How to Dye Tonal Yarns

Have you seen our new selection of tonal yarns yet? There are so many reasons to love adding the subtle shifts of color found in tonal yarns into your projects. Tonal yarns are a wonderful way to add the subtle variations of a color to your project without fearing that it will distract from textured stitches, cables, or even lace patterns. Each of our tonal yarns are made up of seven different shades of your favorite colors, which combine together to create complex, monochromatic colorways. Not only do tonal yarns add lots of visual interest when worked up with simple stitches, but they also beautifully highlight intricate stitch patterns.

Our tonal yarns achieve this unique look by carefully laying out each skein of yarn and hand painting the different segments of color. By coordinating the different sections of the skein with the seven different shades of dye, our tonal yarns are able to achieve a color that is rich, vibrant and multifaceted. The interplay of the lighter and darker shades within each colorway adds a sense of depth to any project by creating the illusion of shadows and highlights.

And if you are feeling adventurous, you can even create your very own custom tonal colorways with a few tools, a bit of dye, and a skein of Bare yarn in your favorite fiber blend. To create a tonal look with crock pot dying, mix three coordinating shades of dye and then carefully pour each dye over a third of the yarn. The dyes should stay in place, but will overlap with neighboring dyes to create new transition colors.

For greater control, you can hand paint the dyes directly onto the skein. As with the crock pot method, begin by planning out mixing up several coordinating shades of dye that are all within the same color family. Next, lay your acid-soaked skein onto a layer of plastic wrap and plan out the lengths of your color segments and if you want any color repeats to take place. Then, take a turkey baster, a foam brush, or simply fill a small squeeze bottle with your first color and begin to paint your first segment of the yarn, and continue in the same manner for all other segments. While wearing gloves, you can press onto each segment of color to distribute the dye and help to fill in any white spots. Finally, cover and roll up your hand painted yarn and steam for 30-40 minutes or microwave for intervals of 2 minutes on and 2 minutes of resting, until the liquid is mostly clear.

When the dye process is complete, don’t forget to let your yarn cool! Finish your custom colorway yarn with a nice bath in a gentle wool wash like Soak, Eucalan, or Kookaburra.

And  don’t forget to check out our tutorials page on how to dye yarn for even more color inspiration!

Whether you want to keep things simple or experiment with custom dying colors tailored to your taste, I know you’ll love incorporating tonal yarns into your projects just as much as we all do! Don’t forget that our tonals come in a wide range of weights including lace, fingering, and worsted weight yarns.

What would be your perfect tonal colorway?