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Overdyeing Commercial Yarn

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Have you ever looked at a yarn in your stash and wondered what on earth ever possessed you to buy it? This is the story of how I turned my hideous op shop (charity store) faux pas into an attractive and usable yarn.

Now, put on your sun glasses, because here is the “before” picture 🙂

Before dyeing

Ugly, isn’t it? Well, believe it or not, it’s even uglier when knit up!

No combination of plain yarns, attractive stitch patterns, or even hiding it in the cupboard could detract from the screaming brightness of this monstrosity. It had to be toned down! I decided to dye it blue, hopefully
the greens would tone down and I’d be left with a variegated blue/brown/green/purple yarn.

1: First, I washed the 225gms of wool in hot water (very carefully) and dishwashing detergent. I couldn’t believe my eyes when a great deal of dirt washed out and the yarn became even brighter!

2: Next, I mixed a solution of one quarter teaspoon blue Ashford brand acid dye & half a teaspoon of navy blue. I dissolved the dye in hot water and added 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the solution. I then added
enough water to fill the jar I was mixing the dye in (a total of about 300mls).

3: Next, I put enough water to cover the yarn in a microwave proof container. I removed the yarn, added the dye and stirred.

4: Next I added the yarn again, making sure it was totally immersed in the dye and cooked it on high in the microwave for 6-8 minutes, in 2 minute bursts with 2 minutes between, checking at regular intervals to pick the skeins up out of the dye and place them back in carefully so that the dye would be taken up evenly.

5: I rinsed, spun the water out in my washing machine, and here is the result!


Note: If you’re dyeing a delicate yarn that will felt easily, let the dye bath cool down before removing the yarn.

Copyright © 2000 Sarah Bradberry

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