Saturday School – Dyeing Yarn

Welcome back to Saturday School!

Today we will be watching another video from Yarnspirations and The Crochet Crowd. This time Mikey is taking us through the process of yarn dyeing. Specifically, he is sharing how cotton yarn is dyed as a solid and as a variegated yarn.

Spinrite makes all sorts of yarns, and different dyeing processes are used depending on the composition of the yarn. Home dyers know that wool yarns need different dyes than cotton yarns due to the way that fibres absorb the dye. If you’ve ever played around with dyeing fabric for needlework and have found that, say, adia takes dye different than linen, it is sort of the same idea.

Dyeing cotton yarns or floss at home isn’t too hard. You can use dyes like Tulip that are meant for fabric dyeing. Fibre reactive dyes are the best choice, but natural dyes (like onion skins) also work really well. Just be sure that you properly set your dyes or you’ll end up with a mess when you wash your project.

Wool yarn and floss is also super easy to dye at home. You can use food dye, KoolAid, Easter egg dye, and more. Acid dyes also work great and can give you some amazing colours.

Acrylic yarn is a whole different ball (ha!) game. Most acrylic yarn is dyed before it is spun into yarn. (Remember the pink fluff at the beginning of last week’s video?) It is possible to dye it afterwards, but the colour tends to stay on the outside of the fibre and isn’t always absorbed evenly. If you want to dye acrylic yarn at home, it is pretty difficult. You can’t use RIT, fibre-reactive dyes, or acid dyes. Most dyes needed to dye acrylic yarns are pretty toxic, although there are a few brands of disperse dye that are safe for home use. Check out this link for some more info.

Dyed mixed-fibre yarn

Dyeing mixed fibres can produce some interesting results. I once dyed a cotton/bamboo/elastic blend. The cotton and bamboo took the dye really nicely, with each fibre coming out a slightly different shade of blue, and the elastic remained white. So, the yarn looked heathered–an unexpected by lovely result.

Have you every dyed fabric, yarn, or floss? How did it turn out? What dyes did you use? Please let us know in a comment below.

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One Response to Saturday School – Dyeing Yarn

  1. I experimented with indigo dyeing last year, using a white t-shirt I’d embroidered with different white embroidery threads. And they all took the dye differently!