Felted Merlot

Some of my friends have requested that I hold dyeing classes, and I have declined because my dyeing is such a random process, and I’m certainly not an expert.

I got in some merino laceweight for the business, and needed to wash and dye it for photos, and was also thinking that I would be participating in Secret of the Stole II.  After discussing it with the IT expert (my husband), we decided on nice pale blue yarn.  I started thinking that I was going to kettle dye the yarn.


You might notice that there is a lot of yarn – Secret of the Stole II requires 1500 yards, which I had measured off in one huge skein.  It didn’t all fit in the pot, so I pulled it out, looked at the very patchy blue and decided to overdye it with pink.


Funnily enough, overdyeing was still difficult with the too small pot, and there were still huge white patches everywhere. I took to jabbing at the yarn with the wooden spoon as it simmered in an attempt to get the dye to take more evenly.  I had completely forgotten that the laceweight yarn is not superwash.  I proceeded merrily, applying heat and pressure to the yarn. The white patches persisted.  Because I did not have a dedicated large dye pot,  I decided to overdye with food colouring and Kool-Aid.  Prior to using a food pot, I though I should rinse the yarn throroughly, and didn’t wait until the water was warm, and shocked the yarn from simmering temperature to cold water.

I then plunged the yarn into the re-simmering pot with the food colouring (yet another dramatic temperature change) – funnily enough, when I pulled it out I noticed it was quite a bit felted.


I still wasn’t happy with the dye job – where had my tasteful pale blue scarf gone? 1500 yards of slightly felted lace weight would need to be overdyed.  I purchased a mammoth pot.  I would love to buy these kind of supplies from thrift shops, but I haven’t seen a household thrift shop in Hong Kong (and I have looked!).  Instead I bought the cheapest biggest pot from a chinese homewares shop.  I decided to overdye with Jacquard fire engine red, and this time I took every precaution to prevent further felting. 


It was more than a little felted, and has taken two days of on and off ball rolling to get into balls. Now that it is done, I actually like the felted texture, and I really like the colour, although it is nothing like pale blue.


I’m only two weeks behind on the clues for the knitalong, so plan to do some lace knitting when we are off on holidays in Australia.  This is delusional thinking, because we have an insane amount to do while we are there – we have friends and family to see, and the weather will be hot and humid! 


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I can be contacted at travellersyarn at yahoo.com

One thought on “Felted Merlot”

  1. Ha! This sounds a bit familiar. I did something similar with the only laceweight yarn I’ve dyed, not watching the pot carefully enough and letting it come to a rolling boil a few times. Whoops. It was still certainly usable, but, like you, it took some work to get it wound into a ball. I liked the slightly felted effect, as well.
    Yours turned out beautifully, and far more rich and interesting than the plain blue would have been.

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