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Dye a forest inspired speckle yarn on SALCANTAY

By Gina Rockenwagner on November 10, 2020

Superwash Merino Wool

With autumn finally here, the air is feeling crisp and the atmosphere is starting to get festive. Here in Southern California, fall doesn’t look as you’d expect it to! Beautiful fall foliage simply doesn’t exist. Nature walks this time of year look more like a desert than a forest. Since I’m pining for a walk through the trees, and I can’t travel to the east coast for an autumn adventure like I normally would, I thought I’d live out my fall leaf peeping dreams in yarn!

To create this densely speckled yarn, I chose KNOMAD’s chunky superwash merino yarn SALCANTAY. It has a beautiful two-ply structure and a delightful softness, perfect for hats and scarves. I plan to knit this yarn up into hats to give to my family for the holidays!



  • 3 skeins of Knomad SALCANTAY yarn – 100% Superwash Merino Wool, 20%. We designed this project for SALCANTAY, but it would also work well on any of our yarns with superwash merino, like STEAM, SNOWDRIFT, EGGSHELL, MAGNOLIA, and SANDSTONE.
  • Dharma Trading co dye for silk and wool in the colors: MOSS GREEN, FOREST GREEN, and SAGE LEAF
  • Gram scale
  • 3 cups to mix the dye in, preferably a cup with a lid. This allows the extra dye powder to be stored for a later use!
  • Citric acid powder
  • Metal chafing pan at least 3 inches deep – We need to dye in something with a lot of surface area in order to get nice speckles.
  • 3 spoons to sprinkle the dye with
  • Your regular set up for heat setting yarn
  • Optional: zip ties



Loop a zip tie around each skein of yarn, if you are using them.

Soak the yarn in lukewarm water with a dash of citric acid for about 1 hour.



Make sure to always protect yourself with gloves and a respirator whenever you work with dye in its powder form. A dust mask is not enough protection to safely work with dye powder!

Use the gram scale to weigh out the dye and citric acid in a cup. For 3 skeins, I mixed the following amounts of each color in each of 3 cups:

  • 1 gram sage leaf dye + 2 grams citric acid
  • 1 gram moss green dye + 2 grams citric acid
  • 2 grams forest green dye + 4 grams citric acid

Use the spoons to mix the dye powder and citric acid powder together in each cup



Salcantay Superwash Merino Wool

Remove each skein from the soaking liquid, gently squeezing the excess liquid out of the yarn. You want it to be damp, but not sopping wet. Place the three skeins side by side in the pan, pressing them down and spreading out the skeins so as much surface area as possible is exposed.  Your yarn should look like the image above. Add 2 cups of the soaking liquid to the pan with the yarn.

Lightly sprinkle about half the sage leaf dye powder mix over the yarn. Try to distribute the powder evenly so you get lots of evenly dispersed speckles. Repeat this step with the moss green and forest green dye mix.

Cover the pan and heat the yarn for 10-15 minutes. Remove the cover and allow the yarn to cool for about half an hour.


Salcantay Superwash Merino Wool



Using gloved hands, flip each skein over so the other side is facing up. Repeat the dye sprinkling process: Lightly sprinkle the dye powder over the yarn until you have the desired amount of speckles on this side. For even distribution, aim for the same amount of speckles on this side as you had on the other side of the skein. I don’t measure very precisely, I just roughly eye ball it.

Cover the pan and heat the yarn for 10-15 minutes. Remove the cover and allow the yarn to cool completely.



Rinse and dry the yarn as you normally would.

Enjoy your finished yarn! Make sure to tag us using #Knomadyarn so we can see all your fabulous projects.


Salcantay superwash Merino Wool

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Gina Rockenwagner

Gina Fama Röckenwagner (she/her) is a color-obsessed knit designer and textile artist based in Los Angeles, California. Her work has been featured in Vogue Knitting, Pom Pom Quarterly, and Purl Soho’s eponymous blog. She founded her line of soft, comfortable, and size-inclusive clothing, SOFT HAUS, in 2015. When not working on yarn-related endeavors, Gina can be found quilting, biking, baking and watching trashy tv with her cats, Paloma and Blooper.

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