Kettle Dyeing Yarn

I played around with a new technique that I've never tried before.  Kettle dyeing with multiple colors. Now, I was under the impression that kettle dyeing was when you added your yarn to a cold vat of dye, letting the yarn and dye solution heat up together, undisturbed, until all of the dye was exhausted.  I do that a lot and love the tonal results.  From what I've been reading though, kettle dyeing can cover a wide range of techniques.  It seems to be the difference between hand painting the yarn, then steaming it to set the color and letting it soak in a dye solution to exhaust.  This method was a little nerve wracking, since you don't have much control over where the color goes, but it was a lot of fun to try.  It's kind of like magic watching the colors blend together.  I didn't take photos, but here's my process...

::  Fill a roasting pan with just enough cool water to cover the top of the yarn and 1/2c. vinegar and soak yarn until saturated.

::  Heat water until it's steaming, but not boiling.  You don't want bubbles.  They will felt your yarn.

::  Mix dye colors while you're waiting.

::  Pour dye solution over yarn.  Don't touch it, stir it, or poke at it.  The dye will bleed into the whole skein.  I know, this is hard. Wait for the dye to exhaust.  Some colors take longer than others.
::  Add another color, leaving a gap in between for the colors to bleed a little.  They do.  It's really neat. Also, make sure that the colors work well together and won't turn to mud.  Unless you like the color of mud.  Wait for the dye to exhaust again.

::  Repeat with all of your colors.

::  When the skein is finished, turn the heat off and let it cool.  

:: Rinse.  Dry.  Knit.  Or in my case, I'm making them into kits and mini's for the shop!

What's your favorite dye technique?


  1. I'm so glad you reveled how you did this! So neat! I've never dyed yarn or any fabric before.

  2. I will have to try this technique. I always paint the yarn but this sounds really interesting. Absolutely love, love the colours you got!