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Dyer’s Reference Library: PINK

By Gina Rockenwagner on May 19, 2021

how to dyed yarn

I have a well-documented love affair with the color pink. My childhood bedroom was painted a light bubble gum pink, at my request. I started dyeing my hair pink in 2016, even getting married with pink hair in 2019. I recently visited the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California for my birthday. We stayed in a blue-colored room but spent plenty of time enjoying the color pink at the famous Madonna Inn. You can see this color-splashed everywhere from napkins to cakes, their famous water goblets, and even packets of pink sugar for your coffee and tea! 

Completely inspired by the night spent at the Madonna Inn, I set out to test out pinks for my next knitting project! Let me know which one is your favorite in the comments!



  • 3 skeins of Knomad STEAM yarn – 80% merino wool, 20% baby alpaca. The dyes used in this project will work well on any of our yarns, but keep in mind nonsuperwash wool absorbs dye differently from superwash wool. STEAM is made from superwash wool. For more information on the differences between superwash and non-superwash wool, check out this article.
  • Dharma Trading co dye for silk and wool. I used the colors PINK ORCHID, VALENTINE BLUSH, and BALLERINA PINK.
  • Gram scale
  • 3 cups to mix the dye in
  • Citric acid powder
  • Metal chafing pan
  • Your regular set up for heat setting yarn
  • Optional: 3 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. While your yarn soaks…



Make sure to always protect yourself with gloves and a respirator whenever you work with dye in its powder form. A dust mask or surgical mask is not enough protection to safely work with dye powder! Measure 1 gram of each color dye into each of the three cups. Add 1 gram of citric acid to each cup. Top each cup with hot water. Mix each cup well.



Pour the entire contents of one of the cups of dye into the pan. Add water to the pan until you have about 1-2 inches of liquid in the pan. Stir gently. Remove one skein from the soaking liquid, gently squeezing the excess liquid out of the yarn. You want the skein to be damp, but not sopping wet.  Place the skein in the pan, pressing it down so the skein is fully submerged in the dye. Use the back of a spoon to work the dye into the yarn for even color.  Cover the pan and heat the yarn for 10-15 minutes or until the dye is completely absorbed by the yarn. Remove the cover and allow the yarn to cool until barely warm.



Rinse and dry the yarn as you normally would. Repeat the above steps with the other two colors of dye and the remaining two skeins of yarn.




how to dyed yarn


Pink orchid looks like the primary pigment magenta. It is exactly the color of dark pink roses. This shade of pink is quite strong. If you’re after a pale shade of pink, try a lower concentration of pink orchid. 


how to dyed yarn


Ballerina pink reminds me of ballet shoes, pink tights, and leotards. It is a warm, bright pink. This pink would look great combined with other colors to make a unique hand-painted colorway. 


how to dyed yarn


Valentine blush is a dusty rose color. In the dye pot, it looked quite cool, almost like watered-down merlot. Once the yarn emerged from the pot, I noticed it does have some warmth to it. It is called blush, after all! This pink is mellow and not too bright, perfect for applications where you want something more subdued.


how to dyed yarn


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

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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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