More Experiments with Bases

Eat, Knit and Dye

Yet again, this is a total experiment. I have no idea if this going to work. I’m okay with that! As you may recall, I wrote a post previously where I compared a natural and silver base with the same dye colors to see how the two differed. This time I gave it a go with different bases. 

For this week, I am using HiKoo® Sueño in 1100 Natural and 1193 Buttercream. This yarn is an 80% Superwash Merino Wool and 20% Viscose from Bamboo blend and has excellent wearability. I am also using 1/8 tsp of Jacquard Acid Dyes mixed in jars with 1 tsp of citric acid per jar. I used Jacquard Bright Yellow, a green mixture (equal mix of Kelly Green, Chartreuse, and Spruce), and Turquoise.

There isn’t a huge difference between these two colors. I am worried that it won’t make much of a difference. But the only way to find out is to try! I tied some bindings through the yarn to keep it from tangling and added a shower ring. I have to say; these shower rings are awesome. They really help with tangling and give you something to grab onto to move the yarn around without burning your fingers. Unless you like burning your fingers. But really, that’s your choice. I won’t judge!

I soaked the yarn in some water and Synthrapol for 30 minutes before starting the dyeing process.

I went shopping at my local thrift store and found another cool pot. It's long and skinny and just perfect for putting two skeins of yarn in it. The checkout lady informed me it’s a fish steamer (and was totally excited when she found out it still had the inside grate.) Then she looked at me like I was nuts when I told her it was for dyeing yarn. Because I am used to getting this look, I was unfazed and went home with my new trophy.

I laid out the two skeins in the pot and filled it with enough water that the yarn was halfway submerged. This keeps the yarn from scorching and from there being too much water as I add the dye. The pot is laid across two burners, and the temperature brought to just before simmering.

Using a syringe, the dye was added with yellow on the top, transitioning to green and then to turquoise. Then I left the yarn alone for 10 minutes and let the dye exhaust.

Using the handy dandy shower rings, the yarn was flipped over, and the dye reapplied to the other side, which didn’t have much dye on it.

When the yarn was wet, I couldn’t really see a difference, but I have found that wet yarn isn’t always the best indicator of results, so I washed it and hung it up to dry.

So, did the base make a difference? Yes!

On the Natural, the Turquoise is brighter and a true turquoise. On the Butter Cream, it is definitely more teal. The green in the Natural is much more middle of the road green while on the Butter Cream it is much brighter. And the Bright Yellow on the Natural is more mellow while on the Butter Cream it’s a darker warm yellow, very much like sunflower yellow. Hopefully, the colors come through on your monitor! It’s not a huge difference in pictures, but it is in person.

Left Image: (Butter Cream is on the left and Natural on the Right)
Bottom Image: (Natural on the Top, Butter Cream on the Bottom)

Stay tuned for next week where I check out what happens with a single skein in the fish pot!

Ready to make your unique colorway? Hop on over to Makers' Mercantile® and pick up your undyed yarn and supplies. We can’t wait to see what you make, so tag us on social media with #makersmercantile!

About Tara
Tara Warburton is the former graphic designer for Makers' Mercantile® and a fine artist. She specializes in watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. She lives with her two cats, who are not helpful when knitting.

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy

Inspire Future Makers with Reading + Crochet

Crochet is magical. One simple process of pulling loops through each other makes practically infinite types of fabric. We are always on the hunt for products to engage children, and the book collection authored by Katrin Pabst doesn’t disappoint.  In late 2017, she presented the books at the BuchBerlin book fair in Germany. It’s a unique event celebrating both children’s and handicraft books.

What’s even more fun about her books is that you can use crochet to create the title heroes! Each book has instructions included… and since we carry these books in our shop, you don’t have to go to Germany to get them Check out the stories of Owlie and Owlino and also of Horsty, the little eagle kid.

Perhaps through crochet and reading you’ll inspire the next generation of makers!

Lillian Finger Painting

Eat, Knit and Dye

Remember when I posted about the Dye Party? One of the people there, Rachael, did this cool finger painting method and I was itching to try it out. It’s a more messy and random method, and sometimes its fun to not be precise.

For this experiment, I used Lillian, a single ply of 100% Mulberry Silk. I really enjoy dyeing silk, because of the beautiful luster it gives.

Lillian was soaked in water for 30 minutes while I prepped my materials. I mixed up two bowls of Jacquard Acid Dyes in Hot Fuchsia and Turquoise (Yeesh, I didn’t realize how often I use this color combo. I’ll remember to branch out!). I added 1/16 tsp of dye powder and 1 tsp of citric acid in each bowl.

Plastic wrap was laid down on the counter and the yarn placed on top of it. Using gloved hands, I put my fingers into a bowl of dye.

And I started dabbing dye onto the yarn in random splotches. Just keep dipping into the dye and getting some more.

I did the same thing with the turquoise dye.

And over and over and over and over. I started getting to the point I was scooping water in my hands and drizzling it over the yarn. I also gently squeezed the yarn to make sure the dye was getting everywhere.

Finally, the yarn was fairly saturated. This isn't a fast process, but it gives it a watercolor feel.

Using the plastic, the yarn was wrapped into a cinnamon roll and microwaved for 2 minutes and then 2 more minutes. I let it cool to room temperature, rinsed it and hung it up to dry.

It’s a beautiful softly variegated yarn. I like how it turned out. It would pair nicely with Zitron Traum Seide, don’t you think?

Stay tuned for next week where I test out another base color!

Ready to make your unique colorway? Hop on over to Makers' Mercantile® and pick up your undyed yarn and supplies. We can’t wait to see what you make, so tag us on social media with #makersmercantile!

About Tara
Tara Warburton is the former graphic designer for Makers' Mercantile® and a fine artist. She specializes in watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. She lives with her two cats, who are not helpful when knitting.

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy

Fabienne Crazy Quilt Gradient

Eat, Knit and Dye

As I have mentioned before, I always have some left-over dye from various projects. Not wanting to waste the dye or add extra chemicals to the water, I keep those dyes in jars and bottles. I have one for every color, and when I have leftover pink dye, it goes into the pink jar just waiting to be used. And that’s what’s happening here.

For today’s experiment, I am using Fabienne, a beautiful blend of 75% SW Wool, 15% Silk, and 10% Linen. I'm certain the linen won't dye, so it will give it an interesting texture.

I created a long blank using the addi Express knitting machine. For more information on that process, check out the Whidbey Forest Gradient. This blank is extremely long and the knitting is rather loose, so I didn’t have to worry about yarn resists.

My counter was completely covered in plastic wrap and the blank laid out in a long snake. I pulled out my jars of pink, red, orange, and purple. All the dyes are Jacquard Acid Dyes, and since they are leftover, who knows what the dye mix is. I do know there is already citric acid in the jars.


And then I just went to town in a messy explosion of color! I used a syringe to suck up random amounts of dye from the jars and let the colors mix in the syringe. I applied the dye in different sections of approximately 2 feet. With my gloved hands, I massaged the yarn to make sure the dye was all penetrating.

Once the dye was applied, I squished the areas where the colors met to make sure they bleed together nicely. And I admired my crazy quilt of colors.

To heat set the yarn, I started rolling the yarn into the plastic, keeping the snake zig-zag pretty much in place. Once that was accomplished, the plastic was wrapped into a cinnamon roll. It was popped into the microwave for 2 minutes, and then another two minutes. The yarn was then allowed to cool to room temperature.

I have noticed with microwaving, I always have unexhausted dye left in the yarn. I am unsure if it is because I have too much dye or I haven’t microwaved for long enough time. I don’t want to burn the yarn or fuse it to melted plastic, so I am hesitant to microwave it for longer. 

So, to make sure there isn’t going to be an absurd amount of dye coming loose once this is knitted up, I filled my sink with warm water and Synthrapol and watched all the excess dye come loose.

 In my effort to make sure no dye goes down the drain, I tossed in a hank of undyed yarn and in no time, the water was clear. 

I have created a fun and quirky gradient! I like how the linen bits didn’t dye and remained white. It gives this dye job a little bit more character!

Stay tuned for next week where I do some finger painting!

Ready to make your unique colorway? Hop on over to Makers' Mercantile® and pick up your undyed yarn and supplies. We can’t wait to see what you make, so tag us on social media with #makersmercantile!

About Tara
Tara Warburton is the former graphic designer for Makers' Mercantile® and a fine artist. She specializes in watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. She lives with her two cats, who are not helpful when knitting.

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy

Kinky Ring of Fire

Eat, Knit and Dye

I’m going to be honest. I had no plan for this. I just let my whims take me where it wanted to go. After all, it’s just yarn, and if I make a disaster, that’s okay. It can always be overdyed. Plus, it gives me another chance to work with Kinky Yarn

I have to say, I’m obsessed with this yarn. I love the coil that it comes in, it feels so substantial. And at 200 grams of 100% Superwash Wool, it’s no wonder why. And it looks so cool when knitted or crocheted up. Seriously, you have got to check out this yarn!

First, I filled up a bowl of water, and let the Kinky coil sit in it for 24 hours. I wanted to make sure it was as saturated as possible. It’s kind of amazing how much air is in the fibers, so I pressed down on it several times to make sure all the air bubbles had escaped.

After 24 hours, I set up a pot with some water and 1/8 tsp of Jacquard Fire Red Acid Dye, and no acid. Since acid and heat is what makes the dye set, I was curious to see how it would affect the color absorption. Again, I let the pot sit for 24 hours. Plenty of time to get supersaturated, and besides, it was bedtime.

While the yarn marinated, I thought about what to do next. For some reason, my 6th grade science fair popped into my mind. One of my classmates did a project on Capillary Action, which is where water absorbs upwards. So hey, I learned something and was able to use it!

Back to the yarn! I added 1 tbsp of citric acid to the water and brought the water up to near simmering. The dye didn’t exhaust fully, so I soaked up the rest of it with an extra hank of random yarn and let the Kinky cool to room temperature.

I rooted around in my dye collection and brought out some jars of left-over dye that would be perfect for this experiment. First, I filled up the bottom centimeter of the pan with leftover highly concentrated blue dye. The Kinky was rewrapped into a very loose coil and placed on top of the blue dye. I let the yarn sit for a few hours. Again, the dye didn’t exhaust, but I poured the leftover back into the jar. 

I felt the yarn might be a little plain, so I refilled the bottom of the pan with a centimeter of leftover highly concentrated orange dye. I flipped the coil over and let the other edge sit in the orange mixture for a few more hours.

Finally, I rinsed out the excess dye. The coil was placed in some fresh water and a 1 tbsp of citric acid and brought to just below simmering. No dye came floating out and this ensured that everything was heat set. The coil was then set out to dry.

I have to admit; the outside doesn’t look all that exciting. Although I think Jacquard Fire Red is the most perfect red there is, the yarn lacked the color punch I crave.

That is until I saw inside! The Capillary Action worked, and the orange and blue absorbed in to create a delightful color explosion. Unfortunately, this only happened on the yarn that was on the outside of the wrapped coil, but I think if I wrapped it looser next time, I would get it all the way through.

This was a fun experiment, and I did learn some things through it. I still love working with Kinky Yarn and look forward to dyeing it again in the future! Just as a reminder, if you want the Kinky Yarn to retain its texture, don’t cake it until you are ready to use it. I winded it into a cake so you could see what it looks like.

Stay tuned for next week for a Crazy Quilt Gradient!

Ready to make your unique colorway? Hop on over to Makers' Mercantile® and pick up your undyed yarn and supplies. We can’t wait to see what you make, so tag us on social media with #makersmercantile!

About Tara
Tara Warburton is the former graphic designer for Makers' Mercantile® and a fine artist. She specializes in watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. She lives with her two cats, who are not helpful when knitting.

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy

Boots Halloween

Eat, Knit and Dye

It’s October and you know what that means? Halloween! The stores are already filled with candy and thrift stores have piles and piles of costumes. In honor of the spooky holiday, I’ve dyed up some Halloween sock yarn.

I’m using color 8899 of Schoppel-Wolle Boots, a blend of 44% Superwash Wool, 42% Cotton, and 14% Nylon. I thought the black marl of the cotton threads would be particularly appropriate for Halloween. It’s pretty much the opposite of Shiloh which had the white marl from a few weeks ago.

In sticking with my spooky theme, I decided to go with a three-color mix of purple, green and orange. Because these are secondary colors (as opposed to primary colors) I was extremely concerned that if the dye colors overlapped, it would create a gross brown color which certainly would not go with my theme.

Using little glass jars, I mixed some water, ½ tsp of citric acid and 1/16 tsp of Jacquard Acid Dyes. My recipes are:
•  1/16 tsp Jacquard Violet + a dash of Hot Fuchsia
•  1/16 tsp of Jacquard Pumpkin Orange + dash of Sun Yellow
•  1/16 tsp of Jacquard Chartreuse + dash of Kelly Green
I added the dashes of other colors to help brighten things up just a tiny bit.

The yarn was laid out in a triangle. Each leg of the triangle is going to get dyed a solid color. Using a syringe, I applied the color and worked it through with my fingers gently. I left the very corners of the yarn bare. I repeated this process for each leg.

At this point, I very slowly added color to the triangle tips and worked it in with my fingers until the dye colors just barely touched. So far, so good! No mud!

Next came wrapping the cinnamon bun so it could go in the microwave. This part scared me the most. I didn’t want the yarn colors touching and blending into a disaster of color. First, I laid another piece of plastic wrap on top of all the yarn. And I pressed it down around, creating a weak seal between the colors. The plastic wrap was rolled starting with the orange section. I kept the triangle shape as I rolled up everything. It created a wonky cinnamon roll, but all the colors were in their sections.

The yarn was microwaved for 2 minutes, and then another 2 minutes. The dye wasn’t exhausted, but I didn’t want to risk colors running, so I let it cool to room temperature and rinsed it out thoroughly.

And guess what? My fears were totally unfounded. There isn’t any mud and it’s a beautiful Halloween yarn. The color blends are quite pretty. I’m going to call this a success!

Stay tuned for next week for another Kinky experiment.

Ready to make your unique colorway? Hop on over to Makers' Mercantile® and pick up your undyed yarn and supplies. We can’t wait to see what you make, so tag us on social media with #makersmercantile!

About Tara
Tara Warburton is the former graphic designer for Makers' Mercantile® and a fine artist. She specializes in watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. She lives with her two cats, who are not helpful when knitting.

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy