Fannie and the Mad Scientist

Eat, Knit and Dye

I fully admit it. I have no idea what I’m doing with this one. I’m just going to poke around and see what happens. If it’s great, awesome, if it sucks, awesome. As long as I had fun! 

I grabbed a hank of Fannie, 100% Merino Wool Superwash, and got to work! I soaked it in water for 30 minutes and contemplated my dyeing options.

I decided to give food coloring another go. I filled up a pot with water up to about an inch. I added yellow food color.

I scrunched up the yarn and literally dropped it into the pot. The accompanying splash was not impressive.

Using the Green, Yellow and just a touch of the Neon Blue food coloring, I just dribbled random drops everywhere.

To make things more interesting, I smushed the yarn and dye around until it started blending.

Happy with my mad scientist concoction, I turned on the heat to just before simmering and let the dye exhaust. And naturally, I let it cool, rinsed it and hung it up to dry.

It’s an interesting concoction of random blurs of color. I like it. It's random and weird. I’m glad I tried out this technique!

Stay tuned for next week for something bright and sunny!

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

Sadie Sorbet

Eat, Knit and Dye

The crockpot has returned! I love dyeing things in it because it’s so easy. Just pour the dye, set it, and leave it. Since I use my crockpot to make actual food, I’m sticking with food-safe dyes. In this case, its food coloring.

This week I am working with Sadie, a 80% Merino Extrafine Superwash Wool and 20% Nylon that I just adore.  You should seriously check it out!

I prepped a skein of Sadie by soaking it in water for 30 minutes and attaching a shower hook. To prep the dye, I got out three teacups, filled them with water and 1 tsp of citric acid.

Here’s how the food coloring broke down:
• Orange Teacup: 3 drops of Yellow and 3 drops of Pink
• Rose Teacup: 3 drops of Yellow and 3 drops of Red
• Pink Teacup: 3 drops of Pink and 3 drops of Red

I put the yarn in the crockpot like I was folding a hand towel, so it was draped over itself. I poured the food coloring directly onto the yarn in sections. First the Orange Teacup over the middle, and the others on the sides.

I popped on the lid and turned on the crockpot on high for an hour. I checked with a spoon to see if the dye had exhausted and it had. The yarn was cooled, rinsed and hung to dry.

The crockpot has returned! I love dyeing things in it because it’s so easy. Just pour the dye, set it, and leave it. Since I use my crockpot to make actual food, I’m sticking with food-safe dyes. In this case, its food coloring.

This week I am working with Sadie, a 100% Superwash Merino Wool that I just adore.  You should seriously check it out!

For such a simple project, it turned out gorgeous. It looks like a delicious sorbet and now I’m hungry!

Stay tuned for next week where I play with more food coloring!

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

What about a Pink Base?

Eat, Knit and Dye

The base of your yarn can change the color you get in a final project. We have found it makes colors have more of a jewel tone with a Silver Base and warmer if it has a Buttercream Base. But what happens if you have a pink base? Only one way to find out!

This week’s experiment, I am usingI am using HiKoo® Sueño in 1100 Natural and 1116 Ballet Slipper. It’s an 80% Merino Wool and 20% Bamboo Viscose. It’s a truly delightful yarn.

As you can see, Ballet Slipper is a lovely shade of pink all on its own. I started by soaking the yarn in water for 30 minutes while I prepared the dyes.

I am using Jacquard Acid Dyes which I mixed into glass jars with a 1tsp of citric acid per jar. I used 1/8 tsp of Salmon, Turquoise, and Lilac.

I put the hanks into a pot and filled it with water so the yarn was fully submerged.

The Dye was added into stripes on top of the water and I let it exhaust.

Using my prongs, I checked to see how much yarn hadn’t gotten dyed. It was a lot.

Way more than I expected wasn’t dyed. Time to change tactics!

I switched to a taller stock pot and filled it with a lot of water, so the yarn could freely float.

I directed the dye to the bottle of the pot using the syringes.

Sadly, the blue dye pretty much overwhelmed the pot. I shrugged and let it exhaust. It’s one of those cases where things don’t go the way you want them too. But we will never know if we don’t try!

I rinsed out the yarn and hung it up to dry. I’m still really surprised how much yarn didn’t get dyed. I’m not super thrilled with my results, so these will be candidates for a re-dye

But we have learned that the pink does mute the colors. The blue still reads like a blue on Ballet Slipper, but it has purple undertones. Overall, I would say the pink gives everything the rosy sunset look to things. It’s overall very pretty, and I would recommend it!

Stay tuned for next week and the return of the crockpot!

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

Frida Peacock Part 5

Eat, Knit and Dye

We have reached the finish line of the Peacock Fade Set! (Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4) This set has been about different ways to place yarn when doing the dye work, and today’s colorway is no exception.

For my base for all of them, I will be using Frida. It’s a 100% Merino Wool Superwash with 16 microns of softness. It’s so super-duper soft, and just touching it during the dyeing process is luscious. It will make the most luxurious sweater.

For my dye colors across the entire Peacock fade, I mixed jars of it at once with 1 tsp of citric acid per color. I dyed everything on the same day too, but you’ll have to be patient to see the finished product!

With Jacquard Acid Dyes, I used:
• Yellow – Sun Yellow
• Light Green – Chartreuse (with a touch of Spruce)
• Green – Kelly Green
• Blue – Brilliant Blue
• Purple – Violet

While the yarn was soaking in water for 30 minutes, I filled a pot with green dye and approximately an inch of water and Green dye. By holding the shower hook, I slowly started pilling the yarn on itself.

In the end, I had a mountain of yarn sticking out of the dye.

Using a syringe, I applied the Blue dye to the top of the syringe. I felt like I was covering a snow-cone with syrup.

I turned the heat on and brought the temperature up to before simmering and left it alone for 15 minutes.

Using my tongs, I moved the yarn around. There were some bare areas, but that’s not a problem because there is plenty of green dye in the water.

I loosened up the mountain of yarn and added some water (at the same temperature of the yarn in the pot, I didn’t want it to felt). And I left the pot to exhaust.

I like it. It was a good way to get a two-color skein where the placement was more random then a half and half painted hank. I’m excited to see how this one knits up.

And that concludes the Peacock Fade set! Overall, I’m pleased with how it turned out especially since I tried 5 different techniques during this journey. I am a little fussy that 3 of the skeins have bare yarn and the other 2 don’t. I’ll let this set sit for a while, and if it still bothers me before knitting it up, I will do some over-dyeing in the same colors to get all 5 of the skeins to have matching color saturation. (This is also the benefit of writing down what colors you use, so 6 months from now, if you want to touch up the hanks or dye more to match, you know what you used.

Stay tuned for next week where I look at another base 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

Frida Peacock Part 4

Eat, Knit and Dye

On to the next in the Peacock Fade Set series! I really enjoyed Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, but now it’s time to focus on Part 4. This skein will be next to the Blue and Purple bookend, so it will be Green/Blue/Purple.

For my base for all of them, I will be using Frida. It’s a 100% Merino Wool Superwash with 16 microns of softness. It’s so super-duper soft, and just touching it during the dyeing process is luscious. It will make the most luxurious sweater.

For my dye colors across the entire Peacock fade, I mixed jars of it at once with 1 tsp of citric acid per color. I dyed everything on the same day too, but you’ll have to be patient to see the finished product!

With Jacquard Acid Dyes, I used:
• Yellow – Sun Yellow
• Light Green – Chartreuse (with a touch of Spruce)
• Green – Kelly Green
• Blue – Brilliant Blue
• Purple – Violet

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know the yarn had been soaking in water for 30 minutes. I wrung out the excess water and crumpled it into a messy handful of yarn. (Only do this if you have tied off the yarn in multiple paces AND you have a shower ring. Unless you like yarn knots. Your choice, really.)

The yarn was plopped into a pan and filled with water. The water level is fairly low; plenty of yarn is sticking out of the water.

Using a syringe, dollops of dye were applied in random places.

I did this until the yarn surface was completely covered in color. The heat was turned up to near simmering, and then the dye exhausted until the water turned clear.

I flipped over the yarn and of course, bare areas were showing. So, more dye was blobbed all over the place. The yarn marinated like weirdly colored spaghetti until all the dye exhausted.

I’m really surprised at how much bare yarn is still showing. I’m thinking I should have added more water or perhaps less citric acid. However, it still works as part of the fade set.

Stay tuned for next week where I try one more experimental yarn placement and finish up the Peacock fade!

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

Frida Peacock Part 3

Eat, Knit and Dye

On to the next in the Peacock Fade Set series! Since Part 1 and Part 2 already established the bookends of the Fade Set, it’s time to start worrying about the middle skeins. Because one side is Yellow and Light Green, the next one in the series will be Yellow/Light Green/Green/Blue.

For my base for all of them, I will be using Frida. It’s a 100% Merino Wool Superwash with 16 microns of softness. It’s so super-duper soft, and just touching it during the dyeing process is luscious. It will make the most luxurious sweater.

For my dye colors across the entire Peacock fade, I mixed jars of it at once with 1 tsp of citric acid per color. I dyed everything on the same day too, but you’ll have to be patient to see the finished product!

With Jacquard Acid Dyes, I used:
• Yellow – Sun Yellow
• Light Green – Chartreuse (with a touch of Spruce)
• Green – Kelly Green
• Blue – Brilliant Blue
• Purple – Violet

The skein of Frida soaked for 30 minutes before the dyeing process. I’ve noticed that so much of dyeing is how you place the yarn into the pot. I haven’t tried this placement before, so I was eager to see how it looks. I held onto one end of the hank and lowered the yarn in an open collapsing of yarn.

Which left me with a heap of yarn in my pan. I added quite a lot of water. The yarn was completely submerged and slightly floating.

I applied the yarn in a bullseye pattern starting with the center. Because I am using yellow, I made the middle section way bigger than usual. Yellow is the one color that gets swallowed up by pretty much any other color.

Around the Yellow, I put a thin ring of Light Green. Around that, I put a ring of Green. And then on the edge of the pot, I put a ring of the Blue. (See how the Green is creeping into the Yellow?)

I let the dye exhaust, so the water was clear. Notice how much of the Yellow was eaten up by the Green?

Using the shower ring, I picked up the hank of yarn and was not shocked to see how much bare yarn was present.

I re-collapsed the yarn into the pot with the bare side up.

I repeated the Bullseye Ring dye application and let the dye exhaust. The yarn was cooled to room temperature, rinsed and hung up to dry.

It’s such a lovely marbled watercolory look. I love how the colors flow all over the place. It’s an excellent addition to the fade set.

Stay tuned for next week where I try more experimental yarn placement.

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

Frida Peacock Part 2

Eat, Knit and Dye

Last week I tried dyeing with a jar and liquid dye. This week I’m going to find out what happens with dry dye. (Spoiler alert: It’s a bit of disaster!) This part of the Peacock Fade Set (Last week was Part 1).

For my base for all of them, I will be using Frida. It’s a 100% Merino Wool Superwash with 16 microns of softness. It’s so super-duper soft, and just touching it during the dyeing process is luscious. It will make the most luxurious sweater.

For my dye colors across the entire Peacock fade, I mixed jars of it at once with 1 tsp of citric acid per color. I dyed everything on the same day too, but you’ll have to be patient to see the finished product!

With Jacquard Acid Dyes, I used:
• Yellow – Sun Yellow
• Light Green – Chartreuse (with a touch of Spruce)
• Green – Kelly Green
• Blue – Brilliant Blue
• Purple – Violet

In the jar, I added a ½ teaspoon of citric acid and 1/8 tsp of the Brilliant Blue dye powder. I don’t know why I added more citric acid. I’m sure I had a reason, but I can’t remember what that reason was.

The yarn had been soaking in water. I wrung out the skein and squished half of it into a jar. I added 1/8 tsp of the Violet dye powder directly onto the yarn. I squished in the rest of the yarn.

Slowly, I added water into the jar until it was up to the brim. I capped it and set it aside.

After a while, I checked on the yarn and I wasn’t happy at all. The color had barely moved. It was going to look awful.

To confirm my fear, I pulled out the yarn to see what was happening. The purple was laying in a blob of color and there was barely any blue. And a whole lot of bare yarn. This would not do!

Taking the yarn out of the jar, I added ½ cup of water and let the blue dye dissolve. Then I squished the yarn back into the jar. With my finger, I made a divot in the top of the yarn and added more purple dye powder.

More water was added to the jar. I also kept poking at the yarn with my finger to help the purple dye move down further.

That’s better! There is at least some color now! I think when using the dry powder, I shouldn’t have wrung out the yarn before I added it. It might work better that way. 

The yarn sat for another hour before hopping into the pot with the other jar from last week. As a reminder, the water was brought up to simmering for 20 minutes. It was cooled overnight in the pot.

I rinsed out the yarn and hung it up to dry. It turned out pretty cool. I’m certainly glad I went back and added more water into the equation. It kept it from being a blob!

And now I have the bookends for my Peacock Cock Fade set.

Stay tuned for next week where I work on the middle of the set!

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

Frida Peacock Part 1

Eat, Knit and Dye

I had so much fun with Sadie Fiery Sunset Fade that I wanted to try my hand at another. This time I’m doing a five-part fade set using Yellow-Green-Blue-Purple as my color scheme which I’ll call Peacock. Since I love knitting sweaters, five seems like an excellent skein count.

For my base for all of them, I will be using Frida. It’s a 100% Merino Wool Superwash with 16 microns of softness. It’s so super-duper soft, and just touching it during the dyeing process is luscious. It will make the most luxurious sweater.

For my dye colors across the entire Peacock fade, I mixed jars of it at once with 1 tsp of citric acid per color. I dyed everything on the same day too, but you’ll have to be patient to see the finished product!

With Jacquard Acid Dyes, I used:
• Yellow – Sun Yellow
• Light Green – Chartreuse (with a touch of Spruce)
• Green – Kelly Green
• Blue – Brilliant Blue
• Purple – Violet

I have been wanting to try out jar dyeing. I know a lot of people do this during the summer with solar dyeing, but it’s certainly not warm weather in Washington right now. But I have a workaround!

I soaked a skein of Frida in water for 30 minutes. I put a bit of the Yellow and the Light Green in jars. In the main dyeing jar, I added about an inch of the Light Green.

I pulled the yarn out of the soaking tub and I didn’t wring it out. Then I squished it into the jar.

In retrospect, I wish I had rung out the yarn. There was so much water in the yarn that the jar was nearly completely filled, and it didn’t leave much room for another color. Next time I try a jar method, I will wring out the yarn and then add the water.

I topped off the jar with yellow dye to the very tippy top. Using my gloved finger, I did poke the yarn down as far as it would go to get a bit more yellow dye dispersion. I capped off the jar and it put over to the side to work on the other yarns.

It sat for about 2 hours before it was time to heat set it. I grabbed a pot and filled it with water and put it in the jar (and the purple jar you’ll learn about next week). I took the lids of the jar because I didn’t want the heat to seal the jar or create other reactions like glass jar ruptures/explosions.  I brought the heat up to before simmering and let the jars hang out for 20 minutes. The jars did rattle around a bit in the pan, so I’m glad they weren’t capped.

I let the yarn cool overnight to make sure the dye had plenty of time to exhaust. I plucked it from the jar, rinsed it and hung it up to dry.

I’m happy with how it turned out. There is more white bare yarn than I expected, but that’s okay. Live and learn! And it’s a good start to the Peacock Fade!

Stay tuned for next week where you learn about the mysterious purple jar!

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

Fannie Semi-Tonal

Eat, Knit and Dye

I had no plan when I started this colorway. I had an empty fish pan and some leftover Jacquard Acid Dyes. My original goal was something stripy. That didn’t happen. But do I care? No. Why? Because the journey is half the fun!

I’m clearly in the middle of an obsession with Fannie because I’m using that base once again! And what’s not to love about this 100% Superwash Merino Wool?

The yarn was soaked in water before being placed in the fish pan. Water and 1 tsp of citric were added until the yarn was almost submerged. And the fish pan was stretched across two burners. I turned on the heat and brought the temperature to right before simmering.

In a condiment squirt bottle, I filled them with leftover Jacquard Acid Dyes. There are a blue and a purple bottle. Using the bottle, I added the dye.

First, I placed stripes of purple dye at regular intervals.

Second, I place the blue dye also at regular intervals.

I’m going to be honest. I wasn’t loving the stripes. It was a bit boring and bland for me. Using a prong, I squished the yarn around and that helped the dye disperse.

I left the dye exhaust. The yarn has gotten fairly evenly coated, but the color still seemed a bit anemic.

Using the handy dandy shower ring, I picked up the yarn and added dye directly to the water. I used both purple and blue.

And the dye exhausted. Nothing left to do but rinse it and hang it up to dry. 

It’s a really nice tonal. Certainly not one of the more exciting yarns that I have created, but still an excellent staple yarn. Or pair it with a more exciting yarn. I’ll put it in the win category.

It’s a really nice tonal. Certainly not one of the more exciting yarns that I have created, but still an excellent staple yarn. Or pair it with a more exciting yarn. I’ll put it in the win category.

Stay tuned for next week where I make another fade set!

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

Fannie Breaking

Eat, Knit and Dye

Sometimes when I am dyeing yarn I have a plan. Sometimes I have no idea what I am doing. Sometimes I just make it up as I go. This is one of those occasions. And spoiler alert: I am so enraptured with this colorway. Hold on to your horses, and let’s see what happened!

I’m using Fannie this week. I like the crispness of this 100% Superwash Merino Wool. It coordinates nicely with Zitron Lifestyle yarn.

As I was preparing for a day of yarn dyeing, I was tying the hanks with bindings so they don’t get all tangled. On this one, I decided to do something weird. I folded the hank in half and tied it into bubbles. I tied it tight because I was interested to see what the tie resists do.

I soaked the yarn bundle in water and 1 tsp citric acid for 30 minutes.

The soaking wet hank was placed into my crockpot with no additional water.

To make the colors, I pulled out some teacups and put a few drops of the Neon Blue, Neon Purple, and Green into individual cups. I added a few drops of the Blue into each cup. The teacups were filled with water, but I didn’t do any mixing.

I poured half the cup of dye water over a bubble.

I repeated that process with the purple and green alternating the blue. 

Taking a leap of faith, I figured the crockpot wouldn’t burn the yarn because it can only get so hot. I covered it with a lid and set it to high heat for an hour. I knew the runoff of the dye would make mud on the bottle of the skein, but because green, blue and purple complement each other for the most part, I wasn’t too worried.

After an hour, I fished the yarn out of the crockpot with tongs and let it cool in the sink.

I cut off the ties (look at the resist!) and rinsed the yarn.

And off it went to dry.

This is where I did my happy dance. The dye broke! What does that mean? It means the individual colors of the dye separated and set at different times. For example, the purple broke into purple and pink, which is a delicious watercolor effect. I don’t know where the navy came from, but I love it!

Just another example where it shows its pays to not have a plan!

Stay tuned for next week and another I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing 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