Monday, May 23, 2016

In Love with Dyeing Yarn

So I've been fascinated with ombre yarns (and other long color stripe yarns) for a while. I like a self-striping yarn with long color changes. One of the best examples of this is the great yarn from Friea Fine Hand Paints. If you don't like wool, and want something just as awesome, I recommend you check out the colorful cotton from Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber. I did more than a little searching on the interwebz and watched hours of videos on YouTube. Some of my favorites are from ChemKnits. All that homework brought me to the conclusion that no one was going to hand me the secret to life, the universe, and everything. I was going to have to make it up as I went along.
Ultimately, I bought some tools and got to work. I decided I would try to figure out my technique by buying one of these. This is the Addi-Express Kingsize knitting machine.
I bought mine through Amazon. It arrived as quickly as the rest of the things that come from Amazon. I couldn't wait for the bare yarn I ordered but I did have some yarn that was a color I had no interest in using. Sounded like as good a place to start as any other. This yarn is a washable merino/nylon blend.
I knit all 150 grams of it into one long tube. This took about 45 minutes. At least 10 of those minutes were spent learning a few things about how the machine worked and coming to the conclusion that a dropped stitch is not a tragedy.
One of the hours and hours of YouTube I watched said I could use Wilton Icing Color as a dye for yarn. I am a super fan of non-toxic methods of dyeing yarn. Why? because I hate having to have two sets of tools when it comes to dyeing. If you use 100% food-safe dyeing you can still cook dinner with that pot and stir it with that spoon.
I covered my dining room table with a vinyl cover and laid out the plastic wrap. I would rather be doing this outside, but it was a yucky, rainy day.
I tried to split the tube into thirds, but I failed at marking them effectively. I dip-dyed the yarn with the black on one end and the teal on the other. It is more than 1/2 black, but nowhere near the 2/3 I was shooting for. I'll mark the next tube more carefully.
I pulled the tube to see how the color was distributed. I thought it looked pretty good. It turned out more green than teal. I'm not sure if that is because the yarn started out green, or if the vinegar I used to set the dye changed the chemistry of the color. Either is possible. Ultimately, I like this green much more than I liked the green I started with.
I rolled it all up in plastic wrap and heated it in the microwave to set the colors. A couple minutes (more than a couple) in the microwave and some time for it to sit and think about the colors it wanted to become.
Some time drying and it was ready to be unraveled and made back into a hank of yarn. Too bad my niddy noddy wasn't here when I got to this step. I set it all aside.

The moral of this story is that if you don't like the color of a yarn in your stash, either give it away or dye it a new color. It will be totally worth it.

This was an experiment and I learned so much. I will definitely be doing this again.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Knitting Update: Shawls Everywhere

I think it is time to do a little review of some of my finished shawls.
First up is my fully blocked Udaberri. This is from the Udaberri MKAL. I enjoyed learning a new way to shape the knit. The knit edging was also a great new technique.
Next is my finished Nymphadilea.  
This was another great knit.
Finally is this wonderfully simple and wonderfully bright Wingspan.
This one was a quick knit. If you have never tried one, I highly recommend you check out the pattern.

Available on Ravelry:

Do you have a favorite shawl pattern?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sewing Up a Knitting Project Bag

Do you remember this fun fabric I picked up a while ago at a quilt show? Well, I decided it was time to do a little selfish sewing.
I used Noodle-head's Open Wide Pouch pattern for this one. (This is a free tutorial found on the site linked.)
I broke my three knitting projects rule with this project. I now have four projects on the go at a time. I'm not going to worry too much about it, though. This is just socks. Socks don't count, right?
And how awesome is this fabric! I can knit and show my Marvel fan status.

Monday, May 16, 2016

In the Mail Monday: Embroidered Love

After I returned from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, I found the most wonderful package from a friend.
Inside were some cookies (none for you) and this delightful package. I love the hand written note almost as much as the beautiful hand embroidery.
Look at this beauty! The background fabric is re-purposed fabric from a hand-dyed skirt. That makes it even more awesome in my book! Thank you Melissa for this treasure! Now I just have to figure out how to finish it. Because she knows me. She gets my creative drive. I think this little darling will become a wall hanging. But I'm not going to rush it. She's hung on my design wall, to sing her siren song every time I glimpse her shiny scales.

Design is Aquarius - Mermaid by Urban Threads. The hand embroidery design is a very affordable $1.00.