Yarn Dyeing Party

Dyeing my own yarn has been a long-time dream of mine and last week, it became an amazing reality.  While at my weekly knitting circle at Wet Coast Wools, I was invited to a yarn dyeing party at one of the workers’ house.  I gleefully accepted and began brainstorming.

I decided to create colorways based on my travels and life in China.  I had learned to knit while living in Macau and thought this could be a fitting tribute to my time there.

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My Inspiration Images

We were not exactly scientific about our process as we just mixed the dye powder with hot water and immediately started squeezing the pigment into our yarns.  In the future, I think  I’ll take proper measurements and make some notes as I go.  Nevertheless, it was incredibly fun to watch the dye soak into the fiber and blend beautifully at the edges.

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I’m already totally addicted.

The first yarn I dyed was using Knit Picks Hawthorne Bare base.  It is a sockweight highland wool and nylon blend and it takes the color wonderfully. I will definitely use this base again.

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I named this colorway “Kung Hey Fat Choy” (Cantonese for Happy New Year) and it is inspired by this photo of Lunar New Year decorations in Macau.

The next yarn was a soft merino/nylon sportweight and will make a great hat or cowl.

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Created in honor of this gorgeous mural in the artist village in Beijing, I named this “Beijing 798.”  The colors are a bit more muted than I intended but I am still quite pleased with the results.

Then I busted out the “good” stuff.  A fluffy fingering weight merino/cashmere/nylon blend.  It didn’t take the dye quite as richly as the Hawthorne, but it still looks amazing.

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If you haven’t noticed, I like bright colors.  This colorway is inspired by a photo I snapped at a street market in Lhasa.  I call it “Tibetan Beads.”  Isn’t it lovely?
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This last yarn is based on another photo from the marketplace and I call it “Lhasa.”

The first three yarns I showed you were all dyed directly laid out on a table with control of color placement and mixing.

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Then I rolled up the plastic and baked the yarn in the oven to set the dye.

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The last sample was a bit more of an experiment.  I put the skein in a mason jar filled with a water and vinegar mix and used a syringe to inject dye into different parts of the skein. Then I microwaved the whole concoction.  The colors are more random and some interesting color mixing appeared.  I am super thrilled with the finished product.

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I forgot to take a picture of the mason jar! So here’s the yarn all caked up instead.  Not bad, huh?

In the end, I have found a new addiction.  I’ve already ordered some more undyed yarn and am planning a dye party with my roommate in NYC when I get back.  Stay tuned for more pictures of dyed yarn and some cool knitted items using my creations.

BONUS:

Some extra photos from the party.

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Glenda’s rainbow in progress.  She dyed her yarn in a bath of water and vinegar and then baked it as well.
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This isn’t as bad as it looks!
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My 4 yarns drying in the shower
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Kelsey’s finished yarns.  She did an amazing job.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of Glenda’s finish products, but hers are awesome too.

Have you dyed yarn?  Have any hints or stories?  Please share them in the comments.

See an excessive number of photos here on my Flickr page.

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4 thoughts on “Yarn Dyeing Party

  1. The colours are so nice and I love that you showed where you got the inspiration from ! I cannot wait to see what you will make with them, especially the first yarn on your post.

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    1. Thank you so much! I think I will try to make more of Kung Hey Fat Choy in the future. I just need to knit up this test skein and see how it looks!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Howdy neighbor! (Vancouver or NYC?, out of curiosity) We used plastic wrap that says it’s safe for ovens. It melted to itself a little bit but not to the yarn.

      Like

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