Sunday, March 20, 2016

My dyeing equipment

This one is going to be a very picture heavy post, and I probably won't get into the details of what I use everything for, but I wanted to give you an idea of the type of equipment/stuff I use when I am dyeing my yarns.

I don't have pictures of absolutely everything,  and I am sure I will forget at least some of the items, but I will do my best to show you what I typically use. I have a nifty little scrapbook storage container system that I keep a lot of my stuff in, so if you are wondering what the plastic containers are that some of this stuff is in, they are the drawers from the storage unit. 

Some of the things I know right away that I did not take pictures of are: 
  • Plastic wrap
  • Microwave
  • Big plate that fits in the microwave
  • Stove
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Towels
  • Flyers/newspaper
  • Gloves
  • Sink
  • Shoe Rack for the dryer
  • Dryer
  • pH test strips
As for the things I did take pictures of, here we go, in no particular order.

Okay, so this one does kind of go in order because without it, I can't really dye my yarn, now can I?  As I have said in previous posts, I use superwash wool. I don't like anything I have to fuss with, and I can put this right in the washer/dryer with all my other clothes. Makes me happy when I can do that.  Some of it I buy in skeins, but lately I have been buying cones, since I go through so much.
Top Left - Opal Bare Fingering
Top Right - Valley Yarns Bare Franklin Fingering
Bottom - Knit Picks Stroll Bare Fingering

Something to soak my yarn in
I used to use the sink, but I sometimes get distracted and don't get back to my yarn right away, so I find using this large Rubbermaid contain works quite nicely.
2.5 Gal Rubbermaid Conatiner

Citric Acid
Quite often used when I am soaking my yarn, essential to making the colour bond to the yarn (more details about that in another post). I buy it in bulk from the wine making store. It is much cheaper that way.  Sometimes I use it in the powdered form it comes in, and other times I mix one tablespoon of the powder with one cup of water, and use it that way.   I used to use vinegar, but my husband is not a fan of the smell of microwaved vinegar, so I switched. I find I use less with the citric acid than I ever did with the vinegar. 
Kind of in a rush when I put that label on....

Food Colouring
This is my dye of choice. Most of what I do is with food colouring, so I try to stock up on it. Pictured below is a combination of Wilton Color Right, Club House, Club House Neon, Americolor Electric, and the two Americolor Student Sets. 
And I will admit that I do have a favourite within my food colours. Ever since I discovered them, I am completely in love with the Wilton Color Right system. I love the consistency, and have found that out of all the colours, they are the easiest ones to use when you want to replicate a shade.  I was lucky enough to hit a Buy One Get One Free on all Wilton products AND a 30% off coupon at Michaels one day, so I kind of went a bit nuts. 

Kool Aid and Easter Egg Dye Tablets
Another source of dye, I keep these ones together in my storage bin, but I think I need to split them out. As soon as the tablets go on sale after Easter, I will be stocking up on more of them. I love 75% off sales. 

Medicinal Syringes
This is what I use to apply the colour to my hand painted and speckled yarns. I have them in multiple sizes, and, as you can see by the tips of some of them, I really like my pinks and purples. 

Squeeze Bottles
I mostly use these when I am mixing the dye with guar gum to thicken it for crisper breaks between colours. These bottles were Wilton Candy Melt bottles that I got on sale. There is one missing because it is currently in the fridge with black dye stock in it. 

Shot glasses
No, this is not for having a little drink-poo while dyeing... they actually serve a purpose when I am dyeing. If I am doing speckled yarn and only need a little bit of dye stock, these come in quite handy. One drop of colour and 2-3 oz of water, and I have a small batch of dye stock.

Guar Gum and Glycerin
For those times that I need my dye stock to be thicker, I use a combination of guar gum and glycerin. The guar gum is the thickener, and the glycerin is used to help blend the guar gum into the water/dye stock.

Baby Shampoo
When I am rinsing my yarn after dyeing, I tend to use baby shampoo. I like the smell of it, and it is really mild, and really cheap

Mostly used on the finished items, I do occasionally use it on the yarn after dyeing it. Due to the cost of it, I use it sparingly.

Rachael Ray Oval Pasta Pot and Mason Jars
I could not live without this when making my self striping yarn! Rachael Ray developed this oval pot so you don't have to break your spaghetti when you are cooking it, but I have discovered that is also holds 6 500ml Mason jars quite nicely, and I think it has seen almost as much yarn dyeing as it has seen pasta cooking!

I just started using this one recently but have come to love it. I use this skillet for doing my two colour cake dyeing method. I am currently on the hunt for a very shallow, round cooling rack that I can set on the bottom.  
And while it is not pictured here, I also have a huge stock pot made by the same company (so think this pan but like 18 inches high) that I use with a cooling rack on the bottom of it when I am doing gradient dyeing with the yarn wrapped in a ball. 

As I said, I am sure I probably missed at least a few things on this list, but this should give you an idea of what I use the most in my typical dyeing session. 

Now that I have pulled all this stuff out, I think it is time to go dye some yarn! 


  1. I really want one of those oval pans. Must check Amazon!

    1. It is really awesome. She has a skillet as well... so I make my sauce in the oval skillet, my pasta in the oval pot, and then I can combine them into whatever pot I want/need to!

  2. Thanks for the referral from ravelry. Great post with tons of information for the beginner like myself.