Tie Dye Your Yarn

 "The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts." --  Marcus Aurelius

"The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts." --  Marcus Aurelius

There are the more commonly known tie dyed t-shirts showing up in every store, as well as those with ombré and shibori patterns. A friend stopped by today and though she would never consider herself trendy, she was wearing a t-shirt with patches of tie dye in shades of indigo.   I had a Tulip tie dye kit from I Love to Create  on hand and decided to give it a go myself, but instead of working with flat fabric, I dyed some cotton yarn.  

The process couldn't have been simpler.

You need:

Tulip Tie Dye Kit
DK weight 100% cotton yarn (8-16oz)
acrylic yarn
swift (or a chair)
plastic wrap
plastic tarps (I used a plastic pinic table cloth and trash bags)

If your yarn is in ball form, you will need to make a skein out of it.  To do so, use either a swift and wind it around or turn a chair upside down and wind the yarn in a circle form around the legs.  Once completed tie the ends together.


Cut 3 pieces of acrylic yarn.  Each should be 6" long.  Tie them in intervals around the skein.  The key is create a figure 8 at each point which holds the yarn together, yet prevents it from tangling.  Don't pull too tight!


You should have 4-8 bundles depending on the amount of yarn you had on hand and the size of the skeins you made.


To prepare the yarn for maximum absorbtion of the dye, soak it in a bucket of warm water until completely saturated.  


Cover your work surface with another tarp.  I used trash bags.  Prepare your dye as per instructions in the kit and begin!  


Tie dye is a resist method of dying.  Everything under the resists stays the original color while everything else is dyed.  Ikat is a Japanese form a tie dying warps for the loom.  I didn't want to be quite so sophisticated.  I simply squirted the die onto the yarn.


I used too much die on my first sample.  The stripes didn't retain their shape, but as I used an analagous color scheme the results were lovely with over over 15 variations of green from spring green to forest green.  (Any other color scheme would have resulted in mud.)  As you can see I experimented.  For my second sample I drizzled blue on the yarn and followed up with dashes of green and yellow.


My daughter loves tie dye and I mean loves it. Her 2nd grade birthday party had a tie dye theme and we've even planted roses with variegated flowers said to have a tie dyed look. When she saw me dying the yarn, she grabbed a few t-shirts.


I used the Tulip tie dye kit this summer with kids in our circus camp to create clown costumes. Honestly, it was super easy and only moderately messy with 20 children working on them. My suggestion is to have a tarp on the table and on the floor.  Have plastic Ziploc bags ready to go to hold the wet and dyed t-shirts for transfer home to be washed.  



Random color fact- The first synthetic dye was mauve.  Until the mid-1860's all colors were derived from natural sources such as indigo, madder, and marigolds.