it on sale.

Big box combo grocery/clothing/house supply stores are getting picked over. Left-overs tend to be kits with glitter, tats and junk.

DyeYourYarn had stampede of dyers checking out our Easter Egg color charts this weekend. More than 3000 views, so you'll have some company in the clearance section.

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