I bought a hank of beautiful hand dyed yarn for knitting a lace scarf about a year ago. I am just getting around to knitting it. The yarn is a dark color and rubs off slightly on my fingers when I knit it. I have now completed the scarf and need to block it, but I thought I should set the color before wearing it. Can anyone help me? I have tried several websites, but cannot find any instructions for setting the dye. I certainly don't want to damage or fade the colors in the yarn.
You could try washing the scarf and adding salt to the water, as salt is used to fix dye when using commercial dyes. Its worth a try anyway, and I was once told to add salt to the wash if a garment is likely to run
Can you contact the vendor to ask the dyer what s/he suggests? It depends on the fiber and the type of dye used. Usually hand-dyed yarn (is it wool? cotton? silk?) just needs more rinsing - IN PLAIN WATER. I.e., you can't exactly "set" the dye, you can only rinse out the excess. It is fairly common to have excess dye in the darker colors. And yes, the extra rinsing will likely fade the color a little. If your scarf is multi-colored, I suggest using a Shout Color-Catcher sheet (buy these in the laundry aids section of the grocery) in the sink to prevent colors from running onto each other.
Heat sets dye. If you can soak the scarf for a while in very hot water, that can help. Downside is that heat can take the sheen off silk or mercerised cotton, and may cause wool to felt if you agitate the wet scarf. You could wet the scarf, wrap it in plastic wrap, and microwave it. Look up microwaving for Kool-Aid dying.
The salt idea has been tossed around for years. I don't know where it originated. But salt in the rinse water makes NO difference. Neither does another common suggestion, vinegar. And vinegar can change the color (usually makes it brighter), which may be good or bad depending on your situation.
Thanks so much for the input. I tried soaking in plain cool water (since it was 100% wool) for about 30 minutes, and agitating it every 5 min or so, and that seems to have worked. I have worn the scarf once since then and it doesnt seem to be rubbing off anymore.