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To dye a yarn you only need a few basic utensils and ingredients. It is a fun and cost effective way to give your woollens a colour change.

First, wash the yarn in a sink or other suitably sized container. Use a mixture of hot water and liquid detergent that you would use for washing up. When the yarn is fully saturated, place it in a large stainless steel pot for 30 minutes, and then squeeze any excess moisture out of it and take it out of the pan.

Next, remove the excess liquid from the pan. Then add some alum mordant to the pan. You will need about nine grams per two ounces of yarn. The mordant is a substance that enables a dye to become fixed in the yarn. You will also need to add a cup of water to the pan. Heat the mixture gently, stirring until the mordant has dissolved. Then add four pints of water, and stir well.

Reintroduce the yarn to the saucepan. Slowly bring to simmering point, and simmer for an hour and fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and allow the yarn to cool in the pot. Then remove it, squeeze out the excess water, return to the sink, and rinse in warm water again. Squeeze out again.

Empty the pot again, then add eight pints of water and the dye. The amount of dye you add should be equal in weight to the wool. Put the yarn in the pot making sure it is covered in water. Slowly bring to simmering point and simmer for 15-30 minutes, depending on how dark you want the final colour to be. Allow the wool to cool before removing.

Finally, hang the yarn up to dry, preferably indoors away from the sunlight. You now have coloured wool which you can use for knitting or crocheting.