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How to Dye a Gradient Yarn using a Spray Bottle

How to Dye a Gradient Yarn Using a Spray Bottle - tutorial from FreshStitches and Shiny Happy World

Remember when I told you how to dye a gradient yarn with a sock blank? Well, today I’m going to go a step further and show you how to get an even more gentle gradient using a *spray bottle.

When I made this skein of yarn, I was feeling Easter-y, so I picked yellow, blue and pink:

wilton dye for dyeing yarn

Click this post to see what the Wilton Icing Colors look like on yarn.

wilton colors 2

Okay, now here’s the technique: I rolled out my sock blank and dunked each end and the center in one color, leaving a lot of white space in between. See?

dyeing a gradient yarn tutorial

Ignore my ugly cooking sheet in the background. Actually, don’t ignore it (it’s crucial for keeping your counters clean in this project!)… just pretend it’s prettier!

Now, load up your spray bottle with the dye.

spray bottle 4

You want to use the spray bottle to direct your dye exactly where you want it. With this blue, I’m going to spray more towards the blue dyed portion of the yarn, and then spritz less to blend it into the yellow.

how to dye a gradient yarn

Now wash your bottle really well and repeat with the other two colors. You’ll get a very blended effect!

See how the colors blend? Because the dye is wet when you’re spraying, the blue mixes with the yellow and makes green… it’s an effect that’s hard to get if you’re just dipping the blank in dye.

dyeing a gradient yarn

I let it dry, and then wound it on a niddy noddy. Here’s the hank:

skein of yarn dyed by FreshStitches

The gradient-ness doesn’t show up too well in a hank. But no worries, I’ll show you what I’m knitting. Here’s a little shawl I’m working on:

shawl knit and dyed by FreshStitches

Isn’t the gradient fantastic? I can’t wait to wear this one!


  1. Wendy Willingham SAYS...

    ok, I’m a knitting newbie-never heard of a sock blank. I looked at it on KnitPicks. So basically, after dying and unraveling and knitting up it will more or less on small needles equal the sq inches of the original blank size of 33″ X 9″? so if you bought one and dyed it you maybe could make one scarf. Is that correct? thanks.

    • Yup, that’s about right! I’m not sure what needle size they use to knit it, but you’ll get approximately that size 🙂

  2. Linda Grant SAYS...

    I live in the UK, never heard of sock blanks here but the idea sounds great, would love to give it a try

  3. Amy SAYS...

    Hi Stacy,

    When you dye your yarn (Kool-aid or icing dye), do you set the colors? Do you have trouble with the colors running?

    • The Kool Aid has acid in it, which sets the colors. I’ve never had trouble with it running (since the usual solution is to add vinegar, which is an acid).
      When I use the icing dye, I add vinegar (check out the post I reference on dyeing with icing), which sets the color.

  4. Missyarnbird SAYS...

    What shawl are you knitting?

    • It’s Pagona by Stephen West. One of my go-tos 🙂

  5. Cute rainbow and interesting spray bottle technique. Now I’m in the mood to dye up some rainbows!