Can Never Have
Too Many Mini-Hanks

Would you enjoy a boxful of scrumptious mini-hanks in your favorite colors? Samples to admire, plan out future dyeing projects, or use as accents in future knitting and crocheting projects?

Of course, you would! Here are hints... you may enjoy dyeing these so much, you'll forget to knit.

Pretty wool Mini-hanks dyed with food color

Before you begin

  1. Do you have a favorite brand of yarn you would like to use?
    Perhaps a brand you enjoy the feel of, but is lacking in color choices. Or a yarn such as Lion Brand® Fishermen wool that is easy to find in stores and is unlikely to be discontinued? Or do you have a thrift store sweater that you'll frog and play with?
  2. How much yarn per mini-hank?
    Do you have a pattern that calls for a certain amount of each color? If not, choose a standard weight of dry yarn that is easily multiplied. I use .2 ounces. Enough to see the color I've created without wasting my food dye supply if the shade isn't to my liking.
  3. Are your mini-hanks going to be a permanent reference collection or is this just a fling?
    If you think you'd like to reproduce these colors, you'll want to take notes. At the very minimum - how much of each jar of bottle you are using. (link).

    If you're dyeing just for fun - then don't feel bad about winging it! I have two breadboxes filled with tiny hanks of yarn that I haven't the slightest idea about the color formula. And they are a pleasure to knit with!

To skein the yarn

I use to legs of a footstool to wrap the yarn around.
Ten wraps equals . 2 oz.

Other skeining tools could be the back of a chair, a cereal box, a book. There are patterns for niddy-noddies made a PVC pipe.

It is helpful to weigh the yarn on a postage scale or a cooking scale. When you start producing larger hanks you can use the weight of the mini-hank and the amount of food color used to dye it as a guide.

For example if a sample hank is .2 oz and uses 1/16 t. Wilton® Copper, then an ounce of yarn needs 1/4t and 1/16t.

wool yarn skeined on a footstool

Next, make a tiny dyebath.
I use 8 oz. of water because it's enough to see the color I'm mixing and it's more than enough water to cover .2 oz of yarn. Use Wilton®, Kool-Aid®, Easter Egg dye, McCormick® or any combinations of food color dye.

Since I prefer to dye a few dozen hanks in one sitting, I write the name of the color on the glass jar in Sharpie®.

Don't forget to add vinegar, if the food dye ingredient panel doesn't list citric acid.

wool yarn samples in tiny food color dyebaths

For mini-hanks, I use the microwave. These jars are microwave safe. I have calculated with a cooking thermometer how long to set the timer to heat three jars to 180 degrees. Depending on the color, I alternate a number of heating and resting cycles.

wool yarn samples in microwave in food color dyebaths

Allow the yarn to cool in the jar, rinse and dry.

Get out the needles, hooks or looms! Or make a scrapbook with your yarn.

Which brand of yarn should you buy to dye?

Go from Mini-Hanks to Dye Your Yarn home page.