How to Rescue Bleeding Yarn

What to do when you're caught blue handed.
What to do when you're caught blue handed.

Late last year I participated in #getyouryarnwishesgranted on Instagram. I wished for a skein of something indie dyed and within minutes I had two perfect strangers offer to send me some yarn. I love the fiber community! One of the skeins even fit perfectly into my favorite colorways, turquoise and lime. It was love at first sight.

Then I started knitting a gauge swatch and my hands turned blue. I was heartbroken. I hid the yarn at the bottom of my stash for nearly 6 months. It was so pretty that I couldn't throw it away, but I didn't want to use it for fear it would lose all its color as soon as I washed it.

Luckily, there is a great LYS, Grandma's Spinning Wheel, on our side of town. Vicky, the owner, talked me through the process of how to save my yarn. I set to work as soon as I got home.

My yarn was already wound into a ball, so the first step was to skein it to maximize the surface area of the yarn. I'm not a dyer, so I don't have a fancy tool to do this. Instead, I wrapped the yarn around the back of a dining room chair.

When I was done I used a couple thick pieces of string to secure both yarn tails and hold the skein together.

You'll notice, my fingers were already turning blue after handling the yarn for just a few minutes.

My skein looked pretty good.
Next I soaked the yarn in a mixture of very hot (almost boiling) water and white vinegar. I was a little worried when I lifted the yarn out because the water was still crystal clear.

After soaking the skein in a mixture of nearly boiling water and vinegar, I let the water cool, then rinsed the yarn with cool water. I squeezed out most of the water, but rolled the yarn in a towel to get out a little more. After that, the skein sat overnight on my drying rack. Finally it was ready to be re-caked.

And finally the true test. I knit up a swatch and this time my fingers weren't blue. Now I can happily knit up my next favorite pair of socks.