Learning to Dye


This past weekend I took my first ever crash course into dying yarn, and I have such a great appreciation now for anyone who does this as a source of income.  It is a LOT of work, and certainly a labor of love.  It was taught by the dyer of The Deep Hue Sea at Yarn Del Sol in Mission Viejo.

We started with 3 skeins of bare, superwash yarn soaked overnight in a citric acid wash.  In order to keep the skeins from getting tangled, she attached shower rings to each skein (those are those bright green rings you see in the pics).


After patting out a good portion of the water, we laid our skeins out on to the tables (covered in saran wrap).  Now to pick out our colors, and mix the dye.  For my first two skeins I chose Sand Dune, Silver Grey, and Powder Pink.  For the second try I used two mixes of blue (I can’t remember the names)

There was powder-based dye pots and we used the teeniest bit of dye mixed with water.  You could either use a squeeze bottle, or a cup with a sponge brush, depending on which kind of look you are going for.


For the first set, I hand-painted each side of my triangle with the three colors.  I loved that the dye didn’t saturate the entire skein so that some of the natural color of the yarn would peek through.


After about two hours, I had completed the dye work and bundled my yarn up into a little burrito.  They then put this in the microwave to set the dye.  Four sets of five minutes, each with a minute rest in between.


While I waited for that to set, I got to work on the third skein with the two blue colors.

Once the pink skeins were done being set, we had to rinse them to remove any remaining dye, and the citric acid wash.  From there we soaked them in a bath of milk soap and Eucalan.

Once they had soaked for about an hour, we hung them up to dry, which took a little over a day for them to be completely dry.  I cannot wait to make something with these skeins!


8 thoughts on “Learning to Dye

    • Kirsten says:

      For the blue one I used the squeeze bottle to cover most of the yarn with a light blue/green color. And then I went over it with the sponge brush with a darker blue to cover up the remaining bare bits.


      • salpal1 says:

        Very nice! Ever since your post, I have been thinking about dying. I have tried kettle dying, and liked that (a crock pot saves on all that microwaving) but I just used one color at a time. so I am plotting away. 🙂


      • salpal1 says:

        it is very easy! It has to be a crock pot that will never be used for food – I grabbed one at a yard sale (and wish I had found a bigger one!) All you do is put in enough water to cover the yarn, mix in the dye (I often use Kool Aid and a bit of vinegar) and the yarn. Then put the lid on and walk away. When the water is clear, it might be done – if you want a stronger color, more dye, walk away again. When it is good, let it cool in place, and then rinse. I can dye yarn when I am not home this way, pretty fun!


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