Monday, February 29, 2016

Dip Dyed Variegated Yarn
(Click on photos to enlarge)
I love variegated yarns but not how most of them typically pool or flash.  I usually paint my skeins for variegated yarns but wanted to come up with an easier way.  So here’s what I came up with and it worked relatively well for the first time out.  There's always room for improvement but it did give me a variegated fabric without pooling or flashing, this time anyway.  Atleast there's less chance of weird patterning but the final effect will depend on number of cast on stitches and gauge.

First, I wound my yarn into a skein on my DIY niddy noddy, loosely tied it off to prevent tangling, prepped the yarn by sozzling/rinsing with a bit of dish soap and soaking in water for atleast an hour while I prepped the dye bath.


I then hung the damp skein over 3 long knitting needles, the loops don't have to be perfectly sized lengths.  I adjusted the amount of dye bath in my kettle to allow for a bit less than half of the yarn to be submerged.  Then I lowered the yarn into the kettle, using the knitting needles as a ‘rack’ to hold the yarn in place.  The level of dye bath can be adjusted by adding water, while the yarn is not submerged in the dye bath.  After most of the dye has been absorbed, I removed the yarn and added more water to raise the mix level to about halfway and relowered the yarn.  My theory would've worked but think I had too much dye left in order to get a tonal effect that I wanted.

Then I covered the pot and brought the temp up to 180 deg for 30 min, removed the yarn and added 2 tsp vinegar, resubmerged the yarn and let simmer for another 15 min or so.
When the dye had been completely absorbed and set, I removed the yarn into a dish, let it cool and rehung the yarn over the knitting needles with the already dyed sections on top.  I skewered the end sections with another knitting needle to hold them up also.

I lowered into the 2nd color dye bath and repeated the heating process.  For this session, I removed the yarn and added enough water to the dye bath to overlap the colors, then resubmerged the yarn but an undyed section could be left in the middle for painting with a third color.  But I’d need to wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and steam to set the color if I painted later.  Or the middle section could be left undyed, depending on the effect and color scheme you want.
Have fun with it!!


  1. Wow! You've got this down to a science. Lots of work====I'M IMPRESSED!

  2. Thanks. It's actually less work than it looks, lots less than painting a skein.

  3. Hmmm, maybe it's easier for you. Anyway, yummy results.