Monday, November 18, 2013

Sheep lesson and yard dying tutorial

This week we have been learning about sheep we started talking about the fact that sheep provide wool that we use for sweaters, hats, socks etc. After getting trapped in the rabbit hole of YouTube videos of the whole process (hearding, sheering, spinning, dying, creating) I thought it would be a neat idea if we could find a place locally that we could maybe watch hand spinning or try our hand at dying since I have never attempted to do this before. Well I stumbled upon what I believe to be my new favorite local store Puffy Mondaes , ceramics, cloth diapers, and any type of yarn you could imagine and yes they even teach spinning all wrapped up with the kindest workers. The owner spent a great deal of time explaining a kid friendly approach to dying a small amount of yarn. Here's the method I tried: *note non of my measurements were very exact and we still had great success. **

1. Purchase your yarn (it must have at least 30% wool in order to grab the dye) the higher the wool percentage the higher the pigment. We used 100% wool,  dye, we used this brand in royal blue, gloves, vinegar, cling wrap (optional) something to protect work space, and a microwaveable dish and something to pour or submerge your yarn with.

2. I heated up a big pot of water with about 1/4 cup of vinegar (didn't boil) and submerged your yarn ensuring that you wet the whole roving. Once wet I pulled it out with a pair of tongs and placed it in a bowl with a towel inside to try to take most of the excess moisture away. Carefully try to squeeze extra moisture (this is super hot) 

3. I used the remaining water from the pot to mix my dye (this is where the kids come in) it was about 5 cup, I added a few more tablespoons of vinegar (note you don't have to use the same water but you have to make sure that your water is warm as well to avoiding felting) This dye is very pigmented so I used a little less than 1/4 teaspoon for that amount of water. 

4. Mix

5. Here comes the fun part. I couldn't find any of my squirt bottles so we used two old baby bottles with old nipples. I cut the tip of them to make the flow bigger. 

6. Pour your dye and have fun. Make sure you flip over to ensure that the whole yarn is dyed (it doesn't have to be perfect) using gloves rub dye in well.

7. Once your happy with the results you can roll your tube of yarn in cling wrap (think roll of cookie dough) I didn't have cling wrap so I skipped this step. Roll your yarn into a cinnamon bun shape and place inside your microwavable dish.

8. Microwave on high for 4 minutes, take out and let sit for 2 minutes. Repeat again.

9.  Take out and let cool (careful it's super hot).

10.Once cool rinse well.   You can let your yarn cool an hour and use warm water or cool over night and use cold water. (Again the key is to make sure your water matches the tempeture of the yarn to avoid felting) Rinse until water runs clear. We waited for a few hours so the boys could help rinse without burning themselves. 

11. The killer..... let air dry. This took two whole days for us.

12. Roll your yarn and enjoy!!!! I think we will be using this for cowl scarves for the boys. 

This by far was one of the most fun things we have done in a long time and I am already looking forward to doing it again. These would great to knit or crochet something for family members for the holidays. Especially since the boys can help with the process. 


  1. This is so cool! I love the blue you ended up with!

  2. Awesome! Do you know how to knit and crochet? I might have to steal this idea! I bet the boys had fun too.

  3. Awesome! Do you know how to knit and crochet? I might have to steal this idea! I bet the boys had fun too.

  4. I know how to crochet but I can't really knit Do you? Steal away, it was so much fun for all of us!!