Dye question

I'm looking to do some wool dyeing soon and I'm wondering if anyone has dyed yarn at home and what dyes you prefer? I'm leaning towards powdered dyes so that I can blend colors and I don't think Kool Aid will work just because those colors are a little too bright and have a limited color range for the results I want.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


albert's picture

HI MIke, dyeing yarn is a lot of fun! I can report the following: RIT dye will fade (as Bill in S.F. warned me), Pro One Shot dyes are easy to use and give better results on yarn than on fleece, and Jaquard Acid dyes are easy to use and give good results. Pro and Jaquard dyes are intermixable to create your own colors. Best to use Synthropol (a type of detergent wetting agent) to soak the yarn before dyeing, and also put a few drops in the dye pot to keep the dye in suspension. Frequent gentle stirring of the yarn is important if you want even coloring. These comments are referring to normal wool yarn. Also, dye bath should be just shy of simmering. Have a ball!

mrossnyc's picture

Thanks Albert, this is great info. I've been looking at some Jacquard dyes on Knitpicks and also debating on some dyes from Aljo that I used in a dyeing class in a LYS a while back. I'm looking to dye yarn, not fleece. I also don't mind stirring frequently; it will be like making candy, just not as hot.

Bill's picture

With many dyes...time is a factor.... the longer it can soak in the dyebath...the better the colour.
...I often leave things in over night or a whole day...( called "batching")
...it allows a richer, deeper colour.

Crafty Andy's picture

Visit Crafty Andy's Blog
Depending on the colors that you desire, you have lots of options. If you us food coloring and or Kool Aid you don't really have to worry about having to have separate stuff to use. Read a lot and ask more questions. I have done plenty of dyeing, but learn all the time. I love to make greens and browns. Have fun, there are plenty of you tube videos including mine lol!

mrossnyc's picture

I didn't even think about Youtube, thanks, I'll check it out.

jessemkahn's picture

hey mike,

I just took a dyeing workshop on Martha's Vineyard at the MV Fiber Farm. We used Jacquard Acid dyes and I would totally recommend them.

The few tricks I picked up at my seminar:
Always put your mordant in the water first! We used generic citric acid, cheap and effective
Soak your yarn really well, preferably in warm water
Mix your dye into a very thick slurry, then add some water. Never try to mix your dye in the dye pot as it will always seem too pale
Coffee filters make great test blotters!
Submerge your yarns with a dunking motion, dropping some in, pulling out (you do know how to pull out, right?), dunking more, blah, blah, until you've got the whole skein fully soaked (this keeps the yarns from rising to the top unevenly and having off color)
5 skeins is a little much for a 10 gallon pot (i learned the hard way and i have a 'lovely' gradation of color cross the 5 skeins i dyed)

mrossnyc's picture

Hi Jesse,

Wow! Thanks for all the info. I'll keep all of this in mind when I get around to dyeing my yarn. I'm going out tomorrow to look for a pot and all the accessories.

jessemkahn's picture

susan gibbs from the fiber farm recommends a huge, inexpensive pot. she found some at wal-mart for nearly no money. depending on your location and politics, that might be a good option.

mrossnyc's picture

There aren't any WalMarts in Manhattan, but I found a 16 qt pot at JC Penney's last night with a rebate. Since I also don't have any outside space, a 16 qt pot will have to do. Now I'm heading out for the rest of the supplies before the rain starts coming down hard.

davidUK's picture

If you fancy a holiday, try this - http://www.renaissancedyeing.com/info_courses/

I haven't been but it looks great. they do courses in natural dyeing at a beautiful house in France. Perhaps we should organise a MWK booking!

Good luck


jessemkahn's picture

yes, oh yes, OH YES

mrossnyc's picture

Sounds like fun!

Tallguy's picture

The new Knitty is out and there is an excellent article about dyeing with cochineal. All the principles can be applied to any natural dyeing. Worth reading: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEfall09/FEATcochineal.php

mrossnyc's picture

Thanks for letting me know, I'll check it out.