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ASPERITAS Handpainted Spring Sunrise

By Amy Reader on May 5, 2022

ASPERITAS is a recycled, sustainable base that is 50% recycled wool and 50% tencel. The tencel gives the yarn a beautiful sheen when dyed. Today we will be hand painting shades of peach, blush, and yellow to create a warm spring sunrise inspired skein. These colors fade together to create a lovely warm blend perfect for your next spring project. So grab two skeins of ASPERITAS and a good apron, and let’s get dyeing!



Two skeins ASPERITAS

Plastic wrap

⅓ Teaspoon


Measuring cups

Citric Acid

Dharma Acid Dye in Persimmon, Ballerina Pink, Peach Blush, & Brilliant Yellow

Four glass jars

Four large foam brushes

Masking tape and marker

Slow cooker or steel pot with lid + heat source

Steaming rack




Respirator mask

Large bowl


Newspapers or garbage bag (optional)

Salad spinner or yarn spinner (optional)

*Any materials used in acid dyeing are no longer food safe and should be kept separate 


Fill a large bowl with cool water. Dissolve two tablespoons of citric acid into the water. Submerge the two skeins of ASPERITAS yarn into the water fully. Allow the undyed yarn to fully absorb the water. This typically takes an hour or so. A good presoak allows the dye to adhere to the yarn evenly because the presoak opens up the outer cuticle layer in protein fibers like wool so the dye can bond to the core of the fiber. When the yarn has had a thorough presoak, it should be noticeably darker in color by about two shades and be evenly saturated throughout with no light spots. 


While the yarn is presoaking, you can prepare your dyes and dye surfaces! Depending on what surfaces you have available to you, you may want to line them with overlapping newspapers or tape down a garbage bag to protect the surface. If you have a dedicated dyeing table that you don’t mind if it is stained, then you can skip this step. A good apron or old dyeing clothes are also essential to protect your skin and clothing from errant dye while hand painting your yarn. 

Label each jar using masking tape with the name of the dye so each jar corresponds to one of the dyes. Get your respiratory protection, gloves, dyes, and the hottest water you can get from your sink. Fill each of the jars with ¼ cup of the hottest water out of your tap. Dissolve ⅓ teaspoon of each dye into the corresponding jar and stir carefully to ensure the dye dissolves fully. Once the dye has dissolved fully, add ¾ of a cup of warm water to the jars and stir in a dash of citric acid. Set the jars aside.


On your dyeing surface, lay down several overlapping sheets of plastic wrap covering about a 2 foot by 4 foot area. When it is time to hand paint your yarn, the undyed yarn will lay on top of the plastic wrap. After the dye has been applied, the plastic wrap will be used to roll up the dyed yarn like a burrito, so you will want to have ample plastic wrap around each side so you can fold the excess over top of the dyed yarn.

Once your yarn has finished the presoak process, drain the water out of the bowl and squeeze the excess water out of the yarn. The goal is for the yarn to be damp to the touch but not dripping. If you have a salad spinner or yarn spinner, you can spin the yarn a time or two to expel some of the excess water.

Lay both skeins of undyed ASPERITAS yarn out flat in an even layer on top of the prepared plastic wrap. Spread the yarn out evenly to minimize the areas that overlap.


Use the foam brushes to apply the premixed dye from the jars to the yarn. I like to work from lighter colors to darker colors to plan out the areas I want to blend. For this hand painted yarn, I started with the Brilliant Yellow across the center and then on either end of the two skeins of the yarn. Next, I applied the Ballerina Pink to the left of the middle band of the Brilliant Yellow leaving a small space of undyed yarn between the two colors. Then I added more Ballerina Pink on the right side of the yarn near the Brilliant Yellow, blending the edges of each color together. 

With this kind of application for hand painting the dye, it is easy to control how much the different colors blend together on the skein. I knew I wanted some areas to blend and to leave gaps of bare yarn in other areas. I chose not to blend the Ballerina Pink and Brilliant Yellow in the middle but I did blend it together on the right side of the flat skein. This process does feel very similar to painting, so how you choose to blend your dyes is up to you!

After the first two colors were applied, I added Persimmon to the right of the first band of Brilliant Yellow and then on the left side in between the two corners of Brilliant Yellow. Lastly, I filled in the open areas with Peach Blush leaving some small gaps of bare yarn in parts. Tongs are a helpful tool to have on hand when dyeing yarn with this method. As you are applying the dye, you can lift up small sections at a time to ensure the dye has penetrated all of the layers of the yarn preventing unwanted bare spots. 


Once you are happy with your hand painting, it is time to create the yarn burrito I mentioned earlier! Fold over all of the extra plastic wrap so it lays on top of the hand dyed yarn. If there is not enough plastic wrap to cover the entire surface of the yarn, you can place another layer or two of plastic wrap on top. Then fold the yarn in half long ways and roll it up from one end. 


Place your steam rack in the bottom of your dye pot and fill the bottom with a layer of water. The water should not cover the top of the steam rack. Place your wrapped up dyed yarn on top of the steam rack and put the lid on top of your dye pot. Set the heat to high if you are using a slow cooker or medium to medium high if you are on a stove top. Allow the yarn to steam for about an hour.


Once the yarn has steamed for about an hour, turn off the heat, remove the lid, and allow the yarn to cool. If you are wearing thick gloves, you can remove the rolled up yarn from the steam rack early to cool more quickly. Once the yarn has fully cooled, remove the dyed yarn from the plastic wrap and rinse it under lukewarm water. Squeeze out the excess water and rinse it a few more times until the water runs clear. Hang the yarn up to dry. 


Once the yarn has dried, your charming spring sunrise on ASPERITAS is ready to use! These four colors blend so nicely together and the soft creamy color of the bare yarn peeking through fits perfectly with this sherbet-like color blend. Hand painting yarn is a fun and satisfying way to dye up new yarn. Have you tried hand painting before? How did it go? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to tag us on social media using #knomad_yarn and @knomad_yarn so we can see what you create! 


Amy Reader

Amy Reader is a fiber artist based in Portland, OR. She learned to sew when she was six years old and quickly fell in love with textiles of all kinds. With the help of her grandmother, Amy learned to knit and crochet shortly thereafter. Amy started dyeing with kitchen safe dyes and was immediately hooked. She loves working with bold and playful colors and primarily dyes yarn for her line of hand-embroidered jewelry.

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