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How to Dye Yarn

Bidisha Mukherjee
We tend to feel that dyeing yarn at home may not give us the kind of results we expect. Here, we will provide guidance on how to dye yarn.
Dyeing yarn refers to the process of adding color to yarn, which can then be used for knitting or crocheting.
Industrially, dyeing is done on a mass scale, prior to its release in the market. When you wish to give a personalized touch to yarn for some knitting project, you can think of dyeing it. There are several types of techniques available to dye yarn at home.

Preparing the Yarn

For the purpose of dyeing, make the size of the coils of yarn larger so that the dye can impart colors to each and every strand of the yarn, evenly. Tie the coils in various different places to secure the yarn while dyeing. Otherwise, the yarn will get badly entangled during the process.
Take a large sized bucket and pour water into it. Then, add one cup of vinegar. Now, soak the coil of the yarn in the bucket for about an hour. You can put a weight like a plate over the yarn to keep it submerged in water. If the quantity of yarn is large, sink it in batches. After completion of each batch, refresh the mixture with water and vinegar.

Preparation and Application of the Dye

Usually, dyes are available in the form of tablets and the direction for use are also given on the packages. Use 3 tablespoons of vinegar to dissolve the dye tablets.
In case you have chosen a dye color like pink, purple or red, it is recommended not to dissolve them in vinegar. Dissolve them in water instead, as they tend to become granular in vinegar.
When the tablets have dissolved in the liquid completely, the concentrated mixture thus obtained, should be diluted by adding water to get the desired color from the dye. An easy method of testing the exact shade of the dye is to put a few drops of the mixture on a dry paper towel.
Pour this dye into squeeze bottles so that they can be spread over the yarn easily. Now, take out the yarn from the vinegar mixture and squeeze out all the excess of water from it. Place it on a floor or a table covered with plastic sheets.
Now, start the application of the dye by squeezing it out of the bottle. When the yarn has been coated with the desired shade, wrap up the entire bunch in the plastic sheet and put it inside a plastic grocery bag.

Steaming the Dyed Yarn

Take a large sized pot with water and place it over a stove. Cover it up with an aluminum foil and secure it around the edges of the pot in order to obtain a tight surface and ensure that the foil does not touch the underlying water.
Make a number of holes in the middle of this cover so that the steam formed when the water boils can come out through them. The holes should not be very close to each other, as this can rip the foil.
Allow the water to boil and when steam starts flowing out of the holes, put the wrapped up yarn over the surface of the foil. You can keep it inside the bag and steam it or if you want you can remove it too. Cover the pot with a lid and let the process continue for around half an hour.

Washing the Dyed Yarn

After steaming of the yarn to be dried is over, hold the yarn with a pair of tongs and take it near your bathroom or kitchen sink for rinsing. As the yarn will be extremely hot, it should be carried very carefully.
Let it cool down before you handle it. Do not add running water to the yarn. When it is cool enough to be handled with hands, fill up the sink with warm water.
The water should be hotter than the yarn. Put the dyed yarn into the pool of water and move it a bit with your hands and rinse it thoroughly. If your yarn is perfectly steamed, then no color should come out of it. In case, you see that color is coming out, then make a fresh mixture of water and vinegar in the sink itself and rinse your yarn with it.
When you are done with the rinsing process, squeeze out the water as much as possible and hang the dyed yarn on the drying racks. It can be dried faster in a washing machine. Put the yarn inside a pillow case with a zipper and put the pillow case into the spin cycle of washing machine and the yarn will dry up in no time.
When the dyed yarn has dried up, the dazzlingly beautiful yarn is ready for use. Hope you find this information on how to dye, useful.Lastly, one advise you to wear a pair of gloves while carrying out the entire task of dyeing.