If you’re an avid knitter or a devoted crochet enthusiast, then you’re probably already aware of how much work goes into the creation of your beloved yarns. If you’ve never thought about how the yarns we buy from stores and independent suppliers are dyed then we really urge you to look it up, because it’s an extremely interesting process! You’re also probably aware, however, that many of the very best variegated and speckled colour ways are done through different methods of hand dying. Did you know, though, that many of these dying techniques are ones that you can do at home?
Check out these 13 fantastic yarn dying methods that you can do right in the comfort of your own kitchen in order to make all kinds of absolutely stunning stripes, speckles, and custom colour ways!
1. Kool Aid dyed yarn
If you ever tried Kool Aid dying your hair when you were in high school then you already know all about the dying powers of the fruity powdered drink! In fact, you can probably even just imagine how well it works if you’ve ever spilled Kool Aid on your shirt while drinking it, because it stains like crazy! In this case, that’s a good thing. Check out how We Love Crocheting created a stunning colour blocked effect on their white yarn using different flavours of Kool Aid to make the different shades.
2. Dying self-striping yarn
Have you ever knit with Noro, Ella Rae Mutlis, or other yarns that are dyed in sections to make a beautiful self striping effect when you knit or crochet them? Believe it or not, that’s a dying technique that you can actually do right at home! Simply Notable was kind enough to write an entire tutorial for you on how to do it.
3. Speckled yarn
Speckling in hand dyed yarns might actually be our very favourite effect of all. Sometimes, when we find a speckled yarn that we particularly adore, we’ll actually cater what pattern we knit to how well it shows off the speckling in our yarn, rather than the other way around. Speckling is also a surprisingly fun technique to do at home! Check our the steps for doing it on Fiber Artsy.
4. Striped crock pot yarn
Are you looking for a way to dye your yarn simply, effectively, and, perhaps most importantly, in a clean and contained space so that you don’t make a huge mess and stain things? Then it sounds like crock pot dying would be absolutely perfect for you! Night Owl Knit n’ Crochet teaches you how to not only crock pot dye, but also how to do it in fun, colour carried stripes!
5. “Unicorn farts” yarn
As if the name of this technique isn’t hilarious enough, look at how stunning this colour popping yarn is! We love the idea of choosing a bright solid colour for most of the skein and then saving a section for a few equally bright contrasting colours that really tie everything together. See how to do this blocking dye technique on Tomboy Knits.
6. Spice dyed yarn
Are you skeptical about working with certain dyes because you have very sensitive skin and you don’t like the smell of factory dyed yarns that are dyed with chemicals? Then try dying your own yarns using spices instead! Elephants and Hot Air Balloons shows you how to make a stunning bright yellow with saffron and a lovely intense orange using paprika.
7. Microwave dyed yarn
Do you now own a crock pot but you’d still love to make colours of your very own? Well, believe it or not, you can totally use your regular, everyday microwave! The heat sets the colour into the yarn better so that it loses less when you rinse it. See how the whole process goes on Lafiabarussa.
8. Food colouring yarn
Have you every seen those children’s activities where they use small drops of food colouring and watch them swirl down through water, making pretty shapes as they spread out, and then stir the water to learn about colour mixing? That’s not far off from how Inspiration & Realisation teaches you to create your own custom colours with food colouring for yarn dying!
9. Electric turkey roaster yarn
Are you looking at your cupboards and feeling concerned about trying to dye yarn because, rather than a regular little crock pot, you actually have a full family sized turkey roaster? Well, we have good news for you: that works too, and the techniques are similar and easy! Check it all out on Primitive Spirit.
10. Ice parfait dying
Here’s another yarn dying technique that we love adore the name of! We’re sorry to report that it doesn’t actually have anything to do with parfaits, but we’re still excited for you to see how much fun using layered ice to created awesome colour effects on yarn is! Night Owl Quilting has a fantastic tutorial for you to follow.
11. Hand painted yarns
Did you dye some yarn a nice, light pastel colour and it’s almost perfect, but you can’t help but feel like it could use some visual texture and colour contrast? Then you might like the idea of hand painting it! This technique is literally what it sounds like. Chalk Legs shows you how to paint dots and wisps of coloured dye onto your yarn by hand.
12. Fading ombre yarn
Have you ever dip dyed a dress or a pillow case to get that stunning fading colour gradient that takes you through a colour experience from intense pigment to pure white, fading up through all different shades of one colour? Then we have a feeling you’re going to love making gradient yarn the way How Did You Make This? does it!
13. Tea dyed yarn
Are you still enamoured by the idea of naturally dyed yarns but you’re just not sure you can get colours quite as neutral and subtle as you want using saffron and paprika? Then try your hand at tea dying instead! All Free Knitting guides you through the whole fragrant process.
Do you know an avid knitter or crochet enthusiast who needs a fun new challenge? Share this post with them to help them feel inspired!