Cotton Dyeing

1-eyeDid you know that your eyes are capable of distinguishing between 10 million colors? That’s what the experts say! Maybe you would like to make a purple sweater – do you want a purple that is more lilac, violet, or fuschia? If you have a specific color in mind for a project, you might want to try experimenting with dyeing your own yarn. Dyeing your own yarn is a fun project to try at home. The result of having your own unique colorway will add to the feeling of pride in your handiwork!

Dyeing Cotton Yarn

Cotton yarns require a slightly different approach for dyeing.

Cotton Fiber and Wool Fiber as seen under an electron microscope
  • Cotton is a cellulose fiber (not a protein fiber, like wool, alpaca, or human hair).
  • Prepare your yarn by winding it into a skein.
  • Wash your yarn to remove any spinning oil or wax that may prevent dye absorption. Click here to our “From Start To Finish: Cotton Spinning” video for specifics on this scouring process.
  • Pretreat the yarn
  • Use dyes that are specific for cellulose fibers – Cotton Clouds offers Botanical Dyes that are great option.

EZ Dye and Dye-Lishous

EZ-Dye (Dye-Lishous) Cotton Sliver and Cotton Yarn have been pre-mordanted so that the fiber will take up the dye so that you will not have to mordant your cotton prior to dyeing. This eliminates the pretreatment step, saving time, money, energy and water!

Top: Botanical Dyes, EZ-Dye Dye Lishus Cotton Sliver undyed and dyed; Bottom: EZ Dye Cotton woven into Napkins
Top: Botanical Dyes, EZ-Dye Dye Lishus Cotton Sliver   Bottom: EZ Dye Cotton woven into Napkins

The other great advantage of EZ Dye Cotton is that it can be dyed so easily after spinning and weaving. Weave the EZ-Dye (Dye-Lishus) yarn by itself or with an untreated cotton yarn. The fun begins when you immerse the finished cloth in a dye bath! The treated EZ-Dye (Dye-Lishus) cotton yarn will absorb the dye, and the untreated will not. Imagine napkins, baby blankets, shawls, and jackets that can be quickly woven without color. Once you know what color you want your log cabin or shadow weave project, you simply dye it! Magic!

Here are the kits has ready for you:

 Everything You Need to Know is Here!

Handspinning Cotton

Whether you’re a hand spinner or just want to know the most successful way to spinning cotton yarns, this newly re-published (by Cotton Clouds) book, Handspinning Cotton will give you all the recipes you’ll need to dye your cotton!

 Dyeing with Drink Mix

An easy introduction to dyeing, and one that is also a fun activity to do with kids, is to use powdered drink mix. You’ll end up with a yarn in a unique colorway and one that smells fruity too! Just know that the color will fade over time and with washing.

Yarn Dyeing
Cotton yarn before, during, and after a dip in a summertime drink “dye” bath!


 What’s Your Dyeing Experience?

We’d love to hear about your experiences with dye experiments! Leave us a comment here on the blog, share it on our Facebook page, or post in our Ravelry group.  If you’re inspired to give dyeing a try, be sure to check out our Pinterest boards for even more inspiration!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s