Category Archives: Dyeing

Sock Summit Finds

I’m done.

I came away from the Sock Summit with a respectable but not an extravagant haul. Some of my favorite finds were two skeins of yarn from “Creatively Dyed Yarns.”  I apologize for the graininess of the photos, I will try to take photos in daylight soon and post them here.  I’ve become a big fan of the speckled dye job. I was just imagining really pretty socks coming from both of these yarns, but there’s over 500 yards of fiber so either skein can become just about anything including a crocheted scarf.

Creatively Dyed Yarns in Luxury & Calypso

Creatively Dyed Yarns in Luxury & Calypso

Check out the character of the dye/coloring

Check out the "character" of the dye/coloring

Sorry he looks sort of sad here trapped in a plastic bag, but I found the most adorable pattern for a “bendy” bunny.  I actually did a better job photographing his monkey friend. The title of the pattern is actually called “Harry Rabbit.” He looked very alive in a muppet-like way… staring at me from inside the bad. Okay, that’s kindof creepy, but I couldn’t resist. The pattern comes fromCiD Hancom Designs with two pink eyes, bendable wires for arms and legs and a square of pink felt. I purchased this from the  “The Fold’s” booth.  I almost bought the monkey, but stopped myself when I realized I’d never have the time to make him.

I also purchased some tussah silk & dyed pre-drafted roving both for spinning, and two sets of circular square needles (no that’s not an Oxymoron. They’re from Kollage. I plan to knit with them and hopefully write a brief review soon.

Harry Rabbit

Harry Rabbit

Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee

I didn’t purchase these from the Sock Summit but instead at the Naked Sheep during their “Sock Summit” promotion. During the entire Sock Summit weekend if you mention the code word “Sock Summit” you get 15% your entire purchase. I was able to purchase the slate gray and plum colored colorways. Bob and Meghan kindly named the plum or mauve after me (blushing). I’d actually begged Meghan to make a mauvish color which has become one of my favorite shades. I’m sorry I’ve been Anglicised and I call it “Mohhhh-ve” instead of “Mahhhh-ve.” 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Amigurumi, Craft, Dye, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Knit, Knitting, Sock Summit, Socks

Scratch that… no, unravel it

In the previous post I mentioned that I would dye machine knit blanks of my cotton yarn, assuming that I would knit all of these up in the handy knitting machine I bought for making hats and things.  I tried making a long blank with three 109 yard skeins of cotton and discovered that this knitting machine abhors working with cotton. After picking up slipped stitches with a crochet hook over 2 dozen times, I said enough!

So I unraveled the long ugly tubey thing I spent the entire afternoon making and unwound it around two wooden chairs set about 12 feet apart.  I did this with two more skeins until I got bored and moved on to something else. 13 more skeins to go… sigh.  It occured to me that I could play something cheery and tongue in cheek as I walked around the chairs to wind the yarn. Maybe… some Lord Kitchener.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqWLwZIncec]

Knitting has taught me the value of endless patience. Dyeing seems to be gifting me with the lesson of careful preparation and planning.  Several months ago, if you asked me if I would go to this length to prepare fiber to knit a sweater, I’d flatly say… no.  I couldn’t see past my love of knitting.

A year later, and now I’m finding myself branching into other fiber related crafts. I actually want to spend more time investigating crochet in depth and improve my skill at shaping and building structures in crochet.  I spend a great deal of time making garments, maybe I need to investigate knitting and crocheting other objects including un-utilitarian ones.

It’s a little late, but here’s my short reflection/inventory of things learned and things I’d like to learn this year.

A few things I tried last year:

  • Knitting with metal and beads – fun but it hurts.
  • Spinning – I used a drop spindle to make my first single ply yarn. I think I’m going to continue investigating
  • Dyeing – I… am addicted. Sad when you get to the point where you’re looking through your stash for lightly colored or white yarns just to satisfy your need for a dyeing fix.

Things I still need to do or want to try:

  • Gansey knitting – I still need to finish my Lochniver sweater
  • Steeking
  • Crocheting a small blouse in a simple lace stitch
  • Color work/Fair Isle knitting
  • Design and knit a real Aran sweater (with cables)
  • Start a podcast- this is a difficult one for me. I often think that I haven’t started this yet becuase I get my “I need to talk about knitting/crafting” fix with the wonderful group over at my knit night at the Naked Sheep Knit Shop.

3 Comments

Filed under About Me, Challenge, Community, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Dye, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Fair Isle, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Portland Knitters, Reflection, Yarn

Experiment #3: Planning a colorway

Dyeing cotton fibers is such a pain. Not only do I want to make sure that the pain is worth it, I want to make sure I get it right the first time.  Not to mention, I’ll be using my precious Artfibers cotton (Rush), and I really don’t want to over-dye any of this stuff.

I’ve decided to knit up the skeins of blank cotton yarn I have with a knitting machine and then paint these long blanks by hand using a color combo of four (see below).

(clock wise from the top left) Black Cherry, Brazilnut, Dusty Rose, and Raspberry

Four colors of Dharma Fiber Reactive Procion Dye: (clock wise from the top left) Black Cherry, Brazilnut, Dusty Rose, and Raspberry

This may sound a bit geeky, and I’m sure there’s a better way to do this, but I used a graphics program to ‘plan’ out the color on the blanks.  I think I’ll actually dye a test blank in leftover dyes that I’m not crazy about using one of the patterns below. Pattern 1 will result in a graduated dye dispersal. Pattern 2 is a recipe for plain striping. Pattern three will create broad strips of color with blends of the dye colors in criss-cross patterns dispersed throughout the fabric.

I want to know what the color patterns will be like in a large panel of stockinette knitting (say for a sweater).  If only my math and programming skills were sharper, I could actually create a program that would help me estimate the staggering of the pattern based on the length and width of the knitting and the stitch gauge. Actually, I could probably do it if I had the time, but for now, I’m just going to have to rely on both my imagination and powers of estimation.

Pattern 1

Pattern 1

Pattern 2

Pattern 2

Pattern 3

Pattern 3

Leave a comment

Filed under Colors, Colorwork, Cotton, Creativity, Dye, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Knit, Knitting, Math, Project, Stockinette, Sweater, Techniques, Yarn

Dyeing in History

This is one of my favorite shows… The Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson aka. I-have-a-cunning-plan S. Baldrick from the Blackadder series. I’m sharing the few bits from this show that describe old and ancient dyeing techniques.

Purple makers using rotten shellfish to make ‘royal purple.’

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZw3Z2ms9-8]


Dyeing blue with Wode

Part I (Part about wode dyeing is about  5 1/2 minutes in. There is an interesting bit on pin-making at the beginning of this video)

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xznkMDBG1S8]

Part II

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftH9k6htQPI]


Cleaning  and fulling wool cloth with… yes… Pee. The part about the fulling is actually 3 1/2 minutes into the first video. It’s continued in the second.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwTn2e73QfQ]

Part II

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8A7dC7xUwU]

Leave a comment

Filed under Colors, Dye, Dyeing, Fibers, History

Needed some color to brighten up my winter

Hopefully we’ve seen the last of the snow for now. Hopefully.

I meant to post more photos from the dye work I did in December. I finally got around to snapping pictures of the more of the skeins of yarn I dyed.  Here they are for your viewing pleasure.

Northwest Woods (probably for a pair of socks for my brother Ted)

Autumn Fire

Amazon Parrot

Note, I’ve discovered the fine art of squeezing the dye and painting the right amounts of yarn.  I was happy with all my colourways except for one. I didn’t include it here, it was supposed to emulate the colors in a peacock feather, but i think I should have used more dark green. I need to overdye this yarn or repaint it.

Sample of the Blouson from Interweave Knits

I also dyed a good deal of peruvian cotton (about 17 skeins) for the 1824 Blouson pattern.  Let me tell you, dying cotton (and I assume other plant fibers) is a royal pain in the ass.  It wasn’t so much the pre-washing of the fibers in a solution of synthropol then soaking them in a soda ash solution, or dissolving the large amounts of salt into the dye water before adding the urea solution and dye. I REALLY REALLY hated the process of washing out the excess dye and other chemical badness in the yarn after the dyeing was over. Ick. I could never truly felt  that I got it ALL  out. On top of that I’m not sure I want to make a simple stockinette stitch pattern like the Blouson… since dyeing this yarn was such a labor intensive process. Two or three skeins of the yarn are a bit darker than I expected. I think I may have soaked them in too much soda ash solution, but I don’t mind the color imperfection. I think it adds more appeal and a hand-fashioned look to the final product.

Not to mention the warning on the package of the dye said something like… the state of California warns that this produce may cause cancer!!!!

I have decided that I will dye up a few more batches of cotton yarn, just enough to use up the dyes I purchased and from now own I’ll only dye wools, animal fibers and nylon. Or I’ll use Kool-aid and other foodbased dyes.  I have a sweater’s worth of Artfibers Rush I need to dye and some skeins of mercerized cotton. Maybe I should invite some friends over… “Hey, share the cancer!”

Luna dyed with Seafoam & Grey Mist (formerly "Sunlight" yellow)

4 Comments

Filed under Colors, Colorwork, Cotton, Craft, Creativity, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Eco, Fibers, Fun Stuff, Knit, Knitting, Socks, Stockinette, Techniques, Wool, Yarn