Portrait of Sierra Roberts
by: Sierra Roberts

How To: Dyeing Multicolored Fiber Blends

Dyeing Multicolored Fibers

Once you start dyeing your own yarns and fibers, it’s really hard to stop. Suddenly the possibilities are endless – and if you’re a spinner as well, this world of ideas just gets bigger. Not only can you choose your colors, but you can play with different fiber types and colors to achieve a broad range of results. When our Indigo extravaganza was in full swing last October, we all seized the opportunity to dunk whatever we could into that vat. One of the things I experimented with was a small amount of Blue Faced Leicester Blend Wool Fiber. This is two shades of 100% BFL blended into a brown and natural striped top.


Blue Faced Leicester Blend Wool Fiber  Blue Faced Leicester Blend Wool Fiber

I gently coiled this fiber into a mesh laundry bag and proceeded to dip it in the Indigo vat as usual. (Try pre-reduced Indigo!) Remember un-spun fiber can be delicate when dyeing, and Indigo can be especially hard on protein fibers. Try not to move your fiber around too much during the dyeing process, and add some vinegar or Citric Acid Crystals, 8 oz. to the final rinse water to help restore your fiber’s pH.


Citric Acid Crystals, 8 oz.  Citric Acid Crystals, 8 oz.

Blue Faced Leicester Blend Wool Fiber dyed with Indigo.


The result was pretty cool! As expected, the lighter fiber stayed a lighter shade of blue than the darker. What’s more, the darker fiber in this blend is brown so the darker blue has a slightly different hue than the other, which gives great tonality to the final look. I’d love to see how other colors would show up on this fiber! Natural dyes will probably behave more similarly to the Indigo, but lighter shades of acid dyes can have interesting tonal results as well.

Smooth BFL singles (left) and thick and thin singles (right).

I split my little sample in half and spun the first half into smooth singles. The other half I spun into a thick and thin singles, trying to keep somewhat regular spacing between the thicker “lumps.” I chain-plied the smooth singles, creating a snugly rounded 3-ply yarn. I split the thick and thin singles in half and plied them together for a more textured, looser yarn. Here are the results:

3-ply (top) and thick and thin 2-ply (bottom).

3-Ply (left) and thick and thin (right).

All that heathered goodness takes very little effort with the Blue Faced Leicester Blend Wool Fiber. Dyed or un-dyed, this stripey top is a great way to experiment with your yarn crafting. Watching the two shades twirl together can be mesmerizing, but don’t worry – you’ll be too busy coming up with yarn ideas to lose your focus!


Blue Faced Leicester Blend Wool Fiber  Blue Faced Leicester Blend Wool Fiber

A few related favorites:


Small Mesh Wash Bag 14" x 18" (laundry bag)  Small Mesh Wash Bag 14" x 18" (laundry bag)
Large Mesh Wash Bag 18" x 22" (laundry bag)  Large Mesh Wash Bag 18" x 22" (laundry bag)
Nube by Malabrigo Fiber Nube by Malabrigo Fiber
Jacob Blend Fiber Jacob Blend Fiber
Hand-Dyed Blue Face Leicester Wool Fiber Hand-Dyed Blue Face Leicester Wool Fiber
Romney Wool Fiber Blend  - Dark Grey/Fawn Romney Wool Fiber Blend - Dark Grey/Fawn
Schacht Dizzy Yarn Gauge  Schacht Dizzy Yarn Gauge

Remember, good prep and finishing will help make the most of your beautiful handmade yarns! The fibers we sell are already cleaned and scoured, but if you’re working with a raw fleece be sure to clean the oils before dyeing so that the color will take evenly. Try the Kookaburra Woolscour to scour your fleece. To care for your handspun yarn pick up a bottle of Eucalan.


Kookaburra Woolscour  Kookaburra Woolscour

[item=68000030,equipment,image with text]


Kookaburra Woolscour  Kookaburra Woolscour

Want more? Learn about Finishing Your Handspun Yarn here!


Related items of interest: • Our fibersDyeing DyesMulti-Craft EquipmentSpinning Equipment