Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Red and white ombre knit bandana

Using my previously tutorialized gradient dying technique, I made a ball of Lang Bebe superwash wool for an early spring weight bandana.

Bebe is a light fingering weight yarn which is very soft and has a lot of drape when knit in a loose gauge. I used 150 yards for the dyed ball, keeping the remaining 230 yards plain white for rest of the scarf. This time, instead of kool aid, which is surprisingly hard to find around here, I used Wilton food color and vinegar.
The pattern is just a basic triangle.

I used about 400 yards of light fingering weight yarn on size 6 needles, but this pattern will work with any weight or size.
Start out by casting on 3 stitches
Row 1: P1, YO, P1, YO, P1
Row 2: K1 row
Row 3: P1, YO, Purl up to the last stitch, YO, P1
Row 4: K1, YO, Knit up to the last stitch, YO, K1
Row 5: P1, YO, Purl up to the last stitch, YO, P1
Repeat rows 2-5 until you are close to the end of your yarn or are an inch away from your final size.
Work 6 rows of 1 x 1  ribbing then cast off.

The color change happens about halfway up the scarf.

I think it looks nice, but next time I would not want the dyed section to end so high up.
I'm still not sure if I'll keep or wear this. I had kind of planned on giving this to someone but I dropped the iron on it while blocking and made a big yellow iron burn. Very disappointing, but at least it isn't in an obvious place.


  1. I'm new to your blog, but I found it looking at this bandanna. I was thinking - about the iron burn - what if you overdyed it in a yellow? That would cover up or mitigate the burn by a lot, I think. Anyway, it's gorgeous!

  2. I love it as it is! Too bad about the burn. Overdyeing sounds like a good idea.

  3. This is truly epic! I just love ombre (and knitting!) Can't wait to try it out, thanks!!

  4. Is there another yarn that you would recommend for this? It's gorgeous, but the Lang Bebe is kind of hard to find where I am =/

  5. @WanderingLee I can recommend using just about any fingering weight yarn for the basic pattern or something a bit thicker for winter use. If you want to dye your own yarn, make sure to get a natural animal fiber like wool.

    KnitPicks Palette is very similar in weight and can be dyed easily.

    Look for yarns that have about 220 yards per 50 grams.

  6. Really a beautiful scarf! thanks for sharing it as a free pattern, very generous of you.

  7. This is so awesome! I've been wanting to crochet a prayer shawl that is red to white gradient, for the imagery of sins being washed clean. I've been wondering how to do it with similar colored yarns, if I should just use lighter and lighter reds to pinks to ivories to white, but your dying technique is awesome. And seeing your similar idea from red to white gradient is just an amazing effect!

    Have you found that two balls of yarn dyed in the same color have the same appearance, or do they look like they're from a different dye lot?

    I love the effect, but I'm wondering if they dye on one ball would be enough length up the shawl (with tassels as fringe). I'm making a basic rectangular shall, think glorified scarf that covers head and shoulders.

    Basically my question is this: are two balls dyed the same koolaid color unique or similar enough to continue working on the same project without the difference being striking? My thoughts are I would do the gradient yarn up one side of the shawl and do another dyed ball for the tassels so I could have the proper effect I'm going for.

  8. @becka I have not tried to match two balls of yarn yet, So I really don't know how different they would look if they were dyed at the same time. I think that if you wound them with similar tension, then dyed them at the same time in the same pot, they might look similar. they may not be exactly alike, but definitely related in the way most hand painted yarns are not exactly the same.

    Another idea is to wind a your ball from two skeins of yarn, then dye that. The two skeins will be identical when rewound separately, but there may be some other issues that arise. With a bigger ball, the dye may not penetrate as far to create a smooth transition. Someone would have to try it to find out though.

    One alternative is to dip dye your shawl. It will be a smoother, less mottled transition, and you may have more control over the result.
    I hope you

  9. What proportions did you use for the coloring and vinegar? I can't wait to try this, I've got my yarn all ready!

  10. @Becka,
    Maybe you could Dye the two skeins separately using this same technique and crochet half of your shawl with each ball, joining them end to end wither white-to-white or red-to-red. I think it would look great if you did the red at the center of the shawl (I'm guessing the part that goes over the head?) and let the color fade out from top to bottom to go with the imagery you wanted to convey.

  11. @WanderingLee Proportions? I just poured a lot of the cheap white cleaning vinegar in my pot and decided that the more I put, the better.

    Just now, I went looking around the internet for some info and found that you actually need about 1 cup vinegar for 2 gallons of water. That number was You might want to check that though.

    The type of food coloring you use may change the amount of acid you need too. I'm curious to know what yarn you decided to get as well.

  12. That's just what I needed to know, I guess how much vinegar and how much water for a little jar of Wilton coloring. I got overly excited today, though and bought a bottle of Rit Scarlet dye. :o

    I ended up using a skein of Debbie Stoller's Full-o-Sheep yarn that I had left from another project. It's a worsted weight, singly ply, 100% wool. I like how it came out, but I think I rolled my ball too loosely since it's red all the way through. It's still lovely.
    I also used some of the dye I had left to color a small skein of silk-bamboo blend yarn, and a cotton yarn. I'm going to post something about them later on in the hopes to get back to my blog. I'll send you the link! :D

  13. Great scarf! Exactly what I'm looking for right now for spring. I want to use DK silk bamboo. I cast on and am about 15 rows up but the tip is curling. Is my gauge too tight? Probably...

  14. Curling may be a sign that you need to go up a needle size or two. For a DK yarn on something that needs drape, I might use a 9 or 10 needle.

  15. thank you by the way! I forgot to come back and look for an answer since I had to put this down for a bit. I'll try going up needle sizes and see...

  16. So, to be clear, did you cut up your yarn into two separate balls 150yd & 230yd? Or was it once piece where the dye only penetrated about 150 yards of it? And if you made them two balls, how can you be sure the dye doesn't penetrate too far giving you an abrupt change from light-dyed color to solid white?

    Just want to make sure I get it right. I've never done any dying before.


  17. the dye penetrated about 150 yards of the way into a 200 yard ball.

  18. Love your ombre bandana scarf. I am such a slow knitter I was wandering if tis could be done on a knitting machine ( I don't have one but have been thinking about it)

  19. Hi Xandy!

    I saw your project for the Red and White Ombre Knit Bandana and just love that idea. I am the editor of AllFreeKnitting.com and would love to feature your tutorial on my site with full credit to you. I've noticed you have some other great projects on your site, and I would love to link to all of your other free knitting patterns as well. I know my readers would just love them and in return would generate some nice traffic to your site. If you agree and would like us to feature your project and/or other free projects, our readers will simply click the link to your blog to get your full tutorial. It’s really that simple. Your project will look similar to this project already on my site:


    My site is part of Prime Publishing and we publish 19 cooking and crafting web sites. We have over 3.5 million active e-mail subscribers and about 10 million page views per week. You can learn more about us at www.primecp.com.

    Please let me know if you would like to get started.

    Thanks, and look forward to hearing from you!

    Julie DaMario
    Prime Publishing LLC

  20. Why can't I knit the scarf, then dye it by dipping the tip into the vessel of dye to seep up as far as I want. Seems a better way than trying to dye two balls of yarn.
    If you want to dye two skein of yarn why not wind the first one and then continue with the same ball and wind the second skein onto the first ball.

  21. There are two shades of turquoise yarn in my stash that I'm going to try to incorporate into this pattern, starting with two strands of the darker for a few inches, then one strand of each color, and finally two strands of the lighter to end with. Am interested in seeing how this turns out. Thank you for the inspiration.

  22. Hi! :) I think this is really cool, especially dyeing the yarn! I'm doing this as my next project, and I hope you can suggest another yarn brand because the Lang Bebe ones are really hard to find here where I live. I'm hoping to get started on this soon. :D Thank you!

  23. any yarn will work with this pattern, even if it is a different geuge.

    lang bebe is just a light fingering yarn, you can substitute with other fingering yarns, but they should have some drape to them, stiff and hard wearing sock yarns will not drape as well as a softer drapey yarn.

    if you want to do the dye part, make sure your yarn is either wool, silk, or nylon.

    hope that helps


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