Dying Yarn: Ombre

Ombre is a fancy-pants fashion word for a color that changes from dark to light as you go up or down a garment.  You know what I’m talking about , even if my description doesn’t make sense.  Ombre looks like this:

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If you want to make an ombre project, like socks or a scarf, you can knit your project out of plain white wool yarn, then dye the finished projects.

(Or, you can start with a “Sock Blank.”  You can buy these from specialty yarn suppliers like Knitpicks.  A sock blank is a piece of stockinet knitting that is worked up with yarn held double.  It’s designed to be dyed, unraveled, and then knit into socks.  If you want to make your own, you totally can.  Just buy a skein of undyed wool sock yarn, hold the ends together, and knit up the whole thing.  Use super big needles so that the process goes quickly, and the fabric is nice and loose (if it’s too tight, the dye won’t take evenly). I’m using a sock blank, but that’s just because it’s what I had on hand.)

OK, so you have your knitted up fabric and your dye in your pot, just like normal.  Soak your knitted item in warm water and heat up your dye.  We’re ready to start dying.

Slooooooowwwwwly lower your sock blank into your dye.

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I’m talking tortoise slow, glacier slow, slower than the bus when you’re late for an important meeting.  S.L.O.W.

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Lower the project into the dye inch…by…inch.  It should take you several minutes to put the whole thing in the pot.  This gives the bottom of the fabric time to soak up more dye (and become darker), while the top part has less time in the dye (and stays lighter).

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Once the whole thing is in the pot, let it hang out in the hot acidic water for a few minutes to set the dye.

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Rinse it in fresh warm water and let it hang dry.  (Then, if you’re using a sock blank, unravel it and wrap into two balls of yarn.  Use these two identically dyed balls of yarn to knit up some kickass ombre socks.)

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