Friday, 9 September 2016


After spinning enough wool for my first hand-spun knitted project, I knew I wanted to dye the wool, but I wasn't sure what colour or how. I purchased a few different colours of powdered RIT dye from Spotlight.

I researched online different ways to dye wool, and there are a few. Originally I was going to dip dye an ombre effect with a large pot on the stove, however I didn't have a pot I was willing to sacrifice, nor did I have the money or time to go and buy one. So I decided instead to use a microwave method. Basically, you create a steam pouch with glad wrap to heat set the dye. I laid down 2 layers of glad wrap, then arranged my skeins (one or 2 at a time) that I had soaked in a vinegar and water solution, on top of the glad wrap. I mixed up my RIT dye in old coffee mugs. For the Fuchsia, I used a 1/2 teaspoon of powdered dye, approximately 250ml of boiling water and a dash of white vinegar. For the Purple I used a bit less dye, about 3/8 of a teaspoon (using a 1/4 teaspoon measure, 1 full spoon, then one half one) and the same amount of boiling water and vinegar. I then used plastic spoons to apply the dye to the wool. I dyed my wool half fuchsia and half purple for a variegated look. I did try to saturate my wool in dye, for a fairly even colour, but there was still some patchiness. I also sprinkled a bit of each colour onto the opposite sides for even more variegation. Then you just fold up the sides of the glad wrap to make a neat little package, and put onto the rack in your microwave, and microwave it on high for a minute at a time.

Once you have microwaved it long enough (I did about 3 minutes) carefully take out the pouch, cut a section open, pour out the water, taking care not to burn yourself, as it will be very hot, then rinse the wool in warm water.

I dyed one skein that was a little lumpier than the rest, in another colour just to try it. I used RIT Teal, but unfortunately it has come out more like an army green type of colour. But it is still quite nice, and I am super happy with how my variegated skeins have turned out. I wound one up into a ball by hand to start knitting with, then wound the rest into cakes when I borrowed my uncle's wool winder.

The pattern I chose to use my wool for is this shrug pattern, which was written up, based on a vintage photo. The sizing provided in the pattern goes up to a very generous 52" Bust! I have chosen to make up the second largest size which says it will fit a 38-48" bust. I have only just started knitting it up, so I have no idea how long it will take for me to finish, but we will see!

Here's the wool being wound into a "cake" on my uncle's wool winder.

And here is all my handspun wool in a basket together! The colour in the next 2 pictures is a little odd, and they look more blue than they are, the colour is much closer to the picture of the skeins on my kitchen bench a few photos up. But here they all are wound into yarn "cakes" ready to be knitted up. I also round up my skein of chunky teal, my super fine un-dyed wool, as well as my first skein of brown alpaca.

So far I am loving my foray into the world of wool spinning, and it is definitely inspiring me to up my knitting and crocheting skills, which are pretty limited at the moment. Does anyone else spin their own wool? Or have a sheep they want to send me fleeces from? Hehehe



  1. You've made some beautiful colours! I can see how it would become addictive. If you haven't worked with RIT anymore just a warning that it isn't washfast AT ALL. Ask me how I know.....:(

    1. This Dye should be colourfast, as I used vinegar with it to set it, and I couldn't wash any colour out of it afterwards. What did you Dye that didn't work?

    2. A cotton/linen dress. I did add vinegar to the dye but that doesn't act as a fixative on cotton apparently. It was such a disaster!! I had to treat it with a separate fixative using information from this page:
      Though reading it I realise wool is easier to dye than cotton, so don't mind my previous comment!