January 2020 Knit Along with Franklin Habit

Winter Sapphire: A New Curious Knit-Along with Franklin Habit 

Makers’ Mercantile is pleased to announce the next Curious Knit-Along with Franklin Habit: Winter Sapphire. This simple but fascinating piece was inspired by the unusual construction of a bordered, triangular scarf first published in the 1840s. It’s worked neither from the top down nor from the bottom up–but from tip to tip. And in one piece! But this is no copy from the antique. Franklin has added not only texture–but color, blending two colorways of yarn for added depth. Closely related colorways will shimmer. More radical pairings will positively vibrate. Makers’ Mercantile will provide the perfect yarn–Zitron’s La Vie, a dazzlingly variegated blend of extrafine Merino, silk, and Tencel. It drapes and drapes and drapes; and when knit on the bias, as in the Winter Sapphire, it drapes even more. It’s soft enough to warm and comfort even a sensitive neck.  

Project

As always, our Curious Knit-Alongs are designed for the knitter who is looking to learn a little bit more about the history of knitting, the structure of knitted fabrics, and techniques they may not yet have encountered. All this, plus the fellowship of a friendly and supportive group moderated by the designer.

The KAL begins January 3rd, and the adventure will continue for the entire month of January, 2020.

Join the Knit-Along and spend time with other makers in the forum. Franklin will add witty instruction and guideance as the KAL progresses through the month of January. If the kits have sold out, or if you'd like to use different colors or yarn, use the links below to purchase kit components (while supplies last).

Materials

Materials

Zitron La Vie -

Color A - 3 balls

Color B - 2 balls

Finished Size

50" across long edge, 38" on each short side

Needles

addi® Rocket US 4 (3.50mm) 24” (60cm) long circular needle, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Gauge

20 sts and 40 rows = 4” in garter stitch

Notions

Yarn

Fiber Content

30% Extrafine Merino Wool

30% Silk

40% Tencel

Yardage / Weight

136 yards / 125 meters per 5- gram ball

Gauge

3.0-3.5 mm needles

7.5-8 sts per inch

Care Instructions

Hand wash, dry flat

2019 Holiday Wishlist

We know that buying gifts can sometimes be a daunting task... especially when the gift is for a crafty maker. You might have no idea what to get for them, and that leaves you with options like "bath robe" or "blender"...

Here's a list of some of our favorites of this season. 


Sock of the month club

This one is a gift that gives all year long. Starting in January, we send out a monthly subscription box that includes yarn and pattern to make a pair of socks. More than that, we host a KAL group for the projects in Ravelry.

Oh! We also will be including other goodies in the packages... each month it's something different! 

The subscription box can be canceled at any time with a simple email to hello@makersmercantile.com - click "Learn more" to learn all the details about this club. 



addi FlexiFlips 8 inch set

We crafted a full set of addi® FlexiFlips for the much-loved maker in your life. Made specifically for North America, these specially designed 21cm circulars (3.5" tips with 1" cord) rest comfortably in the hand, and act as flexible double pointed needles. Easy to use, stitches are simply distributed over two needles, and then knit with the third - resulting in only two needle changes per row. ​

This full set includes all 11 sizes, so you'll never be without the perfect needles, and when you order the full set at our great low price, you get the fabulous FlexiRoll … the only needle case designed specifically for the addi® FlexiFlips, free!


Makers' Apothecary Candles

Our 8oz. candles are hand-poured by a small business in Kentucky and feature pure, natural soy wax, clean-burning cotton wicks, and non-toxic scents.

More than just a candle, each Makers' Apothecary candle features a secret hidden deep inside. After the candle has burned enough to reveal the package, Carefully retrieve, and then open the foil to reveal a handmade stitch marker!

Each candle will burn approximately 40-50 hours. Consider making a gift package with candle, yarn, needles, and some treats for a well-rounded gift!


Knitting Comfortably: The Ergonomics of Handknitting

Imagine being told you have to stop knitting because of discomfort in your hands, arms, neck, or back. Imagine the sense of frustration and the longing to get the needles back in your hands. Imagine the lingering doubt you might have when you can pick them up again: “What was I doing wrong after all these years of knitting?” “Will I get hurt again?” “Will I have to stop knitting forever to make this pain go away?” Maybe you’d like to be a faster, more efficient knitter, or a knitter who produces more projects, but you’re not sure what’s getting in the way.

This book will help you understand the ergonomics of knitting so you can improve your safety, efficiency, and productivity in knitting. You’ll learn to identify ergonomic risks that contribute to injury and reduce knitting efficiency. Throughout the book, you’ll be provided with activities and guidance to improve your knitting ergonomics so you can knit more confidently and comfortably. Through instruction in stretches, exercise, and self-care, you’ll also learn how to manage the discomfort common to knitters before it becomes an injury, and how to recognize when it’s time to seek help from a health-care professional.

Join me in this unique knit-along that will help make a more comfortable, lifelong knitter out of you.


Sheep Herd Tote

Hand printed on 100% Cotton w/ cotton handles
13"x15"

Machine Wash Cold/Warm inside out, Hang to dry, Iron on Back

Each bag is printed by hand and may have slight variations which adds to the charm and beauty. The handmade nature of the bag assures that each one is individually unique.
Use at the grocery store, farmers market, library, or anywhere! Great as gifts for others and yourself!


Hanging Circular Needle Organizer

Double sided hanging circular needle organizer with 17 available slots. Each slot includes a clear window for your custom size. One side is denim, and the other side is natural. Measures approximately 8" wide x 32" long. Made exclusively for Makers' Mercantile by DellaQ. At the base of the organizer is a zippered pouch, plus one more bonus slot for oversized needles!


addi click turbo interchangeable needle set

addi Click Interchangeable Turbo Needle Set is one of the most popular interchangeable knitting needle sets on the market. They feature some of the best joins out there with a lifetime warranty! We love the addi Click Sets and know them inside and out. If you have questions on anything addi make sure to contact us, we are happy to help you figure out which set is right for you. The addi Click Interchangeable Turbo Needle Set system provides 10 different sizes of addi Turbo® tips (3.50 mm, 3.75 mm, 4.00 mm, 4.50 mm, 5.00 mm, 5.50 mm, 6.00 mm, 8.00 mm, 9.00 mm, and 10.00 mm), three different lengths of our new, extremely pliable blue cords (24”, 32” and 40”), and one connector piece which helps to either store stitches or combine your cords. The Click tips require no tools to change; simply insert the cord deep into the tip, twist and release. The tips will remain secure until you change them, thanks to the Clicks' revolutionary locking mechanism!


Kinky Yarn

100% Superwash Wool
200g / 133 meters / 147 yards
12-16 sts and 20-22 rows = 4" on US 10-13 (6-9.0 mm) needles

... but why is it in a coil? This fun yarn comes pre-knit in a 12 stitch tube (not an i-cord) and is ready to dye. Keep it coiled and place it in dye for an unusual effect, or open the coil and dip it all the way in a dyebath. Depending on your process, the yarn might have light spots where the fibers are compacted in the knitting. We think the undyed spots are super cool.  After the yarn is rinsed and dry, you'll pull the tail and work right from the coil. The kinky texture will add dimension to your work. Want a smoother finished project? Block the project and it'll relax just for you. 

It's easy to dye this yarn, AND it's easy to get professional results, no matter your level of experience. 




Schacht Cricket 10" Loom

The Schacht Cricket Loom is compact, capable, and cute! The Cricket is made of high-quality, unfinished apple plywood and hard maple, and each comes with an 8-dent reed (sorry, no substitutions). Included are a threading hook, warping peg, table clamps, two shuttles, and two balls of yarn. At only 11 in x 18 in x 6 in and just under four pounds, it is truly portable. The 10 inch weaving width gives plenty of room to make a variety of projects without sacrificing portability. This loom is an ideal size for a new weaver of any age. As of April 2010, the Cricket has been redesigned with the ratchet gear and dog on the outside of the loom to make it even easier to adjust tension. Additional reeds, pick up sticks, and other accessories for the Cricket are available.

The Cricket series looms are a great way to get started weaving. Don't let their small size fool you! These looms are fun and versatile to use, and all Schacht looms are made with pride in the USA with high quality craftsmanship and materials in Boulder, Colorado.  These portable looms are great for teaching weaving classes for adults and children. They are fairly simple to setup and are small and inexpensive enough that students can take the looms home between classes.

The Schacht Cricket was a craft finalist in the prestigious 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Awards. When you purchase a Schacht loom you know you're getting a well-designed tool built by craftsman who are dedicated to weaving.


artfelt kit - holey scarf

Even with holes, this scarf will keep you warm. The holes give this scarf an eclectic look while the multi-colored roving add in a pop of color that will go with a lot of different wardrobes.


addi Rocket 2 [Squared] circular knitting needle

Meet the addi® Rocket2 Squared, a line of square shaped circular needles with the same speedy addi® Turbo finish and featuring the beloved addi® Rocket tapered tips. 


Sizes are listed in approximate US sizes -AND- exact metric sizes for your convenience. All addi® needles are manufactured to exact metric sizes.


Hexalicious Cushion

Finished Size
22” diameter and stands 16” tall.

Gauge
Since this will be felted, you needn't really worry about gauge (Hooray!)​​

Yarn
Schoppel® Reggae Ombre; 100% Merino Wool,  109 yards per 50 gram ball

Color 1874, 2 balls
Color 1965, 1 ball
Color 1963, 1 ball

addi® Turbo Needles
Size US 10 (12 mm) needle

Notions
6 stitch markers, one to mark beginning of round
Tapestry needle
5 standard pillows or poly-fill for stuffing

Instructions
Make 12 hexagons in color #1874 and one in #1965 as follows: 

Cast on 13 stitches.

Row 1: Knit across row to last stitch, slip last stitch,holding yarn to front.
Row 2: Knit 1, *knit into front and back of the next stitch*, knit to last stitch and slip, holding yarn to front.
Row 3: Repeat row 2.
Repeat Rows 1-3 until you have 25 stitches. 

Continue with the following decrease rows:

Row 1: Knit across row to last stitch, slip last stitch,holding yarn to front.
Row 2: knit 1, knit 2 together, knit to last stitch, slip last stitch, holding yarn to front.
Row 3: Repeat row 2.
Repeat Rows 1-3 until 13 stitches remain.

Bind off all sts. Sew the 13 hexagons together in different directions to create a random pattern as shown in photo, remembering to put the unique hexagon in color 1965 in the center.

To remove the stepped edge and create a complete round, you will need to knit 6 oversized half hexagons in color #1963 as follows:

Cast on 13 stitches (or pick up 13 stitches in the voids between the outer hexagons).
Row 1: Knit across row to last stitch, slip last stitch,holding yarn to front.
Row 2: knit 1, *knit into front and back of the next stitch*, knit to last stitch and slip, holding yarn to front.
Row 3: Repeat row 2.
Repeat Rows 1-3 until you have 25 stitches.

Next Row: Knit 1, knit into front and back of next stitch, knit across row until 2 stitches remain, knit into front and back of next stitch, slip last stitch,holding yarn in the front.Repeat this row until you have 59 stitches. Bind off all sts. Sew the edges of the oversized half hexagons into place – creating a complete circle. If you’d prefer not to seam anything, you can work the hexagons modularly, picking up stitches from a just-worked hexagon. Wash to felt. Stuff and back as desired. Enjoy!

Upcycled Pillow Backs

Karin recommends seeking out large, colorful shirts without pockets. Look for fun buttons, or snaps. Most of these are found in the women’s department, in the extra large sizes. “Men’s shirts are excellent as well, but they frequently have pockets – which I generally avoid. However, pockets can be worked into a pillow back if you are making a gift, simply put a little message in the pocket for the recipient, and it will look like you did it on purpose!”

Avoid shirts with darts; you’re looking for square or rectangular pieces.In general, the width of the shirt, from seam to seam should be no smaller than the width of the pillow, and the length from the armpit to the hem should be no shorter than the length of the pillow. The larger the shirt, the larger your pillow can be. Cut the front body of your shirt away from the sleeves and the back. Lay it flat on a table, with the buttons closed and facing up. Lay your felted panel flat on the front of the shirt, right side facing down, touching the buttons. If there is room, align the shirt buttons so that they are centered on the panel.

Pin the panel to the shirt front, then use the panel as if it were a pattern piece and cut the shirt even to the panel. Keeping the panel and the shirt pinned together, use a sewing machine to stitch around the entire panel. Use a basic stitch,and keep the felt on the bottom while stitching. After you’ve stitched around the piece, open the button panel (it’s a little tricky, as the buttons are now on the inside) and turn inside out. Stuff it with a pre-made pillow form or poly-fill. You can easily create a custom-sized pillow form if you find an almost perfect zippered form: unzip it,remove some stuffing, sew a seam to make the case smaller,and you have a custom sized insert without a lot of work!

Ergonomics of Knitting – Carson Demers

"I’ve been a knitter much longer than I’ve been a physical therapist or an ergonomist, but I still remember my first addi experience.  I was knitting an afghan with let’s say “rustic” wool, and (horrors) bamboo needles.  Ah, the ergonomically unenlightened knitter that I was.   More time spent than one would hope for the amount of fabric produced, I confess my forearms were positively sore.  Then one evening while working on that project in a knitting circle at a local yarn shop I spied them.  Shiny, sleek, and downright sexy (yes, a knitting needle can be sexy!), someone across the table was working with an addi Turbo®.  I can’t lie - I was indeed first impressed by how beautiful those needles looked.  But, it didn’t take much observation to see how effortless they made that knitter’s work.  Stitches were soaring.  So then and there I bought a circular to replace the bamboo needle I was using.  Smooth, fluid, and best of all comfortable, my knitting experience was transformed.  

That was my first addi Turbo® and I’ve been a fan ever since.  I’m a lot more ergonomically savvy now than I was at that time and I still love my Turbos.  They pair perfectly with yarns that offer resistance on other needles, reducing the work of forearm and hand muscles. Their cables are strong, smooth, well behaved and support even a heavy afghan without fuss.  I love how the reflective surface of the needle creates value contrast with nearly any yarn - which makes using them easy on the eyes in more ways than one.  Comfort is always an ergonomic priority and addi Turbos® help me knit comfortably."

It's no secret that we are fans of Carson Demers and his work to help fiber artists continue making with less opportunity for injuries. his book, Knitting Comfortably: The Ergonomics of Handknitting contains all the information you could need to help ensure a long life of comfortable crafting. We are also delighted to offer this book for purchase in our shop and online. 

Imagine being told you have to stop knitting because of discomfort in your hands, arms, neck, or back. Imagine the sense of frustration and the longing to get the needles back in your hands. Imagine the lingering doubt you might have when you can pick them up again: “What was I doing wrong after all these years of knitting?” “Will I get hurt again?” “Will I have to stop knitting forever to make this pain go away?” Maybe you’d like to be a faster, more efficient knitter, or a knitter who produces more projects, but you’re not sure what’s getting in the way.

This book will help you understand the ergonomics of knitting so you can improve your safety, efficiency, and productivity in knitting. You’ll learn to identify ergonomic risks that contribute to injury and reduce knitting efficiency. Throughout the book, you’ll be provided with activities and guidance to improve your knitting ergonomics so you can knit more confidently and comfortably. Through instruction in stretches, exercise, and self-care, you’ll also learn how to manage the discomfort common to knitters before it becomes an injury, and how to recognize when it’s time to seek help from a health-care professional.

Want to knit comfortably? Get your very own copy of Carson's book here:

About Carson Demers:
By day, Carson is a physical therapist who runs an ergonomics program for a San Francisco Bay Area medical center. Every other moment, he’s knitting, spinning, designing, teaching, writing, or otherwise up to some fiber fun with a watchful eye toward ergonomics. His passion and experience in fiber arts combine with his expertise in physical therapy and ergonomics to create a unique skill set that he eagerly shares with the fiber community at local yarn shops, guilds, and major knitting events across the country. He is a regular contributor to Ply magazine.

Jacinto Ottoman

Kick your feet up on this comfy, squishy ottoman! Worked in 100% Merino with large needles it's a faster-than-you-imagine project and adds additional seating in your home that celebrates your knitterly talents.

Finished Size
22” diameter and stands 16” tall.

Gauge
10 stitches and 24 rounds = 4 inches in Linen Stitch.

Yarn
​​Schoppel XL
100% Merino Wool; 72 yards per 100 gram hank

7 skeins #7251 Camel (Main Color)
1 skein #6045 Fern (CC 1)
1 skein #0581 Savanna (CC 2)
1 skein #1100 Shrimp (CC 3)
1 skein #2790 Pink (CC 4)

addi® Needles
Size US 17 (12 mm) 40” circular needle
Size US 17 (12 mm) double pointed needles

Notions
6 stitch markers, one to mark beginning of round
Tapestry needle
5 standard pillows or poly-fill for stuffing

Instructions
Using size 17 (12 mm) 40” circular needle and MC, cast on 169 stitches. Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist. Place marker to mark beginning of round and knit two rounds. Work in Linen Stitch pattern as follows:

Linen Stitch
Round 1: with CC1, *knit 1, slip 1 with yarn in front, repeat from * to end of round, end knit 1.
Round 2: with CC1, *slip 1 with yarn in front, knit 1, repeat from * to end of round, end slip 1 with yarn in front.
Round 3: with MC, repeat round 1.
Round 4: with MC, repeat round 2.

Repeat these 4 rounds until stripe measures 3”, ending with round 4. Work 3” as established with CC2, then CC3. Work 5” in CC4, then 2” in CC3. Knit 2 rows with MC, decreasing 1 stitch in last round. Bind off all stitches. With MC and circular needle, pick up and knit 168 stitches. *Knit 28, place marker, repeat from * 5 times. You will have 6 sections.

On following round, decrease as follows: *knit 2 together, knit to 2 stitches before marker, slip, slip, knit these two slipped stitches together through the back loop, repeat from * to end of round. 156 stitches. Knit one round. Repeat these two rounds until 12 stitches remain, switching to double pointed needles when there are too few stitches to fit around circular needle.If desired, use remaining contrast shades to create a bull’s-eye pattern, knitting with CC on plain knit rounds and working decrease rounds in MC.

Cut yarn leaving an 18” tail and draw through remaining stitches several times, drawing the piece closed in the process. Weave in ends. Repeat on cast-on edge with MC only, stuffing the ottoman as you work. Weave in all ends and steam gently if desired.


October 2019 Knit Along with Franklin Habit

Makers’ Mercantile® is pleased to bring you the second Curious Knit-Along with Franklin Habit: the Mermaid Walk Scarf. Mermaid Walk is a simple lace scarf that makes a big splash. Knit with Hikoo®’s intriguing Concentric Cotton, it’s gloriously abundant–a full eight feet long! The dramatic length is suited to a variety of occasions: as a bathing suit cover-up, as a summer wrap for day or evening, even as a statement piece at a beach wedding. But at five stitches to the inch, it knits up far more quickly than you might imagine...

And because this is a Curious Knit-Along, we’ll do more than just knit something pretty together. 

Project

Mermaid Walk was inspired by knitting history, and begins with motifs from Tudor England and Belle Époque France. As the pattern progresses, you’ll experience first-hand how simple changes cause the lace to gradually transform under your fingers, and come to understand the fundamentals of how knitted lace motifs are created. As always, Franklin will be here to cheer you on, offer advice, answer questions, and chat about the history behind the design. The pattern includes both charted and written instructions; and the KAL will be supported with video tutorials for key techniques. Knitters with a good working knowledge of the basics of lace knitting should find this pattern readily accessible.

The KAL is complete; our adventure ran the entire month of October, 2019 ... but you can certainly dive in and experience this fun project anytime!

Thank you! The limited edition kits sold out in less than 24 hours! 

Join the Knit-Along and spend time with other mermaids in the forum:

Materials

Materials

Finished Size

18” high x 96” long, after blocking

Needles

addi® Rocket2 [Squared] US 4 (3.50mm) 24” (60cm) long circular needle, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Gauge

20 sts and 28 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch

Notions

Tutorials

Yarn

Fiber Content

100% Pima Cotton

Yardage / Weight

929 yards per 200 gram cake

Gauge

3.5-4.0 mm needles

5.5-6 sts per inch

Care Instructions

Hand wash, dry flat

Introducing Flair Needles and Hooks

Colored with a natural lacquer infused with vegetable dyes, by highly skilled craftsmen, the range of Pony Flair knitting and crochet tools is truly unique. The techniques used in their manufacture can find their origins in ancient Persia, where artisans were invited to India to make exclusive products for the local population. The craft set down its roots in India where it flourished for many years. Recently, the knowledge of this very special and rare technique is endangered. The original craft in its original form, only exists today in one tiny part of India, where a few craftsmen continue to preserve the craft by handing the knowledge down from generation to generation.

The production of Pony Flair knitting needles and crochet hooks is adding valuable income to this small community of traditional craftsmen. The pigmented lacquer is applied to each product by hand, using special flexible leaf fibers. Every item is unique and the beauty is a result of the years of experience in developing this exquisite skill.

Each piece is crafted of sustainable, high quality, German Maple. The sizes are measured in millimeters, the most accurate way to gauge knitting and crochet tools. (Remember, U.S. sizes are always approximate and vary from one brand to the next).

We invite you to explore this new artistic line of fiber arts tools. Click on a button below to be directed to a product range.

Getting pattern updates in Ravelry

When a pattern is updated in Ravelry, purchasers often get a notification (either by email, or by private message). Updates are used in our Knit-Alongs to deliver the pattern to everyone at the same time. 

There are a few ways to check for updates. 

First, check in your library Go to Ravelry, then choose Library from the drop down menu under the my notebook tab. 

In the library, you'll find record of all the Ravelry related purchase you have made. See that button on ours that says "7 updates available"? (We have some updating to do!)

 Find that button in your account, and click it.

You'll be led to a list of patterns that have been updated, along with a history of messages from the designer (or whoever did the updates). Click on "Update now" to get the latest version of that pattern. Below is an example of an update from Marie Greene and her Foxtrot Cardigan KAL:

Another way to find an update is to click on the pattern file in your library bookshelf. The image above left shows the Counterpane Square Pillow KAL needs to be updated. When we click there, we are brought to a pattern update page: 

... we are guessing you know what to do from here. Click on the "Update this pattern" button, and you'll get the updated pattern.

What if you didn't associate your Ravelry ID with your purchase? Well, if the email you used is the same as the one connected to your Ravelry account, those patterns can be updated too! 

Got to the my notebook tab, then choose purchases. This brings up a window called the Unlinked Purchase Finder. Enter the email address you used when purchasing an item for Ravelry, and a link is sent to connect that purchase to your Ravelry account. 

If for some reason an update isn't working for you, and you purchased a pattern from Makers' Mercantile, send us an email and we will do our best to help you. 

Fridays with Franklin: Hot, Wet, and Kinky

Fridays with Franklin logo

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first part of this adventure, click here.

And so I undertook to do something further with my second cake of Kinky Yarn, which didn’t look to be too interesting since the painted bits that were so cute on the cake…

…didn’t penetrate past the exterior. Most of the strand remained untouched, as was immediately apparent when I uncoiled the cake.

strip of uncoiled kinky yarn showing limits of painting
Too much white.

Keep in mind that I am neither an experienced nor an enthusiastic dyer. My next move, therefore, was based on convenience rather than wisdom. I had used up my supplies of Textil Marabu fabric paint and Fashion Spray Marabu. So I bought the least expensive, most readily available dye I knew of.

Kool-Aid.

Oh yeahhhhhhh.

You’ve probably heard about Kool-Aid’s potential use as a dye; but in case you haven’t, here are some of points in its favor:

• It’s non-toxic.
• It’s cheap.
• It’s easy to find.
• It’s easy to use.
• It doesn’t require the use of additional acids.

And some points against it:

• It’s neither very strong nor very brilliant.
• It works only with animal fibers (it will not dye cotton, linen, or synthetics).
• Others may drink it before you can use it.
• It may tempt an enormous, anthropomorphic jug to bust through your kitchen wall.

As I stood in line at the supermarket, I realized I hadn’t made or consumed Kool-Aid since leaving home to go to college. Prior to that, I must have drunk hundreds of millions of gallons during a childhood that straddled the 1970s and 1980s.

Ours was not a progressive household where food was concerned. My mother thought whole wheat bread was un-American and my father refused to eat it. He still does. We had dinner with the kitchen television on. All our vegetables–such as there were–came from cans. My school lunches always included a gooey, unnatural cake of some kind from Hostess, and on fancy days the standard entrée of a peanut butter sandwich was replaced by the ultimate culinary luxury–a thermos full of Spaghetti-Os.

We were not, in short, the sort of family in which one turned up one’s nose at Kool-Aid. We drank it by the gallon. It was the first thing I ever made in the kitchen, and there was a violently orange Tupperware pitcher devoted to it. It was the only beverage to which we children had free access, the only thing we could take from the fridge without permission. Thirsty? Drink some Kool-Aid. Drink as much Kool-Aid as you want, was my mother’s policy–just please stay outside during all daylight hours and don’t bother me unless somebody is broken or bleeding.

This may shock younger readers. I hasten to reassure them that my mother was not uncaring or unfeeling–quite the opposite. This is just how it used to be in America, especially during the summer. Every house in our neighborhood had a Kool-Aid pitcher, and every house had a mother who wanted to be left alone from June to September.

Out of loyalty to my longtime favorite flavor, I bought two packs of Orange. I always preferred Orange. Grape was a distant second. Fruit Punch was tolerated but never loved; to me it tasted like birthday parties. The more exotic options like Lime and Apple weren’t even on my radar. I didn’t know anyone who drank those. Maybe people who ate whole wheat bread.

Enough about drinking Kool-Aid. How do you dye with it?

Kool Aid Dyeing: A Brief and Inexpert Guide

First, if your yarn is brand new, I’d give it a wash. Nothing fancy, just wash the skein–following the manufacturer’s guidelines for fiber content–with a little soap. Then rinse out absolutely all the soap. Your water should run clear.

Then soak the yarn in clean water while you prepare your dye pot.

If you are going to work with “real” chemical dyes, that’s a big undertaking and among many other precautions, you need to use pots and spoons dedicated solely to dyeing.

With Kool-Aid, however, just grab a deepish pot that looks like it will comfortably hold your yarn.

(You can do Kool-Aid dyeing in the microwave, but my microwave is on the blink and so I’m only going to talk about the stove top.)

Dump your Kool-Aid powder into the pot. The general principle, which is not difficult to grasp, is that more powder gives deeper color. There’s a practical limit, though, so don’t go nuts. That’s all I got for you. If you’d like an extended treatise on the subject, I refer you to this splendid article from Knitty.

Pour in some water–don’t fill the pot–and stir until the powder dissolves.

Put in your yarn.

Add enough water to cover the yarn.

Put the pot over the flame and heat it until the water is just shy of boiling. Then turn off the flame, cover the pot, and let it sit for a good half hour. Stir it from time to time, if you can remember. I forgot.

In a half hour, maybe a bit more, you should hope to see that the water is clear–that means your yarn has absorbed the dye.

If the water isn’t clear, try heating up the pot again, and letting the yarn sit until the water cools.

Then rinse the yarn thoroughly and let it dry. Use warm water to rinse, as shocking hot wool with cold water may encourage felting.

I was deeply alarmed to see that when removed from the bath, my yarn was a dead ringer for Cheetohs. I hate Cheetohs.

Oh, dear.

Kinky is knit into a tight strip, which inevitably prevents dye from reaching every spot on the strand equally. So I hoped the lurid glow of the exterior fiber would probably be moderated by some paleness in the interior.

I wound my Kinky into a hank on my niddy noddy so that it would dry more quickly…

…and then hung the tied hank in the shower to let it dry.

You do not, of course, want to wind yarn that is even a little wet into a ball.

Sure enough, the wound yarn was only moderately Cheetoh-esque. It was actually rather closer to Spaghetti-Os, of which I have only fond memories Quite a relief. And in spite of the thorough soakings and washings, much of the kink remained as gentle waves.

Gently kinky.

Now, as to what to make with it? I can’t decide. I’m still swatching.

But I’ve have had fun playing with dye, and I plan to do it again. That Kinky has encouraged me to try dyeing (not a favorite thing) and knit with bulky (also not a favorite thing) and helped me to enjoy both is nothing short of remarkable.

Next time, we’ll revisit a project I’ve set aside for a while–and talk about an exciting new direction for “Fridays with Franklin.” See you in two weeks!

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Kinky Yarn (100% superwash wool)
addi Click Turbo Interchangeable Needle Set
Textil Marabu fabric paint
Fashion Spray Marabu textile spray paint

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His newest book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Bookwas brought out by Soho Publishing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), his Web site (franklinhabit.com) or his Facebook page.