Blog

Inspire Future Makers with Reading + Crochet

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

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

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

Lillian Finger Painting

Eat, Knit and Dye

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

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

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

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

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

I did the same thing with the turquoise dye.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy

Fabienne Crazy Quilt Gradient

Eat, Knit and Dye

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy

Kinky Ring of Fire

Eat, Knit and Dye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned for next week for a Crazy Quilt Gradient!

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

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

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy

Boots Halloween

Eat, Knit and Dye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned for next week for another Kinky experiment.

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

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

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy

Kinky Candy Gradient

Eat, Knit and Dye

Remember how last week’s dye experiment had so much dye left over? I used it up on this project. I don’t like to dump unused dye down the drain because first off, its money that is just being washed away. Second, I don’t want the dye getting into the water supply and harming marine life. (Did you know the Puget Sound in Seattle has so much caffeine in it from our wastewaters? It’s true, look it up!)

I frequently have glass jars of unexhausted dyes that I use on yarns to make mystery colorways. I’ll have to write a post on that in the future, but for now, I have two pots of dye using Jacquard Acid Dyes in colors Turquoise and Hot Fuchsia. I’ve done a bunch of gradients before, but I wanted to see how it would work in pots.

This week’s yarn of choice is Kinky Yarn, a 100% Superwash Wool that comes in a nifty tube, which is just perfect for dyeing gradients because you don’t have to make your own. The coil of yarn was soaked in water for 2 hours before starting. I unrolled half of the coil and started dipping it into the dye bath.

I draped the yarn over the edge of the pot, made sure the coil was nowhere near the flame, and let the dye (finally!) exhaust.

The pink end was pulled out of the hot water and cooled to the point I could touch it. Then other end was uncoiled, and I repeated the same dipping into the Turquoise. I made sure the Fuchsia and Turquoise overlapped to create lovely shades of purple.

Once I was happy with the overlap, I let the coil hang out in the dye bath until the dye had exhausted.

Using this method, I highly suspected that there was unexhausted dye inside the coil, so I put it all (and the Twisted Skein from last week) into the water and let it heat for another 15 minutes until the water was completely clear. The yarn was rinsed, patted dry with a towel and hung up to dry.

I’m pleased with how this yarn turned out. I should note the Hot Fuchsia is so intensely bright that it blew out on my camera. I’m okay with the near glowing brightness. I do wish there was more of a gradient overlap. I think this isn’t my favorite way of getting smooth color changes. But I’m glad I tried it because now I know!

To keep the kinky texture, the yarn should be kept in its tube form. You can knit directly from this tube. However, I wanted to show you how the yarn looks as a cake, so I wound it up.  (Pictures below are not to scale.)

Stay tuned for next week when it’s October and I show you some Halloween inspired yarn!

We also have several other tutorials on how to dye Kinky Yarn!

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

Knit Purl Hunter October 2019 Knit Along

Join us for Michelle’s Final Knit-Along before she takes a sabbatical!

You read correctly!  This will be Michelle’s final regularly scheduled KAL so skacel is going all out! To celebrate, skacel will be giving away EXTRA pirizes for the KAL drawings!

The first week’s clues drops Thursday, October 10th.

"This will be my last KAL for now as I take a sabbatical to spend time with my ever-expanding family.  Have no worries!  While I am globetrotting and rocking babies, my website and videos will remain in place to assist you.  I will continue to monitor the Knit Purl Hunter group on Ravelry where I’ve made many new friends. I can’t wait to share the yarn, stitches and good times together!" - Michelle Hunter

Project

If you love to “try out” new stitch patterns, then Audition is a KAL you won’t want to miss!  This generously sized asymmetrical shawl debuts four unique stitch patterns. Each pattern features interesting stitches along with improved ways to execute old standards.
 
The shawl is knit using the lovely shades of HiKoo® Simplicity Spray or Simplicity Tonal by HiKoo® and is paired with two skeins of solid HiKoo® Simplicity
 
While the shawl design is a mystery, it is no secret that video tutorials and daily support are available all throughout the knit along.  

Materials

Materials

1 Cake HiKoo® Simplicity Spray 

2 hanks HiKoo® Simplicity Solid 


OR


4 Hanks HiKoo® Simplicity Tonal 

2 Hanks Solid HiKoo® Simplicity

Finished Size

Unknown - It's a Mystery!

Needles

addi® US 7 (4.5 mm) 24" - 32" circular or size to obtain gauge

Gauge

Approximately 20 stitches and 41 rows = 4” in garter stitch, unblocked

Notions

Yarn

Fiber Content

55% Merino Superwash, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon

Yardage / Weight

Simplicity Tonal and Solids:

117 yards per 50 gram hank


Simplicity Spray:

456 yards per 200 gram cake

Gauge

US 4-6 needles

3.5-4mm needles

Approx. 5 sts per inch

Care Instructions

Machine wash cold, tumble dry low heat

Shiloh Twisted Resistance

Eat, Knit and Dye

Join the resistance! Okay, the yarn dyeing resistance isn’t nearly as cool as it sounds, but I think this dye technique is pretty nifty and I’ve seen some awesome yarns.

This week’s undyed yarn base is Shiloh - 44% Wool, 42% Cotton, and 14% Nylon. What I’m really curious about it how the cotton will react to the acid dyes. My hunch is they won’t dye but let’s find out!

To keep things simple, I’m only using two Jacquard Acid Dyes in Turquoise and Hot Fuchsia. Here's your safety reminder: wear a respirator and use dye-dedicated pots and utensils.

I started with a pot of water, 1/8 tsp of Turquoise and 1 tsp of citric acid. Unsure if felting would happen, I didn’t turn on the heat yet. Instead, I twisted the dry hank up nice and tight and gently placed it on top of the water, where it bobbed like a strange apple. The heat was turned on low and I attended to a different yarn I was dyeing that the same time.

Eventually, the hank sank into the water and became fully submerged. In retrospect, I added to much dye powder because the dye wasn’t anywhere near to exhausting. That’s okay, I used it for another project.

Using tongs (because that water is hot), I pulled out the hank. I was worried because the entire thing looked like one solid color, but I continued.

I was able to use the tongs to untwist the hank and I let it cool in the sink. This is where I got excited because clearly, the resist was working!

Once the yarn was at room temperature, I re-twisted up the wet hank, making sure a lot of the white areas were exposed. Then I put it back into a pot of water, 1/8 tsp Hot Fuchsia, and 1 tsp of citric acid. I turned on the heat and let the hank marinate for about 10 minutes.

Again, the dye didn’t entirely exhaust, so I used it on another project. To make sure all the dye had set and so I wouldn’t be rinsing out water for forever, I put both this hank and the other project using the same dye into a pot of water (some of the dye came floating out of both yarns) and turned on the heat, letting the dye exhaust. You can see a coil of Kinky yarn underneath...you’ll learn more about that next week.

The yarn was then cooled to room temperature, rinsed and hung up to dry. And my oh my, it is sure pretty! I love how the resists kept some areas turquoise and others pink, but some areas blended into a lovely purple. And the undyed areas help break up the color. I even love how the white cotton didn’t dye at all, giving it a fun texture. This is definitely a win for me!

Stay tuned for next week when I use the same colors in a different technique and on Kinky Yarn!

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

Lillian Double Rainbow

Eat, Knit and Dye

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I am also an artist who works with watercolors and colored pencils. I’ve been lucky enough to be in a handful of art shows and galleries. I love working in those two mediums because of the color blending that can be achieved. I’ve really found that working with yarn dye is very similar to watercolors and I wanted to try an experiment with triads.

This week’s undyed yarn is Lillian - a stunning single ply of 100% Mulberry Silk which will take dye intensely and beautifully. Once it’s dyed it will have this sort of lustery glow. (And yes, I made that word up.)

What is a triad? It’s when you only use 3 colors and mix those to get all of the other colors. I’ve posted an image of "Octopus Garden" that I created using a triad. For those who are curious, I used Phthalo Blue Green Shade, Hansa Yellow Medium and Quinacridone Rose. And it’s created a delightful rainbow of color that all works together because it doesn’t introduce any addition new hues. 

So how do I recreate this on a skein of yarn? To start with, I need three colors of acid dyes. I chose Jacquard Acid Dyes in Turquoise, Hot Fuchsia and Sun Yellow. These colors closely match the art I showed you above.

I filled up my trusty dye dedicated pot with water, 1/8 tsp of the Turquoise and 1 tbsp of citric acid. I used a high amount of citric acid because I wanted the dye to strike quickly. The pot was set to almost before simmering. I also soaked the yarn in water for 2 hours before dyeing.

Holding the yarn in the middle of the hank, I let the ends hang down. I really thought I took a picture of this, but it turns out I didn’t. I dipped just the very ends in the yarn, over and over again, slowly moving up the skein. I made sure that I didn’t go past the halfway mark on the yarn. If I went much further, I wouldn’t be able to get the other two primary colors.

I continued this dipping until the dye had exhausted. I put the hank over to the side to let it cool and added a bit more water, citric acid and 1/8 tsp of Hot Fuchsia into the pot. I picked up the hank of yarn around the middle but rotated the center point over by a third. This ensured that some bare yarn would get the Hot Fuchsia dye and there would be some overlap with the Turquoise but didn’t completely cover it. If that didn’t make sense, you can see the finished hank below.

I bet you can guess what happened next! I let the pink dye exhaust and moved onto the Sun Yellow (1/4 tsp of it!). I again rotated the yarn so that the bare yarn would get the yellow color and then fade into both then pink and the blue areas.

And a beautiful double rainbow has emerged! You can see from this lovely picture from the dry yarn how I held the yarn to dip into the blue dye. 

I’m excited because this yarn turned out exactly the way I want it to. A full spectrum of the rainbow using only three colors. Lillian would be lovely combined with Zitron Traumseide. But did you know you can embroider with this Mulberry silk as well? And that’s what I’m going to. This destined to become part of a fancy dress that I can wear to parties.

Stay tuned for next week where we try out twisted resistance! (Doesn’t that sound like a rock song?)

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

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