Earlier this week, I turned these:
Into this:

The kids and I went to the farm market on Monday for berries. Berry season is almost over here, so sometimes you can get lots of strawberries or blueberries for next to nothing. Well, that wasn’t the case on Monday – they were completely sold out. Instead, they had a ton of cherries. I don’t usually buy cherries, but for $2 I figured I should just go for it. So into the cart they went.

My 2 year old immediately asked for some when we got home, so I got to washing, de-stemming and de-seeding them. I made an absolute mess all over the cutting board (and counter), but the juice was this stunning red-pink color. Seriously beautiful. Then it hit me – I should dye some yarn this color. It would make a great sweater for my baby girl, or a hat, or socks, or whatever – I just really love pinks and reds.

So I used the cherries to dye some yarn I had sitting around. I used Knit Picks Bare in fingering weight. I soaked the yarn in lukewarm water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar for about an hour. While that was going, I simmered the cherries in about 3 inches of water until they started to explode. I mashed them with a potato masher to get the all juice out, and kept them simmering for about 45 minutes to an hour. After the yarn’s quick swim in the vinegar bath, I gave it a rinse and a quick squeeze to get the excess water out, then added it to the dye bath.

insta dyebath
I use my crockpot for dyeing yarn, since everything I used was food safe. It heats up nicely, is big enough, and contains the mess well. Once the cherries were finished simmering, I strained the juice into the crockpot and added water. I filled it until there was just enough room for the yarn (about 2 inches from the top). I turned it on to high and gently added the yarn. I gave it a very quick stir to make sure it wasn’t bunched up, then covered it and walked away.

I checked on it every 30-45 minutes, waiting for the dye bath to exhaust. When the water was finally clear, the yarn was this dusty pink color. Beautiful, but not at all what I had imagined it would be when I saw the cherry juice that morning. So I added a half a packet of cherry Koolaid in hopes that would get me closer to the color I wanted. It did. It took another few hours for the dye bath to exhaust fully. I turned the crockpot off and let the yarn cool in the dye bath. Once it was cool, I gave it a rinse in lukewarm water, followed by a soak in some Euclan (this isn’t necessary, but I didn’t want it to smell like cherry Koolaid). Another quick rinse and squeeze, and it was ready to be laid out to dry. It took about 24 hours to completely dry, but it was totally worth the wait!

finished 2
The spots that look white are really a very pale pink. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my Cheery Cherry yarn (say that 3 times fast…)!

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