How to Prevent Yarn Colour Runs or Bleeding?

Well, I’ve just had my first (noticeable) yarn bleed experience! I had bought new yarn as blogs suggested that my stash yarn would run and the subsequent blue and white swatch washed up with no problems.
I admire multicoloured patterns /projects (e.g. Westknits bright colours) but see little mention of yarn running problems in the Ravelry notes.

So, what do others do?! Do you all prewash darker colours before knitting? Do you do anything special when blocking (e.g. Vinegar, colour catchers, synthrapol)?

I have a list of projects and brightly coloured yarns in a queue that now causes me anxiety!!

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I have not yet had a yarn color bleed on me, but I did just prewash my first skeins. The dyer (Miss Babs) suggested prewashing dark skeins, and mine are black, so I followed her advice. I tied each skein in four places, then let them sit in Eucalan and cool water for 15-20 minutes. Quite a bit of color came off the skeins, so I was glad I did the prewashing.

I hung them to dry and have since wound 2 of 3 balls. I’m knitting them with one skein of colorful yarn for contrast, and so far, everything looks good.

When I get to it, my plan is to do my usual Eucalan bath for the blocking. One of my favorite dyers, Neighborhood Fiber Co, recommends that woolwash over others for preserving color.

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thanks! I think I’ll be doing a lot of prewashing from now on!

Even with Babs stuff, and other highly contrasting yarns, like Babs’ Mad Hatter and the Zombie lines, etc., Malabrigo’s Ravelry Red, Cyan, Anniversario, etc, and just about any other intensely dyed yarn, especially if you are using a contrasting color such as white, beige or light grey, I would highly suggest that anyone, even if you prewash, add either some vinegar or (my preference) a commercial dye setting product to your “bath” water. It’s so much better to be safe than sorry!

If you like, I can show you the pictures of how I learned my lesson, but they’re not very pretty. Now I use a product from Dharma (I just went to my closet and the label has come off - but you conveniently add a lid full per gallon of water, room temperature) and I haven’t had a problem since. And I adore the wild yarns!


Thank you! I’ll look up dharma!

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