Monday, March 5, 2012

Yes, you can dye a finished sweater!!!

O.K. I tried overdyeing my yarn with red food dye, it came out a dark burgundy red. Not ugly or anything, just not what I was looking for... I then tried the blue food dye... Oh, that produced very interesting results! That's what I chose!!!

Here are a few examples of my experimentations, starting from the left:
The original color, first red bath, second red bath, red over dyed yarn dunked in a blue bath, first blue bath, second blue bath.

The February Lady Sweater is now soaking in a blue bath corresponding to my favorite result, the first blue bath... Here's how I did it:

After soaking the sweater in warm water, I poured two 28ml bottles of blue food dye in a big pot, also full of warm water. I stirred the dye in the water, then I lowered my sweater in the mix. I heated the water to the almost boiling point (to where a bit of steam was coming out of the pot), after 10 minutes, I added a splash of white vinegar to the mix (it helps the wool absorb the color) , then I let everything steep until the water turned clear. The wool had absorbed it all!

The pot went on the counter to cool naturally. When the water was almost cool, I rinsed the sweater thoroughly.

Here it is drying slowly:

 Remember what it used to look like? Blah...

                                                               Isn't this much better?

                                           Now, the hunt for the perfect buttons is on!


  1. Great experiment and the results are fantastic. The sweater is very pretty!

  2. Weren't you concerned that water that hot would felt the sweater? I love the final result though, much better. I have a light grey cabled cardigan I'd love to dye a deep cranberry..

  3. No, hot water doesn't felt wool unless you agitate it. The contrast between hot and cold water also contributes to felting wool. I know, because I've done a lot of felting and it takes a lot of work to get good results. ;-)
    Deep burgundy would be lovely!
    I suggest you try with a few strands of the light grey yarn, if you have some, to see what shade of burgundy you can manage to get and if you like it. Good luck!

  4. That turned out wonderfully and I didn't know you can use a food dye. Do you think this method would work on a garment made of yarn that is 50% acrylic and 50% cotton? Would the hot water shrink the garment? Or should I use the fabric dye? Thanks!

  5. Food dye only works on natural fibres, so the acrylic won't change colour...
    You should try it out on a length of yarn to see what it looks like, who knows, it might look cool...