So, through the year, I started accumulating a few new tools to enable me to do some dyeing and to help with my knitting and crocheting habit in general. For Christmas, I put a Niddy-Noddy onto my Amazon Wishlist, which my Mother-in-Law kindly bought for me (Thank you Joan!). So there we were opening our pressies and as she also knits, Joan was curious about what she'd just given me. So, I set it up to show how it works and explained that it's used to make yarn into skeins ready for dyeing.
Watching on bemusedly, was her husband, who asked why I would want to dye yarn when there are so many colours available in the shops?
Well, frankly, why not? I've dabbled in dyeing before, but it was more for clothing than yarn back then. I'd only considered the possibility of dyeing yarn when I saw the instructions in a magazine. It took me a while to take the plunge, but last year I found a few tutorials on the Internet and decided to give it a go.
So, here's 5 reasons I enjoy dyeing yarn. If you are also thinking about it and haven't got around to it yet, I hope this will encourage you to give it a try.
I started out by using using Kool-Aid, the powdered American soft drink that you buy in little sachets. You don't need anything else - soak your yarn for a while, dissolve the powder in water, stick in your yarn, heat it up, leave it to cool down, rinse and dry the yarn. Voila - coloured yarn. And because it's a drink, you don't need any separate equipment - just whatever's already in your kitchen (I've used the lid of a casserole dish and an icing bottle in the photo above). If you can't get hold of Kool-Aid, artificial food colouring and a slug of vinegar will also provide results.
You can buy undyed yarn and I've found that it's often cheaper than dyed. In fact, I've just treated myself to some undyed silk roving yarn (pictured here) from Fibres Exotica at a bargain price :-) Also, wool tends to turn yellow when it's been on a shelf exposed to the sun, so I've often found balls of white yarns being sold off cheaply because they've discoloured on the outside.
After joining a knitting club a few years ago I received a free gift of 6 balls of wool. The colour wasn't to my taste so I've overdyed some of this yarn with green, purple and dark red (not all at the same time!) and now, instead of 6 balls of yarn I'm not that keen on, I now have 6 balls in colours that I will use. Not bad for a freebie, eh?
And in this age of Internet Shopping, you never really know what colour of yarn you're buying because you're at the mercy of a photograph which is not always a true representation of the yarn's colour. Rather than send it back or try and swap it with someone, if I can dye over it, I usually will.
Sometimes I only need just enough to make a small item. Such was the case with Jack, our Hallowe'en Pumpkin. I don't normally make anything in orange so there was no point in buying a whole ball of orange yarn, so I unwound half a ball of wool, dyed it and had just enough to make Jack.
I don't really need a reason to dye yarn, do I? I'm just having fun doing it and not harming anyone in the process. And isn't that the whole point of a hobby?