Dyeing

How exciting! You’re ready to dye your own yarn! How do you get started? What materials do you use? What fibers work best? You have come to the right place. We have answers to these questions and lots of helpful tips, tricks, and hacks for all of your dyeing needs!

We have gathered together a wide range of resources on dyeing yarn for you here. Enjoy articles from Interweave editors past and present, along with insightful posts from Spin Off, Handwoven, Love of Knitting, and many more. Get tips from the pros like Kate Larson, Roving Reporter. Learn more about Solar Dyeing from Caitlin ffrench. Find tips in “Closet Full of Sheep” by Deb Gerish, who shares her successes and failures with us so that we can learn from her experience. Be sure to check out the free eBook for the ins and outs of natural dyes, with black walnuts, and making a solar oven that dyes.

You’ll also find great spinning resources and much more in the Interweave Shop!

Natural Dyes and Where to Find Them

In 1856, British chemist William Henry Perkin discovered how to make the first synthetic dye, a purple called mauvine, using coal tar. Before that invention, every color of yarn or fabric got its hue from natural dyes—vegetable, mineral, and yes, even animal. Here are a few favorites that are easy for home dyers to find […]

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Imagine a quiet knitting spot with your back resting on the rich tapestry of an eighteenth-century wall hanging and the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean as a sound backdrop. Or would you prefer to hear warm, inviting music enjoyed in small village halls, which are nestled in the rich carpet of Cape Breton’s fall […]

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Safety First! Dyeing Safety with Felicia Lo

Whether you spin, weave, knit, or crochet, at some point, the urge to dye fiber and yarn takes hold. In this excerpt from Dyeing to Spin and Knit, Felicia Lo emphasizes the importance of dyeing safety. No matter what dyeing technique you use, Felicia recommends a few key pieces of equipment and shares tips to […]

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I’ve had a madder matter brewing, and it is beautiful. The Welsh Llanwenog fleece I shared in my last post is now making its way through madder dyepots as I experiment with seemingly endless natural dyeing options. I love to explore and sample, so I might not get anything else done this summer! Here is […]

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Color It Up: Dyeing with Food Coloring

As much as I love using hand-dyed and hand-painted yarns, sometimes I want a little more control over how the yarn patterns or stripes. For this project, you dye the already crocheted or knit piece. Food coloring is readily available, nontoxic, and inexpensive. Supplies are common household items, and the dye can be set with […]

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Kissed by the Sun: The Art of Solar Dyeing

Spend some time outdoors with beautiful colors and harness the power of the sun! Artist Caitlin ffrench explains how to dye yarn or fiber with natural materials and solar energy; hence, solar dyeing! Originally published in knitscene Summer 2013. Solar dyeing is a natural method that requires very little work and results in non-repeatable, beautiful […]

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Sometimes we spinners need to just let it go. Unless we’re completely spontaneous spinners, we make a lot of choices before or while we’re spinning, and usually it’s easy to see a direct line between our decisions and their effects on the yarn. I have celebrated the fact that spinning gives me total control over […]

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My closet contains more than just sheep: plants and even trees live there! When I began spinning twenty-some years ago, handspinners typically focused on protein fibers (wool, hair, silk—basically anything that comes from animals). Spinners who preferred cellulose fibers generally stuck to linen or cotton, since they were easy to acquire. Manufactured fibers involved more […]

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Closet Full of Sheep: Dyeing Lessons

My first dedicated spinning-for-garment project was a good one for learning new skills. A beautiful commercial top of merino and silk seduced me: I bought a pound and spun it into singles, set the twist, and planned to dye most of the skeins, setting aside one as an accent color in natural cream. I can […]

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