When I was making my yarn wrapped pattern weights it occurred to me that it might be quite fun to ombre dye the cotton yarn I was using. I only need to dye a little bit so didn’t want to fork out for Rit or Dylon fabric dyes. So I turned to the kitchen cupboards, naturally!
You will need:
Yarn. (I used simple cotton dishcloth yarn). Food Colour. White vinegar. Glass bowls.
Worth noting that the pastel effect I have achieved here is because the yarn I used is cotton which comprises of plant fibres and does not take up the colour as well as protein (animal) fibre yarns such as pure wool. The food colours I used were bright and vibrant and had I dyed wool yarn with those colours the result would have been much more vibrant. So if you want a pastel result on wool then select your food colours accordingly.
Start by adding a tbsp of white vinegar to the bowls….
Add about a cup and a half of boiled hot water. Again, worth noting. Cotton yarn will withstand hotter water than wool yarn. If you’re using wool yarn beware of having the water too hot or you risk felting the wool fibres.
Add your food colour to the vinegar/water solution (I ended up using a whole tube to get the solution concentrated enough for the cotton yarn to take up the colour. Wool will most likely require much less)
Mix well. Not sure what happened with the violet food colour on the right. It just did not want to mix/dissolve fully in the solution, whereas the other two colours were perfect!
Wind your yarn into a hank (as per the turmeric dyed yarn post), soak it well in warm water, then while it’s wet, submerge sections of it in each of your colours and weight them down…
I’ve seen some tutes out there that suggest microwaving, steaming or heating the yarn at this stage. While I don’t doubt that this works, (the heat will fix the dye more substantially and is probably advisable if you’re dyeing yarn for a garment that will be laundered regularly) frankly, I couldn’t be bothered! I was pottering doing other things at the time, so I simply left everything submerged exactly as you see it, for approx 2 hours….
Then I rinsed the hank thoroughly and left to dry (took about a day and a half to dry fully) and this is what I ended up with! You can see that pesky violet colour didn’t really take at all, but I love the pastel turquoise in particular….
Balled up it looks like this…
I used mine for my ombre yarn wrapped pattern weights and while I had the bowls of food colour sitting there, I dipped a few plain ones in there too for a slightly different effect…
I’m loving the creativity of dyeing my own yarn! It’s a fun and addictive process. Kool aid dyeing is next on my crafty to do list! But also looking forward to doing some sewing next week once the kiddo is back at school!