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How to Dye a Gradient Yarn

This is seriously one of my favorite ways to dye yarn. The results are always fun, and often unpredictable. Here is an example of how this style will work up:

In this video, I’ll be making this same colorway. If you try out this method, just keep one thing in mind… don’t have any expectations!

I’ve used this method many, many times and have loved the finished results of each, but several times the results weren’t what I expected! The results will vary depending on the weight of your yarn, how much you’re dying and what colors you use.


Choose 100% wool yarn (or at least 75%). Any weight will work, but they will dye up differently. You will be rolling your yarn into a ball and allowing the dye to slowly work it’s way through. Sock yarn will therefore have more layers to work through than a bulky, so keep that in mind.


I use only food coloring (Wilton’s Black and Golden Yellow shown) for this method. The reason I prefer this over the acid dyes I usually use is that the blend of colors produce a better gradient. The different colors that make up a black are absorbed at a different rate. If you want to see how it works, dip the corner of a napkin or paper towel into your dye bath and watch the color spread.How to Dye a Gradient Yarn How to Dye a Gradient Yarn

Other supplies:

You’ll need vinegar (to set the color), a pot large enough to cover your yarn completely with water, two colors of food dye, and a pair of tongs. Since we’re using food dye, you can use items from your kitchen and not worry about it. Just make sure you clean out your pot well when you’re done or you might end up with pink rice someday! Not that I’ve ever done that… You’ll also want to find a means of winding your yarn into a skein for drying. I use this yarn swift, but you can easily use a back of a chair or the arms of a willing friend. Finally, you’ll need patience. Lots of it. This method can be time-consuming. But the results are worth it!

If you make some yarn using this method, I’d love to see how it turns out!

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  How to Dye a Gradient Yarn

The post How to Dye a Gradient Yarn appeared first on DIY Magazine.


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