Tuesday, April 3, 2018


Out of all of my dyeing experiments this is by far the easiest and my absolute favorite!

I presoaked a hank of my 250 yd, dk weight alpaca yarn in a water and vinegar bath for approximately 1 hour. You need enough water to cover the hank when submerged with approximately 1/4 cup vinegar.

Once soaked gently squeeze out excess water so that the hank is only damp.

Cover your working surface using plastic wrap to protect against any dye spills. Use enough plastic to cover the surface and to then wrap the hank up into once dye has been applied.

I had found these mini salt shakers at a local Dollar Store and knew they would be perfect for this experiment. I filled them partially with the colors I wanted to use. My choice of dye for my alpaca fiber is usually professional acid based dyes such as Jacquard or Country Classics with vinegar as the mordant. Since I will be shaking the dry dye onto my alpaca yarn directly from the shakers there will be no mixing of the dye. If not using animal fiber yarn then make sure you are using the correct dye for the material you are using. The yarn has already been soaking in a water/vinegar bath with the vinegar being the mordant for the dye.

You should wear some plastic gloves whenever using dye. If you are concerned about chemicals in the dye and especially since you are shaking out the powdered dye, a mask would be highly recommended.

Take the damp hank of yarn and lay it onto the plastic wrap - spread it apart slightly. Then let the fun begin. Lightly shake each of the colors onto the hank wherever you want. There is no right or wrong way. You do not need a lot because it will begin to spread with the moisture of the hank. Once done on one side flip the hank over and do the other side.





Now wrap the hank up in the plastic wrap and put it into a microwave safe dish. 




I will be using my microwave to set the dye. My preferred method of dyeing my alpaca fiber is either in a crockpot or the microwave. I have both that are only for the purpose of dyeing. Any utensils or items you use for dyeing should not be used for anything else.

I microwave it on high for 2 minutes, let it rest for 2 minutes, again on high for 2 minutes, rest 2 minutes and high for 2 minutes. (You may have to check your microwave for this – you should not have any popping sounds coming from the microwave; if so , it is too hot and you will need to adjust the time.) Plastic will expand when heating in the microwave and will be very hot when you take it out. Care should be given. Once out let it sit on the counter overnight or until it is COLD to handle.

I am a firm believer that the longer the dye sits the better it sets. Plus it will continue to absorb any residual dye that may be remaining and will make it easier to rinse in cold water in the morning, without any worries about varying temps and felting.

Carefully cut the plastic away making sure not to be near any of the yarn when doing so.

Soak the yarn in a soapy cold water bath (I use Dawn dish detergent) and then rinse under cold running water. Do not agitate just soak and rinse. You may notice excess dye rinsing out at this point. I believe this is due to the fact that the dye was dry when applied. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.

Once rinsed place in an old towel to absorb more moisture then remove and hang the hank to dry.

This is by far my favorite and I plan on doing many more of these!

How did it knit up?


I hope this tutorial was a help should you decide to try dyeing fiber and I hope you enjoy dyeing your own fibers as much as I do!!

Shop my Rock Garden Alpacas Etsy Store for speckle dyed yarns, fibers, rovings, handmade items and much more!

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Copyright © 2004 -2018 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Debbie Bohringer of Rock Garden Alpacas, and Rock Garden Alpacas Fiber. Debbie is an alpaca farmer.  Please visit her Rock Garden Alpacas Fiber Etsy Shoppe at https://www.etsy.com/shop/RockGardenAlpacas


  1. Great tutorial, Deb. Love the different colors in this skein. :)

  2. Thanks! I really love how these yarns look knit up.