Ties for resist-dyed yarn

I’ve been playing with the dyepots again after spending a previous weekend introducing some children to Kool-Aid dyeing. I went back to resist-dyed yarn to try out a different (and hopefully faster) way of preparing the skeins for dyeing. The last time, I used thin crochet cotton and figure-8 ties. This resulted in very small blips of undyed areas, and the process of tying that many skein ties was time consuming. (I immersion-dyed the yarn in sequential baths, using 2 related colors. Handpainting is a little too slow for Impatient Me.)

For the first attempt, I bought some Velcro ties (used for tidying computer cables) and wrapped them around the yarn instead. This turned out to be a VERY BAD idea for several reasons. First, yarn sticks like a mofo to the hook side of the ties. Yes, I knew yarn would stick to the tie, but I hadn’t anticipated JUST HOW RELUCTANTLY it would release. The yarn was mangled severely in several places. Second, the plastic gets somewhat melty in the dyebath and is difficult to remove.

But the yarn came out very pretty! The tones are subtle, like the semi-solid handdyed yarns that are popular these days. I used Meilenweit sock yarn and Washfast dyes in Deep Orchid and Raspberry Sorbet.




For the second skein (handspun Shetland, the white skein described here), I used strips cut from a plastic grocery bag. They were much faster to tie, didn’t stick or melt, and were easy to remove. Best of all, they worked wonderfully as a resist!

I used Washfast dyes, Maple Sugar and Terra Cotta.


Overall, I think I prefer dyeing fiber before spinning to ensure more subtlety and homogeneity in the results. However, a double dyebath method is a great alternate method if coordinating colors and sufficiently light shades are used.

15 thoughts on “Ties for resist-dyed yarn

  1. Plastic grocery bag strips as a resist? You’re a genius! I can’t WAIT to try this out 🙂 Heheh…I’d say you may have created a monster, but I think that ship’s already sailed!

  2. June–Gorgeous! Could you tell us more about the process–which dye bath first, how you chose the appropriate “light” shade, etc.? Thanks. Jill

  3. How were you doing your immersion dyeing? (From my limited experience, I’ve found handpainting and then microwaving to be a lot faster than kettle-dyeing on the stove…)

  4. I think they came out beautifully.
    Judith says to use strips of cotton cloth to very, very loosely do figure-8 ties. I just tied a big batch of yarn that I need to soak.

  5. I like both your dye experiments. I’m very impatient too, and love to throw everything in and hope for the best. I love semi solid colores!

  6. Those came out beautifully! I can’t visualize how you wrap the stuff around the yarn to achieve that outcome. But the colors are exquisite.

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