In this blog post, you will learn the top five tips to give your hand dyed yarn crochet projects their best and longest life.
Nervous about dunking your finished hand dyed yarn project in its first bath? Caring and washing hand dyed yarn doesn’t need to be scary. In this blog post, you will learn all the tips + tricks to care for you gorgeous hand dyed yarn projects.
Hi! My name is Joanna, the owner + creative of High Desert Yarn. High Desert Yarn is the place where nature, crochet, and yarn intersect. Here you’ll find crochet patterns that are practical for a life lived outside, or that bring a bit of the outdoors into your home. Also, you will find hand dyed yarn reflecting the glorious colors that cover the Earth.
If you’re looking for ways to use your hand dyed yarn, then head over to the patterns section.
CROCHET PATTERNS HERE
However, if you need to know how to care for your hand dyed yarn projects, you’re at the right spot!
See Yarn, Love Yarn, Buy Yarn
Have you ever seen a skein of hand dyed yarn, and fell madly in love with it?
Did you buy it immediately?
Or were you hesitant because you’re not so sure about it?
As a fellow yarn lover, and someone who was new to hand dyed yarn once, I GET IT.
Buying hand dyed yarn is an investment. Whether you bought the skeins to make a scarf for yourself, or to gift it, hand dyed yarn is an investment in not only your time, but your money. So, it’s important to know how to care for that investment for it to last a lifetime. Not sure how to do that? I dive into my top 5 Tricks to Care for Hand Dyed Yarn
Now, I want you to think about your biggest worry with buying hand dyed yarn. If I don’t address it, then please leave a comment on this blog post. I will answer it to the best of my knowledge!
Need to read this later? Save it to Pinterest!
Hand Dyed Yarn Tips + Tricks from an Indie Yarn Dyer
Tip #1 – Know the Fiber Content
Yarn dyers don’t mention this point enough. Just like fiber content is key when it comes to commercial yarn, it is ultra important to hand dyed yarns. Why? Because different fibers need different dye processes. Those processes determine how to care for your hand dyed yarn projects. It will also tell you before purchasing how likely the yarn will felt once it hits water.
Quick Version of Felting Fibers
Wool – the biggest felting offender
Superwash Wool – processed by the manufacturer (before dyeing) to prevent felting
Cotton – does not felt due to not having “scales” (bits in the wool) that like warm hugs
If you’re brand new to hand dyed yarns, or will be giving the project to someone less enthusiastic about hand dyed yarn, then go with a Superwash (SW) Wool. Relatively, it’s an easy-to-care-for hand dyed yarn, because it can handle a little wiggle during bath time.
Tip # 2 – Keep the Bath Water Cool
This hand dyed yarn tip is as cool as a cucumber. The bath water doesn’t need to be ice cold, but stay away from lukewarm. Cooler water prevents the dye from leaking out, and the wool fibers from felting. For the yarn lovers who love exact details, keep the water temperature at 70F/21C degrees.
Tip #3 – Do Not Use Laundry Detergent or Dish Soap
The biggest DO NOT of hand dyed yarn tips is to use a regular household soap. The regular laundry soap strips the dye from the wool. If it’s excellent at getting grass stains out of your kid’s pants, then it’ll be excellent at drawing the dye from the wool. What should you use instead? A gentle, no-rinse soap. I love using SOAK Laundry Wash. It’s gentle, and makes the wool soft and squishy after bath time. Learn more about SOAK Laundry Wash here.
Tip #4 – Add a Splash of Acid to the Water
This hand dyed yarn tip applies only to yarns processed with acid dyes. Sometimes you might see a little leaking in the hand dyed yarn bath water. If your bath water is cool, and you’re using a gentle soap, but you still see a little dye in the water, then the pH of your tap water might be too “basic”. Adding 1 TBSP of white vinegar per 1 gallon water will help raise the acidity level, and keep the hand dyed yarn from leaking.
Quick Science Lesson
Protein fibers need acid + heat to create a bond between the dye and the fiber. Protein fibers are animal fibers, like wool, alpaca, silk. Adding acid to the dye process increases the pH of the water. Therefore, adding a little white vinegar to the bath water keeps the acidity level higher like the dye process.
Alternatively, Plant fibers need soda ash + hot water to create the bond between the dye and fiber. Plant fibers come from cotton, or bamboo. Adding a splash of white vinegar to their bath water won’t help any leaking dye.
Tip #5 – Lay Flat to Dry in a Ventilated Area
This is actually two tips in one.. lay your project flat, and make sure there is air flow. One of wool’s superpowers is to hold onto moisture. That moisture weighs the wool (and your project) down. Laying your project flat to dry prevents it from stretching out, and not fitting properly. Also, make sure it has enough room to breath with ventilation in the room. If air flow is limited, then place a fan on it.
Quick Start Hand Dyed Yarn Care Guide
Now, you know the Top 5 Hand Dyed Yarn Tips to keep your woolies happy. Next, it’s bath time! Here is a Quick Start Bath Time Guide to freshen up your hand dyed projects.
- Find a bowl (or sink) large enough to hold your project.
- Fill it with cool water (about 70° F/21° C).
- Add 1-2 Tbsp of gentle, low-suds, no-rinse soap to 1 gallon of water.
- Swish around to mix soap throughout the water.
- Place your woolie in the bath and gently press down until the fibers are wet.
- Let soak for 20 minutes.
- Gently lift out of the water and squeeze extra water out. Do not wring!
- Lay on a clean bath towel, roll it up, and press out any remaining water.
- Unroll, and lay flat to dry in a well-ventilated space.
No More Fear of Caring for Hand Dyed Yarn
This blog post gives you the power, knowledge, and resources to care for your hand dyed yarn. It’s not as scary as it seems. However, if you’re still nervous about diving into the deep end of hand dyed yarn, then why not dip your toes in?
Here are 3 Crochet Projects for a Newbie at Hand Dyed Yarn
Now, all you need is a skein of hand dyed yarn! If you’re interested in trying the HDY hand dyed yarn, you can find all current colorways in the Etsy Shop here.
High Desert Yarn is made possible by YOUR support. Thank you for reading this blog post, and helping build High Desert Yarn. Happy Creating, Joanna