Steam setting your hand dyed yarn is a great, easy way to finish your freshly dyed fiber. Heat setting dyed yarn ensures the dye pigment fully bonds to the wool fibers. Any of the Knomad yarns will steam set beautifully, but today we are using MARSHMALLOW DK which is wonderfully soft and squishy.
Undyed yarn like MARSHMALLOW DK 100% superwash merino wool, or any other Knomad yarn
Steamer rack or basket
Pot with lid
Heat source – like a stovetop or crockpot
Your usual dye setup and supplies
Make sure that if you are working with acid dyes that you wear a respirator and gloves when handling the powders. Additionally, any tools used for dyeing should be reserved only for dyeing as they are no longer food-safe.
Cover the bottom of a large steel stock pot or a crockpot in one inch of water. Place a steaming rack or basket at the bottom. I am using a steaming rack placed inside a crockpot in this example, but any steamer basket and pot combination will work!
Dye your yarn as desired and if needed, carefully drain off any excess liquid. Your yarn should be damp but not dripping. Take your dyed yarn and wrap it thoroughly in plastic wrap so it looks like a colorful yarn burrito. The easiest way to do this is to lay down two longer sheets of plastic wrap on a table so that they overlap on the long edge by about two inches. Place your yarn on top and roll up the yarn inside of the plastic wrap starting on one side. Then wrap the yarn one final time to seal it all up into its little burrito wrapper. Make sure you wear gloves for this step and to protect your table using newspaper or a tablecloth.
Place your bundle of plastic wrap-covered yarn onto the steamer rack or basket. Put the lid on the pot. Turn on the heat to medium/medium-high to create steam. Leave the lid on the entire time your yarn is steaming. Allow the yarn to set for at least 30-45 minutes. After that, turn off the heat and allow the yarn to cool fully.
Once the yarn has cooled completely, remove it from the wrapping and rinse until the water runs clear. Squeeze out any excess water and hang to dry.
Steam setting is a great option if you are creating a colorway that has a really precise application of color. Speckles work well with steam because the yarn is not as damp as when yarn is being kettle dyed so the pigment won’t shift in a dye bath. This creates crisp, clearly defined speckles. It is also a great option for hand painted yarn when you want to prevent the neighboring colors from mixing with each other.
Now that your yarn is dyed, it is ready to be used! Be sure to share your freshly dyed yarn with us on social media by tagging @knomad_yarn. We can’t wait to see what you create!