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

Fannie and the Crockpot

Eat, Knit and Dye

This week is two experiments in one for me. I’ve been wanting to try out using my crockpot for dyeing. However, since acid dyes aren’t food safe, I wasn’t ready to sacrifice my beloved crockpot. That left me with finding food safe dye options. In full disclosure, I wanted to try Kool-Aid, but my grocery store only had one flavor. (Disappointing to the kid in me, I remember there being a whole Kool-Aid section and begging my mom for one of each.) So food coloring it is!

I am going to be dying with Fannie this week. It’s a 100% Merino Wool Superwash with a gorgeous ply twist to it. The stitch definition is stunning.

For dyes, I picked up two boxes of food color in Neon and Basic colors. I figured with these two I can get a whole rainbow of colors.

While the yarn soaked in water, I filled up the crockpot. I decided I wanted to give middle immersion dyeing a chance, so I added a bunch of water. That means there was enough water for the dye to float around, but not enough to just become one color. And 1 tsp of citric acid.

The yarn was added to the crockpot and wiggled around to be randomized.

I used the food color bottles and dropped random drops of color on top of the yarn.

The process was repeated with the Neon Pink, Neon Blue and Neon Purple.

I’m not always a patient person, so I helped the color mixing along by squishing and lightly swishing the yarn and water around.

I popped the lid onto the crock pot and turned it on high for an hour. I checked it at the 45-minute mark by dipping a spoon into the water. Since the water was clear, I knew the food coloring had exhausted.

The yarn was cooled to room temperature and rinsed out. Off it went to hang dry and now I can admire the beautiful variety of color. The thing that surprised me the most was how much red showed up when though I didn’t use it.

I’d say the food coloring was a success! I can’t wait to give it a few more experiments just to see what it can do. Plus, I get to use the crock pot.

Stay tuned for next week where I have more fun with 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

Sadie Fiery Sunset Part 4

Eat, Knit and Dye

It’s the final week of the 4 Skein Fiery Sunset fade set and I’m so excited to see how this turns out. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. So far, it’s shaping up to stunningly bright set, and that’s right up my alley.

Once again, I am using Sadie as my base. The nice thing about using the same yarn for each color is I know that the gauge and fabric will match. I know that you can mix yarn in a single project, but I’m just more comfortable using the same yarn base together.

In looking at the 3 colorways I have already dyed, I think that it makes the most visual sense to do something in the yellow end of my color spectrum to balance out the colors.

For this, I used Jacquard Acid Dyes.
• Yellow = 1/4 tsp Jacquard Sun Yellow
• Orange = 1/8 tsp Jacquard Sun Yellow and 1/16 tsp Deep Orange

Wanting a mostly solid yellow base layer for the yarn, I filled up my old pot with water, the dye and 1 tsp of citric acid. As you can see, this pot is starting to get pretty worn down. Acid dyes are not food safe and should only be used in dye-dedicated pots and this is a good reason why. All of the repeated uses of citric acid and dye is causing the Teflon to wear away and peel. This isn’t the only pan I use where this is happening. I don’t care about the damage, but I certainly wouldn’t use these pans to make food.

After soaking the yarn for 30 minutes in water, I placed it into the dye pot and made sure it had plenty of room for the dye to circulate. I brought the water up to a near simmering temperature and let the dye exhaust.

To add a bit of depth and texture to the yarn, I splattered orange dye mixed into a condiment bottle on the very top of the yarn and again, let it exhaust.

Using the shower ring, I pulled the yarn out of the now clear water and decided it needed a little bit more orange, so I put back in with the pot. I did try to get the mostly all yellow section on top.

And I added just a smidge more of the orange dye, letting it exhaust.

It turned out perfectly! It’s a beautiful yellow with hints of orange mottling. I think it’s going to knit up in a beautiful fabric of a tonal yellow with just a little bit of interest. And it balances out the Fade set just right.

Now all that’s left it to knit this up into something! I can’t wait to get started.

Stay tuned for next week where we see what a crockpot can do!

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 Fiery Sunset Part 3

Eat, Knit and Dye

As I continue my way through dyeing a 4-Skein coordinating fade (see Part 1 and Part 2 here!), I’m tackling the next colorway. Since the original colorway features all 6 colors, I decided it would be the middle of the fade. Last week I used red, orange and yellow. This week, I’m going to red, pink, purple and blue. 

Once again, I am using Sadie as my base. It’s a sock yarn, and before its dyed, it feels a bit coarse. But once it absorbs the dye and spends some time in hot water, it becomes this fluffy and soft yarn, and very squishy. It’s one of my favorites of our undyed bases.

And because I used the fancy fish pan for the last week's project, it seems only fair the brownie pan makes an appearance. I’m particularly excited about using it because this extra-long hank is finally long enough to fill out all the sections of the brownie pan. The pan was filled with some water and 1 tsp of citric acid.

While the yarn was off soaking in water, I mixed up my dyes in condiment bottles. Once again, I am using the colors from the original colorway and they are all Jacquard Acid Dyes.
• Red = 1/8 tsp Jacquard Fire Red
• Magenta = 1/8 tsp Jacquard Hot Fuchsia
• Purple = 1/16 tsp Jacquard Violet and 1/16 tsp Brilliant Blue
• Blue = 1/8 tsp Jacquard Brilliant Blue

I’m calling this my haphazard application process. I used the bottles to lay down random blocks of colors, many of them jumping over the brownie edge dividers.

I did try to keep the red and pink together, and also the blue and purple. And then I let the dye exhaust.

Using my prongs, I poked around the yarn and determined the bottom hadn’t dyed. This is what I expected to find.

I picked up the hank and turned it over. And replied the dye in roughly the same places. And then, you guessed it! I let the dye exhaust.

With the prongs, I flipped up the yarn to see how much was left undyed. There was more than I wanted.

I added some dye to the water and draped the wet yarn across the dye water. I know it’s not going to penetrate all the way through, but I’m embracing the mottled look.

I’m super happy with how it turned out. The colors match perfectly, and my fade is starting to shape up! Is this the Twilight section?

Stay tuned for next week for the final skein of Fiery Sunset 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!

Sadie Fiery Sunset Part 2

Eat, Knit and Dye

Out of all the yarn I have dyed so far, the Sadie Fiery Sunset is my favorite. The stunningly bright and saturated colors. The bright and cheerful nature of the colorway. I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to knit with it. And since I usually knit sweaters (slowly - like a glacier), I decided that I would make it part of a sweater set. But a color fade color set. So off we go!

I’m once again using Sadie, a 70-inch / 175 cm hank is 80% Merino Extrafine SW Wool and 20% Nylon blend. The hank is longer than most undyed hanks. Should you want a smaller hank size, Sabrina is a good option.

The yarn was attached to a shower curtain ring and soaked in water for 30 minutes. Then it was loosely laid out in my new friend, the fish steaming pot. Water was added so the yarn was almost submerged, and 1 tsp of citric acid sprinkled on top of it.

For colors, I used the same dyes from the first Fiery Sunset so maintain color consistency. One of the key parts of color harmony is making sure things are in the same family. For instance, if you want to have blue and red yarn in the same colorwork piece, in general, they should both be warm or cold colors. If one is cool, and the other warm, there is a better chance the colors will not work in harmony together. This is a generalization, but it is usually a good rule of thumb.

I mixed up some Jacquard Acid Dyes in squirt bottles.
•  Yellow = 1/4 tsp Jacquard Sun Yellow
•  Orange = 1/8 tsp Jacquard Sun Yellow and 1/8 tsp Deep Orange
•  Red = 1/8 tsp Jacquard Fire Red

With the pan on the stove, I turned on the two burners and brought the water up to just before simmering. My goal is for a mottled fade. I added the yellow dye by concentrating it on the top third of the yarn and splattered it down another third.

On the bottom third, I saturated the yarn with the red dye and splattered it up to the middle third.

Finally, I added the orange dye in the middle third and splattered it into the yellow and red. I was more careful and lighter handed on the orange over the yellow. Yellow tends to get taken over by pretty much every color, and I wanted to avoid that.

At this point, I felt like things were too mottled. To help with that, I used a prong to push the yarn down and let some water seep up. That water carried the dye and helped mix the colors.

Nothing left to do at this point, but to let the dye exhaust, so I worked on some other yarn.

After using the prong to move the yarn around to make sure the water was clear, I picked up the hank by the shower hook and turned it over. Plenty of the yarn wasn’t dyed. So, I bet you’ll never guess what I did next...That’s right! I repeated the process.

The dye exhausted, the yarn cooled to room temperature, I washed it and hung it up to dry. I love how it turned out! The colors are bright and vibrant, and it coordinates perfectly with the original Fiery Sunset! I’m calling this a win.

Stay tuned for next week when I work on the next segment of this sweater 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

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