How to Kettle Dye Wool Yarns

Posted by Tom Gatenby at

Dyeing natural wool yarns yourself gives a hand finished look to your items AND gives you control of the colours you end up with. It's also a bit fun and easier than you might think! The great thing about this is that you can do it yourself at home - although we really wouldn't recommend using any of the equipment for cooking afterwards!
Here is a list of things you'll need before you get started
A big enough pan for your fibre
A little patience
Chop sticks (this is to move the fibre around gently - to avoid disturbing the fibre too much)
Rubber Gloves (just helps protect your hands from staining)
Cling Film (if you cover your work top with cling film then you don't need to worry about spillages)
Yarn dye pot
What to do
1. Bring the pan of water to the boil - you need enough water to just cover your yarn - and add vinegar*. (The general rule here is that you can't have too much vinegar - about 1 cup to 8ozs fibre)
2. Turn the heat to medium (you don't want it to continue on a rolling boil or you run the risk of felting your fibre)
3. Add your undyed yarn to the pot
4. Add in your dye. Don't overload with dye or it won't absorb. Add what you need, you can always add more later if you need more colour.
5. The dye is absorbed once the water runs clear - up to 45 minutes.
6. Strain and rinse in hot water. Be careful not to disturb the wool too much or you risk felting.
7. Leave to dry, brew yourself a cuppa, admire your gorgeously dyed wool!
*If you're using all in one super duper wool dye, you won't need to worry about the vinegar as it will have everything you need. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions :) 
Yarn dyeing
We'd love to see what you do with your dyed fibres  :)

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