- First pick out a NATURAL fiber yarn (cotton will work). This one is made of angora and nylon (not natural). I have actually had this yarn since 2005 the year I taught myself to knit. It is the same yarn that I knitted my first scarf. I gave it to my grandmother for Christmas. This is also when I learned how much cheaper it is to just buy a scarf! ha! Also, it took me 3 months to figure it out. No one around me knew how to knit, just crochet.
- After you pick your yarn you want to unwind it out of the ball and make a large loop like this. You can use chair legs, your hubby’s hands spread out, or just wrap it from your thumb down the sides of your arm, around your elbow, and back up. <this is also how I wrap up an extension cord. (got it)?
- Next you need to take extra yarn and tie your bundle in numerous places so it won’t get tangled in the dying process.
- Mix one part vinegar to 4 parts water and let your yarn soak in that mixture for at least 30 minutes. This helps the yarn ‘take’ the dye. Also, use a bowl you don’t mind getting stained and that can be used in the microwave (I didn’t think about that last part when I started this). You can use an old plastic rubbermaid or a glass bowl.
- I used rit dye, but you can also use kool-aid.
- I was trying to make a foxie orange, so I stirred in my yellow first. You want to put it it lukewarm water.
- Put both yarns in, then put in the microwave. You need to heat it at 3 minute intervals. Keep checking the water and gently stirring (more aggitation with natural fibers, the more they will felt….which we don’t want). You want your yarn to soak up all the dye. Your water should turn clear (so all the tutorials told me), but mine never did.
- After I felt like I had cooked it in the yellow long enough, I sprinkled in the red. I kinda wanted more spots to be concentrated then others. I lightly stirred it in and started heating again. I bet I heated the yellow for 15 mins and the red for 9 mins…I didn’t want it to get too dark.
- When you take your yarn out of the microwave you want to pour all the water in the sink and lightly rinse your yarn with cool water. Your going to softly push on the yarn to get the excess water and dye out. When it runs clear, gently squeeze it.
- Get an old towel and fold it in half. Lay out your yarn and then roll it up in the towel and push on the towel, to soak up excess water.
- Next you want to find a hanger and hang your yarn to dry overnight…it could take a couple days. Put a large bowl to catch all the drippings. I barely had any.
- To speed the drying process on the second day I cut the ties and kinda spread out my yarn on a towel in front of a space heater.
- When the yarn is FULLY dry you can finally roll them into balls. I rolled mine into center pull balls. Here is how.
- Now you are ready to knit with your hand-dyed yarn! This is a great way to make colors that you want but can’t find. It’s also a good way to combine all sorts of colors to make more interesting yarn. OR you can use it to dye yarn that you don’t really like the color into something fun!
Here is what I made with my yarn:
All the tiny little pieces to make my fox for the ‘future’ baby. Here is the pattern I used. It’s in another language, but it’s the only free fox pattern I liked. Google will translate for you, but her terminology is unlike any I know. Therefore my pattern doesn’t look exactly like theirs. I had to make up the ears and the white belly fur. Also, I somehow misread the pattern for the face. Oh well. Here he is:
He looks like a little mouse-fox. I think I’m going to let the baby name him! I love his fat little tummy. There is something so rewarding about knitting animals. It is so different than knitting a scarf or hat. I think it’s because YOU give them their personality. You make their eyes and their expressions. Though it is a lot of work and very time consuming, I thinking knitting animals and dolls is my favorite!