Meditations on dyeing entangled yarn.

It is a cringe inducing process to detangle yarn. It physically hurts to stand for hours, during a whole week, battling those tiny felted knots. But it leads to an interesting meditation state, until you just wonder why.

Why do I actually fight this ? It would have saved me so much time and migraine to grab the scissors and happily cut away. It’s a 400m skein, it would be ok to loose a bit of yarn to the knots.

But I wouldn’t give in. Until this morning. I woke up at 5.30am, started right away and at 10am, I grabbed those scissors. And I’m done. And happy. And I’m proud to show you my beautiful first hand-dyed ball of yarn.

Why did I wait so long to cut the knot ? Why am I so pig-headed ? I would have been proud to be able to say that I didn’t cut it. But seriously, who cares ? It’s just a knot. I squinted for a week for a bloody knot. I have no regrets I cut it, but I’m not sure next time I would be able to cut it right away. Maybe because I’m not very good at putting my happiness and comfort first. But, hurting myself for some felted wool is a bit scary.

At least I know my skein by heart now. I just have to decide what to knit with it. I’d like some scarf or shawl.

Now, on to the fun part. It was my very first attempt at dyeing a ball of yarn. I had previously dyed some fiber and spun it, as you can see here.


A tight ball of white yarn 


First dye batch : way too much red for my liking


Second dye batch : lovely teal gradient


Winter sun


Hints of green


From turquoise to blue


That knot.


That finished ball of yarn that took me on such an introspective journey

I used vinegar and food coloring. And a 400m skein of Cascade Yarn Heritage, a fingering blend of 75%wool and 25% nylon. I found out the hard way this quality doesn’t like being touched too much as it felt very easily. Not with the warmth of the microwave though, but just turning the skein into a ball and then into a skein and then into a ball was too much.

I binged watched dying tutorials on youtube and decided to dip a ball of yarn in the dye to get a gradient effect. Those weird ideas you have when migraine creeps in.

So I ended up with this gradient from pure white to orange to red. And I didn’t like the red. I never wear red. I thought I could name this “the speckled red-head”, but the reference to Sherlock didn’t even make me laugh, so I didn’t.By that time, it was past 10pm and I decided to dye it again, at least to have a smoother gradient and less white.

But I had no more yellow. So I used blue. Totally makes sense, thanks migraine. Then I happily went on mixing red and blue and microwaved away and ended up with this.

Speckles of rich brown and a nice gradient of teal and blue. I don’t have a name yet. But this ball of yarn and I have been through a lot together. Ups and downs. I just squeeshed it. We should squeesh our yarn more often.

Thanks yarn for being a part of my life. Even when you felt, you teach me something.

(Sorry for wordpress messing the post again. Just writing this used 2 hours of my time, can’t be bothered trying to fix it to make it look nicer).


Spinning hand-dyied wool first experience

So a friend showed me how to dye wool with food dye, and it was messy and pretty and fun and I managed to get this beautiful gradient. It does leak color a bit, but I hope I’ll get better at it with time.

I used 45g of white Cheviot, and spun it with my basic spindle in a few days and got about 170m of yarn (roughly 185 yards).

Because it’s not much, and I didn’t want to loose the gradient, I kept it as a single. But now I don’t really know what to knit with it. Any thoughts ?

Have you ever tried dying wool ? Do you prefer dying fibers then spinning it, or dying skeins of yarn ?