Fiber Fridays: DIY Self-Striping Yarn Dyed with Coffee

I’m scheming up some great holiday gifts for my friends and family this Christmas and i wanted some coffee colored yarn. I love self striping yarn (mostly because i’m terrible at switching colors) and i’ve been meaning to try dying with coffee, so i gave it a shot! First, I spun up this white wool (unknown breed) in worsted weight which was very fast spinning resulting in pretty versatile yarn. You could, of course use store-bought wool or cotton yarn if you’re not as manic as i am with the whole ‘make it from scratch’ issue.

How to Dye Yarn with Coffee

Secure your skein of yarn by tying string around and through the middle of the strands of the hank like a figure 8 in several places. Saturate yarn by carefully lowering it into a bowl of tepid/warm water with a cup of vinegar. Allow to soak for several hours to become fully saturated. Meanwhile, brew some strong coffee. I added some tea bags into mine as well for a honey colored dyebath. Pour coffee into a stock pot or crockpot. Add a bit of hot water to your yarn bowl, being careful not to agitate the yarn or pour hot water on it directly. Lower yarn into dye bath and simmer for several hours. I left mine to cold soak overnight after simmering.

To create self striping yarn: position a second bowl near the side of the dye pot. Lower about half of the hank into the coffee, alowing the other side to drape over and drip into the bowl. Coffee color will wick up the yarn some creating an “ombre” effect. You can push this affect more by starting the hank deeper in the coffee and occasionally lifting it out a bit more to concentrate the color on the lower side.

Once yarn has soaked to your liking, remove from dye bath and rinse gently. Rinse in cool water several times until running clear. You can then wash the yarn, i use Eucalan which doesn’t require a rinse afterward. Gently squeeze out all water, finishing with some squeezes in a towel and hang until dry, keeping the coffee side on the bottom. Voila!

I was expecting a darker brown, but the overall look once knitted is a bit like a vanilla latte- which is just fine with me! I wound my yarn into a big ole’ ball with my ball winder and have already gotten started on my presents. They’re going to be so awesome (and you can read more about them at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa on Monday – i’m a new contributor there!) and what’s even better i’ll have time to use up this whole big ball of yarn in the form of thoughtful gifts for half a dozen of my family members!

Featured Fiber Friend of the Week:

This week’s featured Fiber Friend is from my new “line” of friends: Flocks and Families! These new ornaments are great for the animal lover and aren’t just for the holidays. Hang in your Christmas tree or enjoy year round dangling from your rear view mirror or as a touch of folk art  from a window or planter. I’m having a great time trying out new animals for these ornaments that don’t otherwise fit the overall theme of my shop. What do you think – are they a winner? What kind of flock or family would you like to see?

Have you ever tried dying yarn with coffee or anything else you had in the house? How did it turn out?


Filed under Fiber Fridays, Fibers

3 Responses to Fiber Fridays: DIY Self-Striping Yarn Dyed with Coffee

  1. Gina

    This is gorgeous yarn. And I know it won’t fade much because I have spilled plenty of coffee and left permanent stains. : )

  2. Jan Zitterkopf

    This was just too cool!! I want to try it with 2 of my knitting buddies! Thanks for sharing and encouraging the love of fibers!!

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