How to Dye Yarn with Berries – Part 2

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How to dye yarn with berries - Part 2: Dying the yarn |


In my last post, I described the steps I took to prepare my yarn for being dyed. Once you’ve finished the preparation process, it’s time for the fun part – dyeing the yarn!

These are the steps I used to dye yarn with berries:

Step 1) Choose the berries.

For my yarn, I used a combination of blueberries and cranberries. I used about a pint (2 cups) of blueberries and 1 cup of cranberries.

Step 2) Mash and Simmer the Berries.

Crushing the berries helps to release their juices and makes the whole process a bit faster. I just put my berries into a large pot and used a spoon to mash them up. Then I added enough water to cover all of the berries (6-8 cups of water is probably a good amount). It’s best to have soft water, but if you don’t, you can add a spoonful of vinegar to the water to soften it. Simmer the berries for at least 30 minutes but, if you have time, you can leave them in for longer to allow more of the juice to get into the water.

Step 3) Strain the Berries.

Once you’ve let the berries simmer, strain them out of the juice. This is a very important step that I forgot the first time I tried this. (I ended up having to pick out all the little bits of dried berries that got stuck to my yarn. Yeah…. not very fun!) Then put your yarn into the pot with the berry juice. Make sure the yarn is completely submerged under the liquid or you’ll end up with yarn that’s half colored and half still white.

Step 4) Simmer the Yarn.

The amount of time you let the yarn simmer in the pot with the berry juice really depends on how dark you want the color of your yarn to be. The longer you leave it in for, the darker the color will turn out. Basically, you want to keep checking your yarn until it looks slightly darker than the color you want it to be because the yarn will look a little bit lighter once it’s dry than when it’s still wet.

how to dye yarn with berries
My yarn simmering in the berry juice (and you can see the berries that I forgot to strain out floating in there too…)

While you’re letting the yarn simmer, stir it every once in a while to make sure the dye is getting evenly distributed to all of the parts of the yarn (I just used an old wooden dowel to stir with). Try to stir the yarn gently, though. You don’t want it getting all mashed up and frayed. Yarn is much more fragile when it’s wet, so you want to be as gentle as possible with it.

 Step 5) Rinse the Yarn and Hang it Up to Dry.

Once your yarn is the color you want it to be (taking into account the fact that it will be a little bit lighter once it dries), take your yarn out of the pot and rinse it under some lukewarm water. Then gently squeeze the excess water out of it, trying not to wring the yarn or stretch it out too much. Then you can hang your skeins up to dry. I used a clothesline to hang mine. Every once in a while while the yarn is drying, turn it around so that it’s not hanging in the same position the whole time. This will help to make sure that it dries more evenly.

Step 6) Wind Your Yarn Back into Skeins.
Once the yarn is completely dry, untangle the strands if necessary, being careful so that the yarn doesn’t fray too much. Then wind your yarn into balls so it will be ready to use.
And that’s it! My yarn turned into a really pretty lavender color, and I used it to knit a nice warm scarf. I love the fact that my yarn has a unique one-of-a-kind color.
how to dye yarn with berries
The finished product.
If you’re planning a knitting project where you absolutely have to have a specific color, you’d probably be better off just going to the craft store and buying a pre-dyed skein since dyeing yarn with berries isn’t exactly the most predictable thing in the world. You can’t be sure exactly how the color will turn out until you actually do it. For me, though, that little bit of surprise is the best part. If you’re looking for a fun do-it-yourself project, dyeing your own yarn is definitely worth giving a try!
 How to dye yarn with berries - Part 2: Dying the yarn |


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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.

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