Bold summer sunsets at the ocean are one of my favorite sights. The sky looks like it is on fire with brilliant shades of coral, orange, and yellow streaking across it, creating a striking contrast with the deep blues of the ocean.
Today we are going to dye up a colorway inspired by these vibrant sunsets so you can remember those slow summer nights all year round! We will be using two skeins of undyed SNOWDRIFT SELECT to create this effervescent colorway. Let’s get started!
Unwind your yarn, remove the tag, and loop a zip tie through each skein (if you use zip ties). Zip ties help keep the yarn from tangling in the dye bath and make the yarn easier to maneuver. Knomad Yarn comes ready to dye with three figure eight loops tied into the yarn, so zip ties are optional.
Fill your large bowl with cool water, leaving about two inches of space at the top. Dissolve two tablespoons of citric acid into the bowl. Submerge both skeins of yarn into the bowl. Allow the yarn to absorb the water completely. A thorough presoak is essential because protein fibres have a protective cuticle layer that swells and opens when it is saturated.
This allows the dye to bond to the core of the yarn quickly. The result is an even application of dye. Allow the yarn to presoak for at least an hour. The yarn should be about two shades darker in color.
If you need to lay down newspapers or garbage bags to protect your surface, do that before working with the dye. Label your four jars with Midnight Blue, Baby Blue Eyes, Persimmon, and Peach Blush. Fill each jar with ½ cup of the hottest water from the tap. Put on your respirator and gloves before opening any dyes.
Powdered dyes are a lung irritant so it is important to wear a high quality respirator when working with them. Dissolve a quarter teaspoon of each dye in the corresponding jar. Sprinkle a dash of citric acid into each jar and stir to dissolve. I used less than a tablespoon of citric acid for all four jars. Set the jars of dye aside.
Move the presoaked yarn into your dyeing vessel. Arrange the yarn so it is evenly distributed in one layer across the bottom of the dye pot. For this tutorial, I am dyeing in a slow cooker. A steel stock pot with a lid will also work well. When you move the yarn, it is okay not to squeeze out the excess water.
We want about one inch of water in the slow cooker with the yarn at this time. As we add the dye, there will be more liquid added to the pot. Replace the lid and turn the slow cooker on high. If you are working on a stovetop, the medium setting should work. Allow the yarn to heat up for about 30 minutes.
After the yarn is hot, remove the lid. While wearing your gloves and apron, apply the Midnight Blue dye solution to the far left section of yarn, only covering one quarter of the yarn. Use your tongs to lift the yarn and ensure the dye penetrates that section thoroughly and evenly.
Next, apply the Baby Blue Eyes dye solution to the section adjacent to the Midnight Blue section. The left half of the yarn should be saturated with two shades of blue dye. Use your tongs to manipulate the yarn, ensuring that the dye penetrates through to the bottom of the pot. Replace the lid and allow the blue dye to set for 30 minutes.
Once the blue dye sets, it is time to add the Peach Blush and Persimmon Dye. Remove the lid and apply the Peach Blush dye solution to the far right section of yarn. This blending process can be more organic as you apply the Peach Blush and Persimmon dye solutions.
Continue by adding the Persimmon dye solution to the remained undyed yarn and use your tongs to lift the yarn and layer the dye through to the bottom. Replace the lid and allow the dye to set for 30 minutes.
Put on your respirator and get the Brilliant Yellow dye and a spoon. Remove the lid from the dye pot and use your tongs to shift all the blue dyed yarn to bunch up on the left side of the pot. This should stretch out the Peach Blush and Persimmon dyed sections exposing any lighter sections.
Using a spoon, gently sprinkle Brilliant Yellow on any lighter areas to add a hint of yellow. These yellow spots are the sun rays in this vibrant ocean sunset. Move the yarn around with your tongs and lightly apply as much Brilliant Yellow as you would like.
A word of caution, a little goes a long way, so sprinkle sparingly to create little pockets of yellow in your sunset. Replace the lid and allow it to set for 30 more minutes, then turn off the heat.
Allow the yarn to cool for several hours or overnight. Once it is cool to the touch, remove it from the dye pot and rinse thoroughly with cool water until the water runs clear. If you have a salad spinner, that is a great tool to use at this time to express any excess water and dye. Hang the dyed yarn to dry.
This dyeing method is a low immersion dye because the water level is low. The low water level keeps the dye from spreading evenly around the yarn, giving you more control over dye placement. If you want to create this on your own and want the colors to be more pastel, use ⅛ teaspoon and ¾ cup of water when you make your dye solution.
You do not need to use all of the dye at once, and if you are using jars, you can put a lid on the dye solution and use them later. I like to use up dye solutions within a week of mixing them.
This vibrant ocean sunset packs a punch of color! The deep blues contrast with the vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and peach for a bright and cheerful finished skein of yarn! You could knit up a beautiful shawl with your yarn to remind you of brilliant summer sunsets year round. We can’t wait to see what you make! Share your projects with us by tagging @Knomad_Yarn and #knomadyarn on social media.