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Dyeing the Perfect Purple

By Amy Reader on May 12, 2021

Purple is one of my favorite colors to work with! I primarily use my dyed yarn for embroidery work, but I do crochet and knit for fun on occasion too. When I am making things just for fun, I always find myself drawn towards shades of purple. Figuring out which purple is best can sometimes be a challenge. Some shades of purple lean more red or warm-toned and others are more blue or cool-toned. Purple can also be a tough color to dye evenly as the different pigments in the acid dye can lead to striking, or the colors splitting in the dye bath and absorbing unevenly into the yarn. Well, today on the blog we are going to color all things purple! We will go over how to dye up a solid skein through immersion dyeing for a perfectly even color and dye four different shades of purple as examples. Let’s get started!



  • Four skeins of LATTE 100% Baby Alpaca (this example was done on LATTE but any skein of Knomad yarn will work beautifully!)
  • Dharma Acid Dyes in Deep Purple, Electric Violet, Hyacinth, and Lilac
  • Citric Acid
    Your usual dye set up – I am using a slow cooker, but a stock pot with a lid on a stove top will work well too
  • Gloves
  • Large bowl
  • Respirator
  • Cup
  • Gram scale
  • Spoon
  • Tongs




Fill a large bowl with cool water and add your skeins of yarn for dyeing. Allow them to presoak and for the water to be fully absorbed before adding them to the dye pot. This usually takes about an hour.





Fill your dyeing vessel with cool water up to about two inches below the top. You want the yarn to have a lot of room to swim around in the dye bath – that is what makes the color nice and even. Measure one gram of dye for every 100 grams of yarn. We are only dyeing one skein at a time and each skein is 100 grams so we will only need one gram of dye for each skein. Dissolve the dye into the water. It is often easier to dissolve the dye fully into a cup first before adding it to the water. I tend to scoop a cup up out of the dye bath so I don’t add any more water when I add the dye. Always add powder to liquid. So fill the cup with water then add the dye powder. 


Remember to always wear a respirator and gloves when working with dye powders and that any tools used for dyeing are no longer food safe and should be reserved exclusively for dyeing. 


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Add your yarn to the dye pot that has the dye bath in it. Gently stir the yarn around as you add it so the dye flows freely through the yarn to get even absorption. Add heat and bring the yarn and dye bath up to just below simmering. If you are using a slow cooker, turn it on high and wait about 45 minutes.


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While the yarn is heating up in the dye bath, prepare the citric acid. Fill a cup with about 6 ounces of water and dissolve a spoonful of citric acid into the cup. 




Once the yarn and dye bath is nice and hot, add the acid in and gently stir the dye bath. Pour the cup of acid water around the edges of the dye bath and avoid dumping it directly onto the yarn. Allow the yarn to sit until the dye bath is fully exhausted. This means that the water is clear and all of the pigment has been absorbed by the yarn.


Purple is a composite dye – meaning it has multiple colors to create one new color – and adding the acid to the dye bath at the end when the dye bath is already hot helps the different pigments absorb evenly for a uniform color.




Once the dye bath has been exhausted, turn off the heat and allow the yarn to cool completely before rinsing and hanging the yarn to dry.




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This is the Deep Purple dye and it is definitely a cool purple with deep blue tones to it. It is brighter than I expected but a lovely bluish purple shade.


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This is the Electric Violet and as it is named violet I expected a more red or warm toned purple and it met my expectations! This color feels like a classic purple that would be great for any situation and would be my go to if I wanted to dye something purple.


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This is the Hyacinth and it is similar to the Deep Purple but lighter in color and a smidge warmer in person. It would pair very well with the Deep Purple if you were creating a monochrome hat or sweater and wanted some shades of purple that paired well together but were not exact matches.


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This is the Lilac and it feels a bit more muted compared to the other three purples that we dyed today. 


All four of these shades of purple are great options for whatever you might be making! And now I can add four more colors to my Dyer’s Journal. Which shade is your favorite? Don’t forget to tag us in your creations on social media @knomad_yarn! 


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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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