Friday, January 11, 2013

Cake Dyeing Experiment

I recently started a new series on my YouTube Channel called Dyeing Experiments.  I have made many dyeing tutorials on the fly where I haven't exactly known what the outcome was going to be, so I decided that rather than calling some of these tutorials, I should go ahead and name them what they are... Experiments!

Logic would dictate that when you are dyeing whole cakes of yarn, a cake that is more tightly wound would absorb color slower than a loosely wound cake.  But why not try it out?  The extremes between these two cakes will also highlight how even two similarly wound skeins in a dyepot won't come out identical.

Before the challenge, I weight the two balls of yarn.  The tight cake had 99g, and the loose cake weight 98 g. There is a greater surface area to the looser wound cake, so even though dye penetration should be easier, there is also a greater access to yarn just on the outside of the cake.  I cannot wait to see what is going to happen! 

The insides of both cakes had a really cool look.  The deepest portion has a purple tinge, which is rimmed by a pale blue halo before getting to the darkest outside portion.  Of course, the colors are overall darker on the loose cake than the tight cake. 

The loose cake took up way more color than the tight cake, as we hypothesized.  This doesn't mean that the tighter cake isn't beautiful, because it has a gorgeous mottled quality to it.  In the picture below, it looks like there is a lot of white left in the tight cake, but it is really a pale blue.  Every bit of yarn did take up SOME color. 

I am still amazed that these came out of the same pot.  The colors coordinate really nicely together, but other than that they do not look like they are twins at all.  I think that I will want to combine both of these skeins into a single project.  Any suggestions?

Want to see every step of this experiment?  Check out the video below:


  1. Such a cool experiment, hard to believe little differences like that can effect the outcome so much.

  2. I loved watching the video of this experiment. Wondering, have you worked it up yet? I'm excited to see how the colors knit up!

    1. I have not knit them up yet. I am still looking for the perfect pattern to (potentially) use them together.

  3. didnt know where to ask this, so i stuck it in this do you dye bamboo yarn? same way? special steps? cotton and bamboo same process? kc

    1. I have never dyed bamboo yarn, but I would expect that some dyes that work for cottons might work. (I use the Tulip Tie Dye Kit for cotton yarns and get really vibrant colors.)

      You can always experiement with kitchen based dyes, but I don't know if you can expect great results. The methods that I demonstrate in most of my videos work on animal based fibers, not plant fibers.

      Good luck!

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