Two years ago I started knitting, and found it really very fun. When Christmas time rolled around I was inspired to make a few things for my family. It was 2013 in Seattle and everyone was crazy about the Seahawks possibly going to the Superbowl. My family was not exempt! I decided the perfect gift for one of my younger family member would be a slouchy knit Seahawks hat. The only trouble was that I could not find the right bright green color of yarn that I wanted to use.
I hunted high and low at all the stores I could think of. Michael’s, Joann, an independent craft store, and even Walmart. There was nothing except the cheap, scratchy Red Heart 1 lb yarn. I did not want to use that! Anyone that crafts with yarn tends to pick a favorite, and I assure you that the “Red Heart Savers” are NEVER on the list!
It occurred to me that I may just have to dye white yarn into the color that I needed. At the time, I was completely uneducated about what different yarns are made out of. Had I done a little research, I would have saved a whole lot of time and I would have been happier with my project at the end of this all.
As it turns out, there are two different kinds of yarn. They are made from either natural animal fibers (like wool), or they are synthetically made made fibers (most common is a acrylic, aka plastic). It is possible to dye both kinds of yarn. It is just much, MUCH easier to work with natural fibers. I didn’t know this and purchased my favorite acrylic yarn (Caron Simply Soft) in white. I then bought green Rit dye and went home only to find that all of the dye washed out within a first rinse!
Had I done my research, I would have found out that synthetic yarns need a special kind of dye called “disperse dye”. These can be found at pretty much any craft store. They are usually a little more expensive, but they work! A good brand is the iDye Poly. They run for around $4.00 at Joann (make sure it says “poly”!). They can also be found on Amazon.com.
Unlike synthetic fibers, natural fibers can be dyed with pretty much anything. So pull out that Rit, or even some Kool-Aid! Have fun, get creative and happy dyeing!