I have seen some beautiful Ombre and gradient dyed yarns around lately so I just had to try to achieve some for myself with natural dyes.
I have tried three different techniques; ball dyed, cake dyed and skein dipping.
I also had some new dyes to test ( so I have used them from some of the following experiments) , Natural Beet red powder and a liquid Grapeskin extract they were purchased online because I didn't fancy peeling my own grapes!
You can get a great purple and pinks through to a dark magenta.
1. Ball Dyed
Ball dyeing is simply dyeing the yarn as a ball. The dye only penetrates so far into the ball so the result is full colour penetration on the outside of the ball through paler tones to, in some cases the un-dyed wool colour. You can then get tricky and unwind the ball then wind it back up with the inside now on the outside and re-dye so you get a two tone effect. If you need multiple balls of yarn dyed the same you can wind two strands together and they will dye the same.
2. Cake Dyed
Yarn is dyed as a wound cake. Cake dyeing gives you a more random dye effect than the smoother colour transitions achieved with ball dyeing.
3. Skein Dipping
Skein dipping is simply that; dipping the skein so you have a graduation of colour from light to dark.
I loved the effects I have been getting particularly with the ball dyeing. I see some ombre socks in my near future :-)