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Lil’ Sharon Rainbow Fade Hand Dyed Yarn

Eat, Knit and Dye

I think that this has been my most ambitious experiment to date. Not only did I want to create 6 different skeins in a series, but I also used a technique that I had never tried before. So, grab some popcorn, and join me on this very messy dyeing adventure! This week features the undyed yarn Lil’ Sharon, which is a mini-skein of Sharon. Sharon Undyed Sock Yarn is a non-wool, sock weight springy alternative to wool and is 55% Cotton, 16% Bamboo, 8% Silk, and 21% Elastic Nylon.

Mini skeins are a great way to test out new techniques or a fade set before you commit to a larger project. I’m also betting that the different fiber types take up the dye in different ways, which I’m hoping will lend a great texture to the yarn. For this set, my goal is 6 skeins where 1/3 of the skein is a rainbow and the rest is a solid color. Each of the solid colors will be different, so in the end, I will have a full rainbow.

To accomplish a harmonious rainbow, I used only primary dye colors and used those to create the secondary colors. I mixed the primary colors dye powders and 8 ounces of hot water into 3 plastic condiment bottles. I used:

•    ¼ tsp of Jacquard Sun Yellow
•    ¼ tsp of Jacquard Sky Blue
•    1/8 tsp of Jacquard Fire Red

To mix the secondary colors, I poured the primary colors into other bottles and mixed them together to get orange, purple and green.

Red + Yellow = Orange
Red + Blue = Purple
Yellow + Blue = Green

While I was mixing the colors, the mini skeins were all happily soaking in a bowl of water with 1 tbsp of citric acid. After they had been there for 30 minutes, I pulled out the first skein, squeezed out the excess liquid and laid it down on top of the copious amount of plastic cling wrap I had covered my countertop with. I took a deep breath and then started slowly pouring the green dye stock onto the yarn.

It was messy. The yarn was so wet, and the dye didn’t cover all the yarn, and I was really concerned I hadn’t made enough dye. Luckily, I was able to mop up the giant puddles to get consistent coverage. Seeing how wet the yarn was, for the rainbow portion I decided to only use the primaries and not try to add any of the secondary colors. This turned out to be a good idea judging from all the dye that was left on the cling wrap.

I wiped up the excess dye with a paper towel, and folded the cling wrap over the yarn, making sure to keep the two sections separate. And then rolled it up like a cinnamon roll. Again, I wrapped the cinnamon roll in more plastic wrap and placed it on a dye dedicated plate. Into the microwave it went for 2 minutes. (Note: If you are worried about using the same microwave for food and dye, you can wrap them in an extra layer of protection using a slow cooker bag. For me, I just ripped out a 1990s monstrosity of a microwave out of my kitchen. That monster lives in my garage now, and its where I microwave my yarn.)

I microwaved the yarn 2 more times in sets of 2 minutes. Everything out there I have read tells me to keep doing that until the dye exhausts and the leftover water was clear. I was nowhere near that, but I decided I had used more than enough dye, and it had probably set. Plus I didn’t want to totally nuke the yarn. Using tongs, I picked up the yarn roll and left it in my sink to cool to room temperature. That little roll of yarn was super-hot!

I switched tactics at this point. Clearly, I had way too much liquid between the wet yarn and the liquid dye stock. I wrapped up the remaining skeins of presoaked yarn in a towel and let it absorb a whole bunch of moisture. Then I added the main color just the same way as I did for the green skein. But before I added the rainbow, I picked up the skein by the undyed part and squeezed out the excess dye into a glass jar. This leftover dye would be used on another experiment as I didn’t want to just flush the leftover dye down the drains (both for the environment and my pocketbook). Then I wiped up the excess dye on the plastic wrap and added the rainbow bit.

I just kept doing this method for the remaining skeins. I always made sure to wrap the skeins the same way and have the rainbow part on top of the cinnamon roll. I didn’t think it really made a difference, but I wanted to be consistent. I microwaved the remaining skeins for the same amount of time.

I had some concerns about the blue because the color was so pale. It looked so washed out and it barely had any color. But I learned that this is a color that really develops during the heat set process. The Sky Blue turned out so vibrant and gorgeous.

After all the yarn rolls had cooled to room temperature, I unwrapped them. This will take way longer than you think because those coils hold in heat really well. But I rinsed the yarn and washed it with clear dish soap, towel dried them, and hung them up to dry.

I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. Some of the rainbows, especially the yellow in the rainbow sections got completely overtaken. This doesn’t surprise me, because yellow is always the first to vanish. I think if I try this again in the future, I want to have the rainbow section elevated. Or I might try another technique. Either way, this was a fun process!

Lessons learned:

•    Some colors need to be heat set to really see the vibrancy
•    Too much water is your enemy with this technique
•    Just keep going even when it seems like something isn’t working, you will still get lovely results.

If I wanted to pair this with a solid, I would pair it with HiKoo® CoBaSi and make some totally rainbow-rrific socks!

Stay tuned for next week where I play with over dyeing.

Ready to make your own 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

July 2019 Knit Along with Franklin Habit

Franklin Habit's Counterpane Pillow Knit-Along 
Featuring Zitron Herbstwind 

Join us for Franklin Habit’s Counterpane Pillow Knit-Along featuring Zitron Herbstwind, a fantastically soft extrafine Merino wool from Tasmania. We know you love Franklin's patterns as much as we do, and joining this knit-along is easy:

1.) Purchase the pattern on Ravelry HERE, and join along using existing stash, or handspun yarn. 

2.)  Purchase a minimum of 3 balls of Zitron Herbstwind in the color(s) of your choice, from Makers' Mercantile, now through the end of July. Enter your Ravelry ID at the time of purchase and automatically receive your digital copy of the pattern when the KAL kicks off on July 5th. 

The Counterpane Knit-Along starts Friday July 5, 2019.  Get your supplies now!

Project

The Counterpane Pillow is worked in pieces, and then joined together with simple finishing. Five buttons complete the cover. 

This project requires knitting knowledge including: knit/purl, simple increasing/decreasing, and finishing; all on straight or circular needles. 

Need buttons? Enter code COUNTERPANE at checkout to receive 15% off buttons for your Counterpane Pillow!

Materials

Materials

Zitron Herbstwind 

1-color Pillow: 3 balls of one color

2-color Pillow: 2 balls C1, 2 ball C2

3-color Pillow: 1 balls C1, 1 ball C2, 1 ball C3

Finished Size

12” (30.48 cm) high x 12” (30.48 cm) wide

Needles

addi US 3 (3.25 mm) 24” (60 cm) circular, or size needed to obtain gauge 

Gauge

24 sts and 28 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch

Notions

Yarn

Zitron's Herbstwind - a fantastically soft extrafine Merino wool from Tasmania.   Learn more about this fantastic yarn!

Fiber Content

100% Tasmanian Merino Extrafine

Yardage / Weight

50 grams

Approximately 181 yds (165 m)

Gauge

US 5-6 needles

5 - 6.75 stitches per inch

Care Instructions

Superwash, dry flat

Tutorial Videos

Zitron Farm Tasmania

Herbstwind and Silbermond

Zitron's Herbstwind and Silbermond

Atelier Zitron introduces exclusive Tasmanian Wool into the handwork industry and Makers’ Mercantile® is extremely proud to be offering it!

Atelier Zitron has always been on the forefront of producing sustainable, earth and consumer friendly knitting and crochet yarns. Zitron was one of the first yarn companies to apply for and obtain the Oeko-Tex 100 rating for all their yarns. This has not always been important to crafters, until now.  Times are changing, and more and more people want to know exactly where their products come from, who is making them, and how they are made. The key seems to be transparency in the process.  Zitron has done just that.

Zitron’s newest yarns, Silbermond and Herbstwind, are both created from Tasmanian Merino Wool.  What makes this wool so special? To begin with, Tasmania is an island where sheep outnumber people 7 to 1. That’s pretty awesome in itself. But there is so much more!  Since the land has always been free of chemicals and toxins, it produces grass that is high in protein, the perfect recipe for a thick, healthy and luxurious fleece. So soft in fact, that the micron count is between 16 and 19 – equivalent to most cashmere!

Tasmanian Sheep Shearing

The sheep are also treated respectfully, raised in a totally natural environment, and only sheared once a year to prevent over exposure to humans.  It is also guaranteed that there is absolutely no museling.   The Mantacute Farm, where the sheep are raised (check them out on google!), is being run by the fifth generation of the Hallet family.  They have the experience, the know-how and the pride, of bringing some of the world’s finest Merino to market.

Production starts with the sheep – and it doesn’t end there. Once shorn, the fleeces are sent to Germany, where they are cleaned, spun and dyed, in a sustainable way that leaves a positive imprint, not a negative one.  While Germany has the highest ecologically correct requirements in the world, that is not why Klemens Zitron (owner) chose to do so.  He is truly concerned with the environment and the impact us humans have had on the world. Zitron invests in having all his yarns tested by Oeko-Tex to verify their high standards. Each yarn has a Oeko-Tex rating of 100. Learn more about Oeko-Tex by visiting their website.

Zitron Family

So, if you are looking for a yarn that can make you feel proud to be using it, Herbstwind and Silbermond by Zitron should be at the top of your list!

German Lesson: ‘Herbstwind’ means Fall Wind and ‘Silbermond’ means Silver Moon.

Lila Pink Lemonade Dyed Yarn

Eat, Knit and Dye

Summer is coming! I’m so excited about the gloriously sunny days where all I want to do is sip lemonade and hang out in a hammock. That’s the inspiration for this week’s yarn dyeing tutorial. Wanting a fun and lightweight yarn, I chose Lila. Lila Undyed Lace Yarn is a truly luscious single-ply wool and silk blend yarn that will take dyes beautifully. It is 70% Merino Extra Fine and 30% Silk.

Before I got started, I tied up the skein of yarn in 3 different places to help the yarn from getting unruly during the dyeing process. Lila is so fine I wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything to make it a tangled mess. I have a ton of embroidery floss that I have just laying around from making friendship bracelets (it’s only been 25+ years since the last time I made a friendship bracelet, it’s probably time to use up that floss!) I made sure to tie the floss loosely, so the yarn could move and not create white spots where the dye didn’t penetrate.

Dyes used are:
•    1/8 tsp of Jacquard Pink
•    1/8 tsp of Jacquard Sun Yellow
•    Speckles of Jacquard Hot Fuchsia and Golden Yellow

And as always, everything you see pictured is used only for dyeing as acid dye isn’t food safe. And it’s not pictured, but I am wearing a respirator to protect my lungs from tiny dye particles.

You’ll see my trusty brownie pan is used in this experiment. Should you wish to try this at home, you don’t really need the fancy pan, a regular pot would work. Mine was just busy dyeing something else at the time. 

I placed the yarn into the brownie pan which is stretched across two burners, turning the heat on low to get the water just before simmering. At this point, I added 1 tsp of citric acid into the water and then laid the yarn into the water. I wanted to see what would happen with just using powdered dye instead of making a dye stock. Would this lead to some interesting variations in the concentration of dye on the yarn? It’s not as dense as speckling. More like a freckling?

To add the dye to the water, I filled up my measure spoon and then dipped the spoon into the water. It’s my hope that this keeps the dye from becoming airborne and coating my kitchen in yellow and pink dye. I added Pink to one end and Sun Yellow to the other end. (If you wanted to duplicate this using a pot, you could dip dye the gradient similar to the Fiery Sunset from last week or you could put the yarn into the pot and the dye on different sides of the pot.)

Using my fork, I wiggled the yarn around to help it penetrate into the middle of the skein. I kept a constant watch on the yarn. And waited for the dye to exhaust.

I liked the color of the skein as it was, but I didn’t love it. The freckling had come through. The pink and the yellow (and in some places orange) were nice and bright, but it still seemed a little flat. Since this is all an experiment, this seemed like an excellent opportunity to play with speckles to enhance the freckles. This is also why I chose to speckle in Hot Fuchsia and Golden Yellow. They are a darker colored dye and it’s my hope they would add an extra color punch to the skein.

Using a mini strainer, I scooped up about 1/8 tsp of the powdered dye and put it in the strainer. If you are trying this, make sure to have the strainer resting on the dye bottle because a bunch of dye will immediately go through the mesh and create a mess. In retrospect, I should have put down wet paper towels to catch the stray dye particles, but I also didn’t want the paper close enough to my burners to catch fire….

In order to apply the sprinkles, I tapped the strainer over the yarn and let the sprinkles fall. I tapped Hot Fuchsia over the middle of the yarn were the two colors met and slightly overlapping the pink and yellow sections. It looked a little dark and messy, and I wasn’t sure I loved it because of the dark splotches. But that’s okay, I kept on persevering. With the Golden Yellow, I tapped the sprinkles over the yellow section. It was looking a bit more like how I had imagined it.

I let the yarn cool completely in the pan. Then I washed it with some clear dish soap and hung it outside to try. And that’s when I saw how pretty the yarn turned out. The speckling adds so much texture, and once the hank was twisted, the splotches weren’t as concentrated. It totally reminds me of summer and drinking pink lemonade. I’d call this experiment a win!

And out on the porch to dry in the glorious spring sunshine. I have found that yarn dries so much faster outside in the warm weather than it does hung on a towel bar in my laundry room. And makes a way pretty picture too!

Lessons Learned

•    Lighter colors like Pink and Sun Yellow create clear bright colors, but don't have a ton of variation.
•    Speckling is fun. And Messy

If I wanted to pair this with a solid, I would pair it with Zitron Filisilk which comes with a dazzling array of colors. Now to add this to my ever-growing stash! I need to start knitting much much faster.

Stay tuned for next week where I show you my most ambitious project to date, a rainbow fade set!

Ready to make your own 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 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

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 Dyed Yarn

Eat, Knit and Dye

Today we continue our dye experiments by playing with dip dying! This week features Sadie, an undyed sock yarn that arrives in 70-inch / 175 cm diameter hank. This is a longer-than-typical circumference and is done so to allow for modifications in specific types of dying. It’s an 80% Merino Extrafine Superwash Wool and 20% Nylon blend, and wow, is it squishy. This yarn was selected because of its larger hank diameter, and I figured I could get a more dramatic gradient out of it. So let's see what we can do!

For color inspiration I used this intense sunset. Looking at the photo, I see blue, violet, magenta, orange and yellow. I left out the black because I felt it would be too much with all the colors and wouldn’t really add anything to the yarn. And I added in a red band to help with the transition from orange to magenta. All of the colors were mixed into 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp of citric acid (the high acid lets it strike faster)

•    Yellow = 1/4 tsp Jacquard Sun Yellow
•    Orange = 1/4 tsp Jacquard Sun Yellow and 1/4 tsp Deep Orange
•    Red = 1/4 tsp Jacquard Fire Red
•    Magenta = 1/4 tsp Jacquard Hot Fuchsia
•    Purple = 1/8 tsp Jacquard Violet and 1/8 tsp Brilliant Blue
•    Blue = 1/4 tsp Jacquard Brilliant Blue

Sunset by Marks Polakovs

Out comes my trusty dedicated dye pot (remember, acid dyes aren’t food safe, so all your pots and utensils should be used only for dyeing.) Fun fact, this pot has been with me for 20 years. It was part of my first pot and pan set when I started college. The Teflon started scratching off, so it became my dedicated crafting pot.

But I digress. Let's get back to dyeing! I filled the pot with 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp of water. While wearing a respirator (to protect my lungs!), the powdered dye was added directly to the pot stirred around until it was dissolved. After turning on the heat, I brought the liquid to just under simmering.

I soaked the yarn in plain water for 30 minutes, and then squeezed out the excess water with a towel. To dye this extra-long hank, I grabbed it around the middle and let the remainder rest looped over my arm. Once the water was at the desired temperature, I quickly dipped just the end of the yarn into the dye bath and immediately removed it. I repeated this maneuver several times, each time dipping the yarn a bit further in, but the dye bath was nowhere close to exhausting (when all the dye is gone, and the water is clear.) And my arm was already getting tired and there are several more colors to go! Something had to be done...

Since this is an experiment and its fun, I decided to see if I could just drape the yarn over the edge of the pot and let it just hang out while the dye was absorbed. And drum roll please, it worked! Do make sure your yarn isn’t anywhere near the burner. My stove is a gas range, and I was extra paranoid about the yarn catching on the open flame. I didn’t leave the kitchen while the dye was doing its thing. But I did catch up on my Instagram account.

Once the dye bath was getting pretty clear, I dipped the yarn back in at varying depths to get the gradient. Also, I swished around the yarn to ensure that color is deposited on all the strands. And now our water is clear! Needing to prep the next color and to let the yarn cool, I draped it over my faucet and protected the undyed part by keeping it in its own bowl.

I replenished the water in the pot so it was at the same level as before and added the orange dye to the pot and let it dissolve. And waited impatiently for the yarn to cool to a point where I could squeeze out the excess water. Remember, the yarn is at near boiling temperatures, so don’t burn your hand when trying this!

Once the yarn was cool enough (finally!) I picked it up with both hands, again looping the extra yarn over the back of my wrist and did the same dip dyeing method as before. And I let it rest on the edge of the pot folded over its self until the dyed exhausted. And guess what? This is what you do for the remainder of the colors.

Once all the colors were finally dyed, I let it cool in my sink, keep the yellow part looped over the faucet. I know from experience with watercolors that anytime you put yellow by any other color, there is a good chance that the yellow section will pick up that other color. It’s almost as bad as trying to leave a white section. Almost.

Once the yarn was cooled off, I rinsed it with cold water. Then I washed it with a bit of clear dish soap to dislodge any excess dye that wasn’t removed during the rinsing process. I always kept the yellow dye at the top of the skein out of color running paranoia. (Is that a real thing? It should be!)

And out on the porch to dry in the glorious spring sunshine. I have found that yarn dries so much faster outside in the warm weather than it does hung on a towel bar in my laundry room. And makes a way pretty picture too!

Lessons Learned

•    The red dye is super-duper extra saturated and that I probably needed to use way less of that color
•    My red section is much larger than I had anticipated because of the strong pigment. I suppose I could have dumped the dye water and added less, but I don’t want to waste pigment or wash it down the drain.

This is such a pretty colorway, and I really like how the extra-long hank gave me lots of room to play with the gradient. Our matching equivalent of Sadie is Zitron Wolkenspiel. Can’t you just see this yarn combined with Colorway 2231, an absolutely vibrant yellow/orange mix?

Ready to make your own 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

The Chilly Dog May 2019 Knit Along Week Four

Having fun with the Line Drawing Knit Along with Ellen Thomas of The Chilly Dog?

The fourth week is all about the heel and Ellen has provided a video to help you out.

Don't forget to join us on the Makers' Mercantile Ravelry Discussion Group!

Want more info on the KAL or Zitron Art Deco Yarn?  Check out our KAL Information.

Still need your yarn or other supplies?  Check out Makers' Mercantile!

Leslie Alpenglow Dyed Yarn

Eat, Knit and Dye

For today’s installment of Eat, Knit and Dye, I decided to try a color combination that is outside my normal intense color range. I was thinking of something like dawn at Mt. Rainier and I wanted it to be a lacy yarn, so I choose Leslie as my undyed base. Leslie is a single-ply of 100% Merino Wool superwash, perfect for intricate lace projects (656 yards / 100 gram hank.)

This is a complete experiment, so who knows what will happen.  This could be a beautiful colorway.  It could be a complete disaster.  Either way, its going to be fun to try!

Closer inspection of this gorgeous photo led me to select 5 colors: gold, coral, lavender, blue and grey. I knew I was going to be doing some color mixing to get the shades that I desired, so I decided to premix the colors into condiment bottles. Here are the recipes and all are mixed with 2 ounces of water.
   •    Gold = 1/16 tsp Jacquard Golden Ochre,  1/16 tsp Bright Yellow
   •    Coral = 1/8 tsp Jacquard Salmon
   •    Lavender = 1/16 tsp Jacquard Periwinkle, 1/16 tsp Lilac
   •    Blue = 1/18 tsp Jacquard Sky Blue, a pinch of Silver Grey
   •    Grey = 1/8 tsp Jacquard Gun Metal

Don't be afraid to change the colors to different shades of color. This is an experiment.  For example, the coral recipe is a warmer tone then that in the picture because its representing the bright pink and the orange in the picture.

Mt. Rainier by Jordan Steranka

While my colors were being mixed, I soaked my yarn in a bowl of water and 1 tsp of citric acid for 30 minutes. (Also notice that I used embroidery floss to tie the hank together in a few sections to keep the yarn from becoming a tangled mess). And then I transferred it into my trusty brownie pan and placed it over two burners on my stove. I also knew I’d be doing speckles, so I protected my stove by covering the surface with tin foil. And as always, a reminder that acid dye is not food safe, so everything you see here is used only for dyeing yarn and never for food prep.

I had this grand, glorious idea of a mottled, shifting yarn. I poured the yarn soaking water into the brownie pan. Keeping the water very shallow, parts of the yarn remained above the waterline. The dye was dripped into splotches of random color. It very quickly became apparent the dye was striking quickly, and it was only attaching to the surface of the yarn.

OK, so that didn't work. Time for a different tactic! I added more water, so the yarn was completely submerged, and then added a generous amount of dye in blocks of color. Some wiggling of the yarn with my prongs ensured the dye water was circulating. Satisfied I was getting more of the effect I wanted, I allowed the yarn to soak up all the colors, and exhaust the dye. (Exhausting the dye bath is a term that means all the color has attached itself to the fibers, and the remaining liquid is clear.)


Once the liquid was mostly clear, I used my tongs to check and see if the underside of the yarn had dyed, and the answer was... wait for it....

No.

That's OK. This is all an experiment, remember? And it's just yarn. And dye. And time. In the end, we are sure to end up with something interesting, and I'm learning so much as I go.

So, I rotated the yarn in the pan so that the undyed sections were facing up, while keeping the colors in the same section. Then, I added more dye to the water, again letting it exhaust.

Now that the color is fairly uniform, its time to add speckles! I decided to add the speckles in only two of the colors because I didn’t want this visually busy yarn being overwhelmed. For this yarn, I used Salmon and Gun Metal. I added  powdered dye into a tea strainer (make sure you do this over the open dye jar; or a lot of the powder will go straight through the strainer and all over your counter. (I found this out the hard way!) Using a measuring spoon, tap the side of the strainer to allow some of the dye powder to drift down into the bath and it will lightly speckle the yarn. I tapped the Salmon color over the gold, salmon, and lavender sections. I tapped the Gun Metal over all the colors.

I figured I was done at this point and turned off the heat and let it cool. Once cooled off, I transferred the yarn to my sink. At this point, I noticed that the pink section didn’t get all the way dyed. No worries; I just turned the heat back on and added more pink dye to the remaining liquid, and draped the yarn over the pan so the undyed yarn could get some color. I allowed the dye to exhaust again.

NOW it's gorgeous. Finally done, I rinsed the yarn in the sink. Adding  a drop of clear dish soap helped to remove the excess dye. Once the water ran clear, I squeezed out the excess water with a towel and then hung the yarn it outside to dry. 

I am super pleased how this experiment turned out. And I learned a lot.

Lessons Learned

- My trusty brownie pan is not great for circulating water
- Mixing acid dyes can create some pretty new colors
- Always check through the strands of yarn to ensure even color distribution

- Take care when handling dye in powdered form

Want to match your dyed hank of Leslie with a solid color? Here's a fun fact: Leslie is the undyed version of Zitron Filigran, which comes in solids and multicolors. Combine your hand dyed with a solid for a fun stripe, or mosaic, or colorwork piece! We want to see your project! 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
Monster Along with BeLinda Creech

June 2019 Monster Along with Belinda Creech

BeLinda Creech's "Monster"  Make-Along ...
Featuring Makers’ Mercantile exclusive Kinky Yarn

BeLinda Creech is hosting June’s Makers’ Mercantile KAL

Join educator and toy-maker BeLinda Creech for the June Makers' Mercantile Monster-Along! Using Kinky Yarn, she will provide ideas and encouragement as you craft your very own monsters. All it takes is 1/2 of a coil of Kinky Yarn, a little felt, some buttons, and your inner child! We can't wait to see everyone's creations!

Want the pattern for free? Purchase Kinky Yarn now through 6/30, and receive a download code for the pattern for free!

The Line Drawing Knit-Along starts Saturday June 1st, 2019.  Get your supplies now!

Project

Monster Along with BeLinda Creech

Toymaker BeLinda Creech handcrafts fiberarts “creechures” in her Kentucky studio. When showing her work at craft fairs and galleries, patrons comment “wow!” or “This is so amazing.. can I take a photo?” They love the imagination involved in crafting a toy but not many realize that the “making” of a toy is almost as magical as the giving it away.

In this Monster-Along, we're going to make a toy and talk about why it matters.

BeLinda took her little Sharpie monster to knitting class yesterday and her students loved him. They talked about how cute he was and how he fit in their hands just perfectly and how he felt so good to hold. Guess what? All that stuff really matters to her. She loves seeing smiles, and making people laugh, and having a moment of joy. The size of the monster and its simplified features are part of what help it to be an ideal first toy for you to make (either alone, or with your little one).

For her, the most ideal toys come from imagination, and aren’t tied to culture or television shows. These special creatures provide the chance to create an identity as well. What name might you choose? Does he like popcorn? Beets? Does he live in the air conditioner because he likes how the wind blows through his fluffy body?

The best part? It's not just kid stuff. While BeLinda teaches children both in schools and at an art studio, many of her favorite customers are grown-ups who look at something she made and it sparks interest in their inner child.

Let’s make a new friend. Maybe it's for you, or a kid...or a grown-up friend that needs a little joy. BeLinda will be on Ravelry all June long to cheer you on in your project so come join the conversation there and feel free to ask questions.

Schedule

Join BeLinda and your fellow Monster-Makers in the Makers' Mercantile Ravelry Group Page. This forum provides a space for you to share progress, stories, and ideas as you bring your monsters to life. 

Materials

Materials

1 coil of Kinky Yarn

Finished Sizes

Approximately 9” from hand to hand, and 8” head to toe, 2” thick 

Needles

Gauge

12 sts + 24 rows in 4” garter stitch

Notions

Tapestry Needle, Stitch MarkerTwo (2) buttons or safety eyes, scrap felt, embroidery thread, ¼ cup vinegar, Polyfill or other stuffing, scissors

Skill Level

Intermediate

Yarn

Kinky Yarn - This fun yarn comes pre-knit in a 12 stitch tube (not an i-cord) and is ready to dye. Keep it coiled and place it in dye for an unusual effect, or open the coil and dip it all the way in a dyebath. Depending on your process, the yarn might have light spots where the fibers are compacted in the knitting. It's easy to dye this yarn, AND it's easy to get professional results, no matter your level of experience. 

Fiber Content

100% Superwash Wool

Yardage / Weight

200 grams
133 meters / 147 yards

Gauge

12-16 sts and 20-22 rows = 4" on US 10-13 (6-9.0 mm) needles

Care Instructions

Hand Wash Cold, Dry Flat

The Chilly Dog May 2019 Knit Along – Week Three

Having fun with the Line Drawing Knit Along with Ellen Thomas of The Chilly Dog?

The third week is all about the toe and Ellen has provided a video to help you out.

Don't forget to join us on the Makers' Mercantile Ravelry Discussion Group!

Want more info on the KAL or Zitron Art Deco Yarn?  Check out our KAL Information.

Still need your yarn or other supplies?  Check out Makers' Mercantile!

Long Gradient Dyeing

Long Gradient Hand Dye

Eat, Knit and Dye

I absolutely love color, and I am completely in love with hand-dyed yarns. It’s time for my two loves to meet each other! Hi, my name is Tara, and this is Eat, Knit and Dye! By day, I am the graphic designer for Makers’ Mercantile®. By night, I am discovering how to hand dye yarn. And you get to join me on this adventure on Wednesdays.

Did you know that Makers’ Mercantile® sells undyed yarn? Hopefully, you have already had a chance to check out Kinky Yarn and maybe even had some time to play with it. But they also have a whole slew of yarns in different weights and fibers just waiting for you to add some color. They even have the supplies you need for dyeing – acid dyes, natural dyes, and fashion sprays.

Want to learn how to make your own beautiful rainbow long gradient hand-dyed wool? Read on!

Long Gradient Yarn Dyeing
Long Gradient Dyeing

For my inaugural post, I decided to start with the undyed base called Frida. It’s a fingering yarn that is ultra-fine and unbelievable soft (16 microns!). It’s a 100% Merino Wool Superwash and comes in a 393 yard / 100-gram hank.

Before we get started, a note on safety. I’ll be using Jacquard Acid Dyes which are not food safe. So, all the tools you see are dedicated solely to dyeing. I am also wearing a face mask when working with the powdered dyes. They are an extremely fine particulate and you don’t want them in your lungs.

Long Gradient Yarn Dyeing

I wanted to try my hand at an extremely long gradient in the rainbow spectrum. That means over the course of 393 yards we will hit all 6 colors. I also didn’t want the yarn to be striping, so I want the color shifts to be gradual. To achieve that, I divided the yarn into lots of mini hanks. I sat down with an old coffee thermos and wrapped the yarn around it 20 times, then tied each hank with embroidery floss into two places. I just kept going until I ran out of yarn. (I highly suggest binge watching some shows while you do this, it's not a fast process.) Do make sure things don’t get tangled, and your hanks don’t have to be perfectly measured.

Long Gradient Yarn Dyeing

At my local thrift store, I found this really cool pan. It’s supposed to be for brownies so everyone can make sure they get an edge piece. Luckily, I like the middle parts of brownies, so I was happy to sacrifice this pan to this project. You’ll be seeing this pan in future posts. I wouldn’t dye more than one hank at a time, but it works really well for controlling the colors for that single hank.


Long Gradient Yarn Dyeing

I filled the pan up with water and 1 tsp of citric acid. Then I added the yarn, trying to distribute the yarn evenly along the path. I put the pan across two burners so the water could be sort of evenly heated. Then I let it soak for about 30 minutes while I prepared the dye. 

I wanted a bright, but supersaturated rainbow. For blue, I used a 50/50 mix of Jacquard Sky Blue and Turquoise. For red, I used a 50/50 mix of Jacquard Fire Red and Hot Fuchsia. And for yellow, straight Jacquard Sun Yellow. In 3 condiment squeeze bottles, I mixed up 1/8 tsp of powdered dye with 3 ounces of warm water. For the blue and the red dyes, I used 1/16 tsp of each color to get the total 1/8 tsp of powder. Then, holding my finger over the opening, I lightly shook the dye and water until it mixed. That took care of my primary colors. 

To get my secondary colors, I used three more empty squeeze bottles. I knew from previous experience that when mixing green or orange, you need more yellow then blue or red. To get green, I started with 1 ounce of yellow. Then I slowly added blue until I got the green color that I visually thought was the “right” green, which was approximately .5 ounces of the blue. I repeated that for orange by starting with 1 ounce of yellow and .5 ounces of red. Purple was equal parts of blue and red, so .75 ounces of each color. 

Now that my dye was ready to go, I turned on the heat to both burners at around low-medium. The water should be hot - almost simmering, but not boiling. Once the desired temperature was achieved, I carefully added my dye. I decided that each row had 3 brownie slices in it, so if I were making brownies, there would be 12 pieces. That means that each of the six colors would get 2 pieces. 

I started by adding the dye carefully making sure the wrong color didn't splash into the wrong place. After the dye was added, I used a prong to gently wiggle the dye water around, so the color spread out a bit. For the first dye addition round, I didn’t overlap the colors. 

Long Gradient Yarn Dyeing
Long Gradient Yarn Dyeing
Long Gradient Yarn Dyeing

Before I started the second round, I gently wiggled the yarn where the two colors touched to start the gradient mixing. I added the dye at the center of the color section and used the prong to wiggle the yarn around to get the gradual fade that I want. And while it is tempting to keep playing with the color, I stepped away from the pan and let the dye exhaust.

Why is dye exhausted? When it is just too tired to dye any more yarn? Sorry, bad joke. When the water has turned clear, or mostly clear, it means the dye has been absorbed by the yarn and there isn’t any dye left. Now was a great time to use that prong and check the yarn. I noticed that the bottom portion of the yarn didn’t have as much color, so I slightly rotated all the yarn to expose the white yarn areas. Being gentle, I don’t want to tangle all those mini skeins. Then I added more dye the same way I did before. And let the dye exhaust.

Long Gradient Yarn Dyeing

One more final check of the yarn and add any more dye if you need too. I was fine with the blues and red (even had dye left over) but my yellow mix was all gone. Instead of mixing more dye stock, I just added a pinch of yellow dye power right into the dye bath. Then I turned off the heat and impatiently waited for the yarn and pan to cool. As nifty as this pan is, it is made of some heavy-duty materials and it takes forever to cool down. (I know, I kept checking. Over and over.) 

Once it is finally cool, I took the whole pan to my sink. I needed to rinse the yarn but didn’t want to disturb the mini skeins. I added a smidge of clear dish soap to my hands and lightly massaged the yarn in place. I used the sprayer from my sink to rinse the yarn until all the bubbles were gone. Carefully drain the water.

I laid all the soaking wet skeins out on a towel and pressed it as dry as I could. Then I took them into my laundry room and spread them out on a different towel to let them dry overnight. (And be safe from my 10-month-old kitten who REALLY likes yarn.)

Long Gradient Yarn Dyeing
Long Gradient Yarn Dyeing

In the morning, the mini skeins were mostly dry, but I didn’t want them to sit there much longer because I didn’t want the yarn to get kinky. I loaded all the skeins into a coffee thermos and sat down to begin the unraveling. I wound the yarn around a cutting board to keep things nice and neat. And it will help with the final drying process. (Remember that show you were binge-watching? Go watch it some more!)

Long Gradient Dyeing
Long Gradient Dyeing

This yarn makes me absurdly happy. I put it in cake form so you can see the gorgeous gradient. Then put it back into a regular sized hank so that I could nicely store it in my yarn stash.

Long Gradient Dyeing
Long Gradient Yarn Dyeing

Lessons I learned:

  • Adjoining dye colors will seep into yellow no matter what, so a pure yellow is difficult to achieve.
  • The middle colors were a bit too crowded in the dye pan, so there were some areas where they dye didn’t penetrate. I’m okay with this, its hand-dyed yarn after all!

I am totally obsessed with this yarn. I absolutely can’t wait to start knitting it up. I’m thinking some sort of Fair Isle inspired sweater. And since I know I will need more yarn than just this glorious hank, the commercial equivalent of this yarn is Zitron Feinheit. I’m thinking a charcoal grey would really make the colors sing. I can’t wait to get started!

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