My foray into Yarn Dying

Well, I got a little distracted this weekend.  My husband and son were playing in the leaves outside, and I was happily sewing upstairs.  Suddenly I heard banging coming from the kitchen, and when it didn’t immediately stop (with a toddler you expect some banging around!) I went down to investigate.

My husband had the tenderizing mallet in one hand, and what looked like a deformed kiwi in the other:

Butternuts!  Last year, our first in our new house, the butternut tree was less than prolific.  I think I may have seen one of these things on the ground, but only the one.  This year must have been better, because there was an entire bowl on the countertop.

Hubby was out to eat them, but we both noticed the dark stains on his hands from the shell and he told me that confederate soldiers used to use butternuts to dye their uniforms – so he boiled them up.

“So….what are you going to dye?”  I asked.

“I don’t know.” He replied with a shrug that told me he really hadn’t thought much past the fun of crushing once-living things with a blunt object and immersing them in boiling water.

I grinned and ran upstairs to get some Fisherman’s wool I’ve been wanting to dye for a while.

Here’s the result:

Butternut dyed yarn

Butternut dyed yarn

The dark brown version was my first batch.  After dumping most of the water from the first batch, I decided I really could use the dye again, so I added enough water to cover another skein and dyed again!

Now I was really getting into dyeing.  Lacking more butternuts, I turned to Kool-Aid I had stashed a while back for exactly this type of project!  This was fun!  First I kettle-dyed two batches of about 2.5 ounces each of wool yarn:

Kettle-dyed yarn - batch #1

Kettle-dyed yarn - batch #1

That’s one.  Notice the varigation – I like kettle dyed yarns because it’s always a variation on a colora.

I also hand painted two skeins of about 3.5 ounces each, in addition to the second kettle dyed skein shown below.  I had a blast, and I even managed not to stain my clothes or the countertops!  Here they are:

Handpainted yarn with matching trim yarn!

Handpainted yarn with matching trim yarn!

Well, I obviously don’t sell yarn on etsy (just yet, anyway) so I’m not sure what I’ll do with these – I’m thinking about making some longies and a matching hat for my newborn (and with that,  I’ll insert a gratuitous picture of my newest son!)

Sleepy Baby!

Sleepy Baby!


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