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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

FiberStories: CoBaSi

  • 55% Cotton, 16% Viscose from Bamboo, 8% Silk, 21% Elastic
  • 220 yards (201 meters) per 50 gram hank
  • Available in Sock, DK and Plus weights
  • Made in Taiwan

In 2007, skacel collection, inc. , the wholesale distributor of  addi, Schoppel Wolle, and Zitron Yarns in the USA, found that despite representing over 150 yarns, there were still products that customers wanted that were not available on the market.  With this in mind, they decided to create their own line – and the Hikoo® brand was born. 

One of the first goals for this new brand was to create a wool-free sock yarn. The design team got together (they are all avid knitters and crocheters) and began to build a prototype on paper on what would be the perfect sock yarn – without any animal fibers.  Of course the biggest concern was what is referred to in the industry as "memory".  Sheep’s wool, as well as most other animal fibers, have good memory, meaning after being stretched out the fibers will return to their original shape. Other natural fibers, such as plant based fibers, do not do this.  Making a pair of socks out of plant based fibers usually leaves one disappointed, as the socks continuously fall down the leg and stretch out.

UNLESS, of course, you add in elastic. 

So there was a start – a plant based fiber mixed with elastic. Hemp, Flax and Linen were all considered, and although these fibers are  strong, none of them are really soft on the skin. The team wanted durable and comfortable. That left cotton, as a synthetic was out of the question. So, cotton was specified, and a sample of a 90% cotton and 10% elastic yarn was requested. One would think this would be perfect, as most socks  purchased at the store are a cotton and elastic mix, usually around 95% cotton and 5% elastic, but it was not. Socks were knit from the sample, and unfortunately, the blend ended up not only being a bit rough on the foot, but the 10% elastic did not keep the sock up on the calf for very long!

Back to the drawing board.

The next go around, the elastic percentage was raised to 15%, and bamboo was added for softness. Once more, when the sample arrived,  socks were knitted – and they were better – but not good enough. They still pooled around the ankle after a few hours. So it was back to the drawing board.

Again.

The next sample had 20% elastic in it, 60% cotton, and 20% bamboo.  When it was delivered, socks were knit. And, they actually stayed up on the leg! They were not stretching out! But, the socks lacked luster, and seemed rather dull. Shine was needed. Where do you find shine?  The team already felt they had too much synthetic in the blend with the 20% elastic, so it had to be a natural fiber.

Enter Silk!

Silk is strong and has a glossy sheen, so the cotton content was reduced to 50%, the bamboo and elastic remained at 20%, and 10% silk was added.

When the yarn got to Skacel, the team got to knitting socks.  And this time they felt great on the foot, they didn’t slouch at the ankle, and they had just enough sheen to reflect a little light. The team thought they had it.

But no.  The silk was making the yarn too expensive.  So they lowered the silk content to 8%, lowered the bamboo to 16%, and raised the percentages of the cotton and elastic, to 55% and 21% respectively. 

The samples arrived, socks were knit, and they were perfect!  A new yarn had been developed. 

Now – came the tough part – what to name it. After a few weeks of deliberation, it was decided to that since the yarn has so many different components in it, to shorten them all, sort of like abbreviations used on a chemistry chart – and call it Cobasi Cotton (co), Bamboo (ba) and Silk (si).  The elastic part was not mentioned in the name, but no one seemed to miss it... although if it wasn't there, we'd be back to square one. 

So there you have it. The story of CoBaSi and how it came to be. Who knew that developing yarns took that much effort and research! And now that it has been a while since CoBaSi first came out, there are DK and Plus weights as well.

The weather here is cold and snowy, so we decided to share this fun photo from the Socks Appeal Boxers pattern. Want to make some amazingly comfy boxers? We know the perfect yarn. 

FiberStories: Das Paar

  • 75% Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
  • 459 Yards per 100 grams
  • set of two identical 50 gram hanks
  • Self Patterning
  • Made in Germany
  • Featured yarn in the January  Sock of the Month box!
Image of Katie Rempe

I cannot wait to share with you the reasons why I love Das Paar by Schoppel-Wolle! Oh, by the way, my name is Katie and I designed the January Sock of the Month for Maker’s Mercantile!

My Wintertime Socks were a perfect pairing for Das Paar. I, like many others, love it when my socks actually match, but it’s not always that easy! Since I don’t have a fancy 

meter machine at home, and love to make two-at-a-time socks, splitting one ball into two can be a challenge! The same goes for trying to start your second sock in the exact same place where you began the first one, ugh! Luckily, Das Paar does all the work for you!!

Packaged in an unassuming hank, Das Paar becomes TWO 50 gram hanks when taken apart! Plus, there’s no mystery as to where to begin as the starting points are knotted together, ensuring you’re off to a perfect start (and finish!)

This sock yarn is tough, built to withstand the washing machine and the dryer. Best of all, it comes in 7 amazing colorways. Yes, please!! I hope you will enjoy knitting with this yarn as much as I did!

-Katie

The Unboxing Video

Contents of the Sock of the Month Subscription Box January 2020
Wintertime Socks

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

FiberStories: Zitron Filigran

  • 100% Superwash Merino Wool
  • 656 Yards (600 meters) per 100 gram hank
  • Single Ply
  • Made in Germany

First... where'd the name come from? Filigran translates roughly to "filigree" which is a term that describes the delicate threads used to decorate the garments of royalty in years past. Often crafted of gold or precious metals, these fine threads created the timeless motifs we now view in museums. 

Keeping the delicacy of the thread in mind, Atelier Zitron developed a yarn that is strong, supple, and lightweight. The super soft merino promises to stand the test of time; holding intricate lace stitches in place and creating heirloom garments.

Let's take a moment to chat about the manufacturer of this gorgeous yarn. The process Zitron uses to craft their products are environmentally friendly, and dyed in accordance with Oeko-Tex Standard 100. That means their processes were tested by Oeko-Tex for harmful substances and every component (from the dyes, to the fibers) were found harmless in human ecological terms. Tests are conducted by independent partners, and the criteria for certification is updated annually.

Want to try your hand at lace knitting with some of the highest-quality yarn available? Try Zitron Filigran. We have selected three patterns (above) to offer inspiration. Want more project suggestions? We invite you to visit the work of renowned European lace designer Monika Eckert HERE.

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

Maker Spotlight: John Crane

When John Crane announced his retirement from academic librarian of Dartmouth College, co-workers started taking him out for celebratory lunches. When one such colleague arrived at his office for their scheduled lunch, she told John they weren’t actually going to lunch, but instead, she intended to teach him how to knit. Little did John know, that “lunch” would forever change his retirement years.

John quickly became obsessed with knitting and started creating patterns for items he knit for himself and his friends. John’s attention to detail and classic designs have since made him a favorite knitwear of many people, and those who are lucky enough to know him profess that he is one of the best hug-givers in the universe. 

John’s public knitting frequently leads to his meeting new people and making new fiber friends. Many of the guys pictured here with John in Provincetown, Massachusetts noticed him knitting and started joining him daily at 3PM at the “knitting table” in front of Joe Coffee when he is staying at his Provincetown home.

More than just a retired knitter, John continues to impress. He developed an Sheep Breeds: A World of Difference as an exhibit to celebrate the differences (and similarities!) of over 71 breeds divided into 5 categories. The hands-on exhibit allows the viewer to touch and feel fiber and yarn samples from each species. Yup. John doesn't "retire" like other people. 

Still one of our favorites, his Johanna Vest is the epitome of classic simplicity. Worked in HiKoo® Sueno, it is a knee length vest (pictured), and is also available as a shorter version.

Ask Hank: Holiday Edition

Hi everyone and Happy Holidays! Of course, every day is a holiday for me because I get to spend it with my family, but this time of year seems to have extra toys and treats. And lights. And happy people. And stress. Well, fear not. Helpful Hank is here with answers to some more of your questions. Read on, wonderful humans:

 Q: I’ve had several requests this year for hand knit socks, but not everyone is local to me. Do you have any tricks on how to size a sock for someone who isn’t around to try them on as you go?
Sock it to Me in Seattle

A: Isn't it getting close to the big day where you open presents? If you can't finish them in time for gift giving, you could send a card with a photo of the yarn and instructions for a tracing of their foot. Have them stand on a piece of paper, trace around the foot, cut it out, and send it to you. From there you can transfer the drawing to a piece of cardboard. Then you’ll be able to measure the entire length of the foot, note specifics like the person’s name and shoe size, and even mark certain areas where you know you like to begin your heel, toe, etc. That way, you can try the sock right on the cardboard template as you knit to see how you’re progressing! When you're done with the gift, you can keep the template for next year's socks (if you want to make it a tradition).


Q: I love giving gift cards but would like to include something small and handmade. Any suggestions? 
Gift Guesser in Georgia

A: How about making a gift card holder? This could be knit, crocheted, or sewn! Or, include something complimentary to accompany it, like a knitted coffee cozy to go with a coffeehouse gift card! Just be sure it’s made from an easily washable yarn! When wrapping gift cards, try putting them in larger boxes to confuse the recipient. A gift card in a shoebox with some marbles to rattle around makes for great and confusing fun until the wrapping is gone and the gift is revealed.


 Q: This is the last year I’m making gifts for everyone in the family. It’s too overwhelming! What can I do to avoid this in the future without having to start crafting in January? 
Fed Up in Florida

A: If you love making gifts, but hate the huge workload, consider holding a yearly drawing with slips of paper for everyone who wants a handmade gift. Each year pull out the number of slips you’re willing to make gifts for. Keep drawing each year until you’ve gone through the names! Once you’re through them entirely, enter everyone back in again.

Another idea is to purchase handmade items from other artists. Collect items through the year and as the holidays approach you'll have a gathering of goodies to share with those most important to you.


Q: I want to knit my cat a sweater for Christmas, but every time I try to put clothes on her she freaks out. Should I go for it anyway? She's so adorable in her little sweater...
-Purrfectly Happy in Samamish

A: If your cat doesn't like wearing sweaters, why force her? She might be too warm, or perhaps she has a style that's totally different from whatever you've provided her. Since she doesn't seem to love clothes, how about making her a little blanket for her bed? That way you get to give a hand made item, and your cat isn't traumatized. 

Also, since you mentioned your kitty, remember some plants are dangerous to pets. Pointsettia and pine are both health risks, so if kitty likes to chew on greenery, this thoughtful pup suggests avoiding live plants to keep them safe.


Q: I can’t stop snacking on all the holiday cookies I made for other people! HELP!
- Cookie Monster in Michigan

A: Every cookie should be taste tested to ensure it would pass Quality Control. I see this as an excellent service you’re offering your friends and family! If you want me to help, I love eating cookies and treats. Keep me healthy though, and remember no chocolate. I'm told it's bad for me. Peanut butter can be a delicious goodie though. OH! and while pets might keep asking for more, more, more, help me stay healthy by limiting treats during the holidays. 

And while the contents of a nicely wrapped present are a mystery to you, I have a keen sense of smell and might be tempted to tear into presents to find edible goodies. Keep edible gifts out of my reach until it's time to open them. 

---------

Our friendly mascot, Hank, loves to fetch answers to all kinds of crafting related questions. He's awesome at digging up facts and helps us help our customers. Have a question for Hank?  Click the button below!

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