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How To Dye Hand Painted Yarn on SANDSTONE

By Gina Rockenwagner on March 24, 2021

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m always working on a mixed yarn cardigan for myself! These chunky cardigans with pockets are exactly the thing I want to wear every day in our mild, beachside southern California climate.

Recently I acquired some beautiful yarn that isn’t the softest. I thought of pairing the not so soft yarn with KNOMAD’s ultra soft SANDSTONE. I have noticed that knitting a scratchy yarn together with a soft yarn balances the overall feel of the knitted fabric, resulting in a softer hand feel. The next challenge is to dye the yarn so the SANDSTONE goes with the other yarn! I used a combination of liquid dye stock and powder dye to achieve both big washes of color and speckles, just like the original yarn (which is spun, not dyed, to look the way it does). Learn how to make this yarn yourself with my tutorial below. Share your finished creation using #knomadyarn so we can see the fabulous colors you choose!



  • 3 skeins of Knomad SANDSTONE yarn – 80% extra fine superwash merino wool, 10% mulberry silk, . We designed this project for SANDSTONE, but it would also work well on any of our yarns with superwash merino, like STEAM, MAGNOLIA, SNOWDRIFT, EGGSHELL, SALCANTAY, and MARSHMALLOW.
  • Dharma Trading co dye for silk and wool. I used the colors ALPINE BLUE, FLOURESCENT SAFETY ORANGE, and FLOURESCENT FUCSIA.
  • Gram scale
  • 3 cups to mix the dye in
  • 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.
  • A measuring spoon. Any size will work.
  • Your regular set up for heat setting yarn
  • Optional: a zip tie



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!


1st CUP – 1 gram FLOURESCENT SAFETY ORANGE + 1 gram citric acid 

2nd CUP – 1 gram FLOURESCENT FUCSIA + 1 gram citric acid 

3rdCUP – 3 grams ALPINE BLUE + 1 gram citric acid +2 cups hot water

Mix each cup well.




Remove the skeins from the soaking liquid, gently squeezing the excess liquid out of the yarn. You want them 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.



Use a spoon to lightly sprinkle the fluorescent safety orange dye powder mix over the skeins. Go easy here and add it little by little. You can always add more, but it’s hard to take away dye once you’ve added it to the yarn.

When you have enough orange speckles for your liking, cover the pan and heat for 10 minutes.


Pour the contents of the cup of Alpine Blue mix over the yarn. I tried to pool the color in three places, avoiding the orange speckles.

Cover the pan and heat the yarn for 5-10 minutes or until the blue dye is completely absorbed by the yarn. Remove the cover and allow the yarn to cool until you can safely handle it.


Flip over the skeins to expose more white areas of yarn. The yarn should look like the image above.

Use a spoon to lightly sprinkle the fluorescent fuchsia dye mix over the yarn. I tried to concentrate the pink speckles on the bare areas of the yarn so they really pop.


Cover the pan and heat for 5-10 minutes or until the fuchsia color is absorbed.

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.


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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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