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Whidbey Blood Orange Gradient

Eat, Knit and Dye

While I have written at length about Jacquard Acid Dyes, did you know that Makers’ Mercantile carries another brand of acid dye as well? Wool Tinctures are these super cool little kits that come with the dye and citric acid in easy to use packages.

Fun fact: Wool Tinctures are from Whidbey Island here in Washington. So, in honor of that, my base this week is undyed Whidbey from Gauge Yarns. This Makers’ Mercantile exclusive is made from 47% Bamboo, 37% Superwash Merino, and 16% Nylon. I’ve dyed this yarn before – check out the Whidbey Forest Gradient. And in sticking with gradients, this time I’m going to try a variegated gradient.

The awesome thing about Wool Tinctures is how easy they are to use. The dye and the citric acid come in individual tea packets, which means you don’t need to wear a respirator. I’d still use dye dedicated pots and utensils though. I chose the color Blood Orange, which is an orangey-red color judging from the swatch in our store.

I dropped the dye powder dye bag into the water and let it start to dissolve. I opted to remove the citric acid from its pouch, but you could just drop it into the dye bath as well.

While the dye did its thing, I prepared the yarn skein for dyeing. I left the yarn dry, but I did put it on a shower ring. I’ve found that the shower ring not only makes dipping easier, it also keeps the yarn from tangling. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Now that the dye was dissolved, and my yarn was ready to go, I turned on the heat. While the water was starting to heat up, I dipped just the end of the hank into the water. This step was repeated multiple times as I gradually dipped the yarn further and further into the dye. I stopped at ¾ of the way up the hank.

To get one end supersaturated with dye, I hung a pants hanger from my upper cabinet, and looped the shower ring onto it (see! That thing is totally helpful!). From here, I just let the ends soak up more dye. Every once and while I would re-dip the yarn, making sure I had a smooth gradient.

At this time, I needed to make sure the remaining ¼ of the hank was also dipped into the dye bath. I decided to do it at this stage because I wanted it to be a light color and if I had dipped it earlier, there would be too much dye in the pot and it would over saturate my color.

Once I had gotten almost to the color that I wanted, I took the dye packet out of the water and let the remainder of the dye exhaust and the dye bath turned clear. All that was left after that was to let the yarn cool, rinse it, and hang it up to dry.

I’m loving the fade of colors and the different shades of gradient that was achieved. From the light pink to the deep red, it’s a beautiful colorway to add to my ever-increasing stash of yarn.

Although (Shh! It’s a secret!) there is a new shawl pattern for Whidbey that will be coming out in the next couple of weeks. It calls for two balls, so I could combine this new one-of-a-kind colorway with Whidbey Island. I’ll let you all know when it’s out!

Stay tuned for next week where we try an experiment it a light color base and a light grey base. How will it look different? I can’t wait to find out!

Don't forget there is a coupon code for Jacquard Acid Dyes! Just enter JACQUARD15 at check out and receive 15% off Jacquard Acid Dyes through August 31, 2019.

And last but not least, there are still a handful of the Oxford Crochet Basket Kits available!  This is the yarn that I used for the Dali Inspired Gradient Basket.  Get yours before it they are all gone!

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

Dominique Ice Dyeing

Eat, Knit and Dye

The sun is shining in Kent, WA. I know its summer and all, but sunshine isn’t a regular feature this time of the year in Western Washington. I’m so excited for fall to get here, but I figured I’d use some of the last days of summer to try an ice dyeing experiment. I’ve tried the technique on fabric and quite liked the results, but I have no idea how it will translate to yarn.

First things first, we need the yarn. For this week I chose Dominique, a DK weight that is slightly felted, single-ply, and 100% Merino Wool. My hope is this single-ply wool will show a bunch of color variation on the strand, and I didn’t want that to get lost in any plies.

I started with just the bare, dry yarn. The hank was wound with a wider diameter then some of the other undyed yarns we carry, so I was able to pile it into my pot in a random, haphazard manner.

I acquired a bag of ice from the grocery store. (You could use ice from your freezer, but I don’t have an ice maker and I wasn’t going to make a bazillion ice cubes. Because I am impatient.) I dumped a three-inch layer of ice on top of the yarn.

And out to my deck I went. I filled up some salt shakers with salt and dye powders. I used Jacquard Acid dyes in Hot Fuchsia, Turquoise, and Brilliant Blue. The salt was used because, in watercolor painting, the salt absorbs the pigment and leaves cool little splotches. I wanted to see if it did anything on the yarn. (Spoiler alert: You can skip this step!)

I liberally sprinkled the dye powder all over the ice, concentrating the colors in certain areas. I topped the dye powder off with a handful of citric acid sprinkled all over the dye. If you want to try this, I recommend doing this outdoors because the dye powder gets everywhere. And remember, wear a respirator and only use dye dedicated pots and utensils.

Last but not least, I put a huge chunk of ice on top of the whole thing. Then I went inside to get out of the sun. What? I’m a Washingtonian! I can’t handle sunshine for longer than 5 minutes.

And I just let the ice melt all day long. When I went outside to check on the yarn several hours later I kind of panicked. The ice had all melted, and the part of the yarn was all submerged, but the water had turned a dark purple color. But I reminded myself it’s just an experiment, and dark purple yarn is pretty too.

I took the pot back inside and put it on the burner. Water was added and the yarn was fully submerged.I turned on the heat, brought it up to nearly simmering and let the dye exhaust. This is where the water turns clear. It means the dye has been absorbed and set into the yarn. And this is where I did a happy dance.

And that's a shower ring I put around the hank.  I've found they cut down on tangling significantly when kettle dyeing.

Despite the dark purple water, there were all sorts of variation all over the yarn. It’s gorgeous and exactly what I was hoping for, and this was a good reminder to me to not give up and to just push through. I’m pretty excited this was a success. Now I want to try snow dyeing. But I have a feeling I’m going to have to wait for a long time for that!

Dominique is a fun yarn and would pair really well with Schoppel-Wolle Reggae in Ombre, Mélange, Print, or Solids. I might pair this with color Ombre 1505 (because I am a sucker for rainbow) or maybe Ombre 1536 to really get that contrast between the purple/yellow and orange/blue. But I think the real winner is Ombre 2095. I love how the pink and purple are a close match to my dyed yarn and blue/red is always a stunning combo. What do you think?

Join me next week where we are going to check out a different brand of acid dye and a variegated gradient!

And don't forget there is a coupon code for Jacquard Acid Dyes! Just enter JACQUARD15 at check out and receive 15% off Jacquard Acid Dyes through August 31, 2019.

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

September 2019 KAL with CraSy Sylvie Rasch

Join us this September for a KAL with Crasy˜ Sylvie Rasch!

Best known in North America as the inventor behind the addi® FlexiFlips (or Crasy Trio as they’re known abroad), Sylvie is also a prolific designer and online personality!

As always, there will be an opportunity to in skacel sponsored prizes at the end of the KAL!

See you on September 5, 2019 when the first part of the pattern will be available to download on skacel's website, and Ravelry.

Project

Sylvie designed these lovely Fan Dance socks, featuring wool-free HiKoo® CoBaSi.  Shown in both a solid and tonal colorway of CoBaSi, you could customize them even further by using a contrasting color for the toes and heels (optional).

While this project is not a mystery, the pattern will be released in parts over 4 consecutive weeks, beginning September 5, 2019. Sylvie will also be releasing helpful video tutorials along the way.

Materials

Materials

HiKoo® CoBaSi - 2 Hanks

Finished Size

Average Adult Foot

Needles

2.25mm addi® FlexiFlips, or size to obtain gauge

Gauge

30 sts and 42 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch

Notions

Yarn

HiKoo® CoBaSi  is a wool-free sock yarn - a cotton, viscose from bamboo and silk blend with elastic nylon for a gentle on the hands wool-like stretch. Soft and machine washable, this is a go-to for a variety of hardy garments. 

Fiber Content

55% Cotton, 16% Viscose from Bamboo, 8% Silk, 21% Elastic Nylon

Yardage / Weight

220 yards per 50 gram skein

Gauge

US 1-4 / 2.5-3.5 mm needles 

6.5-8 sts per inch

Care Instructions

Machine wash cold, dry flat

Oxford Dali Inspired Gradient

Eat, Knit and Dye

I know last week I promised a post on ice dyeing, but that’s just going to have to wait! One of the things I do for Makers’ Mercantile as a Graphic Designer is pattern formatting... which means I get to see all the patterns before they get released. And when the pattern for this crochet basket crossed my desk, I was hooked. (Yeah, I know, it’s a terrible pun.) Makers’ Mercantile is releasing this super cool kit that includes everything you need to make this basket, featuring Schoppel Oxford yarn.

I’ve been obsessed with Oxford and wanting to use it in a project. Its super-duper chunky nature makes it a natural for home goods. I’ve been wanting to try a crochet pattern, and I had just joined a Make-Along group on Ravelry called “Gorgeous Gradients”. Everything just fell into place and I knew this was the right time for me to do this project.

First things first. To get a gradient, I decided the easiest way would be to make my hank of Oxford into an i-cord. Using an addi Turbo in size US 19 (19!!!!!), I knit 5 stitches, and then slid the work back across the needles, never turning the work. Bonus: now I know how to make rope when the Zombie Apocalypse happens.

The hardest part of making the i-cord was the ridiculously cute cat who clearly wanted my attention. At least he wasn’t trying to "help"!

Once the i-cord was finished, I soaked the yarn in a basin of cold water and Synthrapol for 16 hours. Why so long? First, I wanted to make sure the yarn was thoroughly saturated because I didn’t want any undyed spots. Second, it was time to go to bed and then to work.

Because the MAL I am participating in is called a “Work of Art”, I needed to select a piece of artwork from a master. I chose Knights of Death by Salvador Dali. A grisly name for a beautifully colored piece. To match those colors, I used Jacquard Acid Dye in little glass spice jars.
  · 1/8 tsp Jacquard Fire Red
  · 1/8 tsp Jacquard Jet Black
  · 1/8 tsp Jacquard Brilliant Blue
  · 1/16 tsp Jacquard Brilliant Blue + 1/16 tsp Turquoise
  · 1/16 tsp Jacquard Turquoise + 1/16 tsp of Kelly Green
  · 1/16 tsp Jacquard Kelly Green
  · 1/16 tsp Jacquard Kelly Green + 1/8 tsp Sun Yellow

Before I got down to the fun part of dyeing, I needed to do all the prep work. I drained the water from the yarn and wrung it out about fifty billion times. Then for extra good measure, I wrapped the yarn in three towels and walked all over it. It’s amazing how much water that yarn can hold. Lastly, I prepped my counter by completely covering it in layers of plastic wrap.

I arranged the yarn in a zig-zag of 7 rows to match the 7 jars of dye I mixed up. This helps me know which jar goes with which row.

To apply, I used a syringe to squirt the dye on the middle section of each row. To make sure I got the i-cord thoroughly saturated, I applied dye on each side and lightly massaged it. Also, I washed my gloved hands between each color to make sure the color didn’t transfer.

I left the loops of the zig-zag undyed. This is where the gradient blending between colors is going to happen.

To achieve that, I squirted a heavy amount of the dye color (Color A) at the start of the bare area next to Color A, then applied less and less dye as I moved towards the next color (Color B). Then I went in the opposite direction, starting Color B heavily in the Color B area, and then less dye as it meets up with Color A. Once I was satisfied with the dye distribution, I massaged it all together, creating a lovely blend of color.

Next, I figured out how I was going to heat set this massive amount of yarn AND make sure the colors didn’t run together. I added a layer of plastic wrap over the yarn i-cord making sure the plastic wrap top layer was pushed down to the bottom layer, sandwiching the yarn.

Slowly, I peeled up the plastic wrap and started folding it over its self. This created a long flat package.

And finally, I folded the packet into thirds, so it would fit on a plate. Being extra paranoid, I wrapped the package in more plastic wrap. I popped it into the microwave for 2 minutes. I let it rest for 15 seconds, then microwaved it for 2 minutes. I repeated this one more time for a total of six minutes. Then I let it cool for hours because handling the steamy wet wool can cause felting.

From previous experience, I was learned that for me, the microwave method doesn’t always exhaust the dye and there would be a lot of dye left in the yarn. I filled up my sink with water and some clear dish soap and dropped in sections of yarn (for this picture it’s the Brilliant Blue through Kelly Green section). When using red and green dye on the same piece, don’t let them soak together in this stage because red+green=ugly brown). So much excess dye came out of the yarn, I dropped in a couple of hanks of Sadie to help soak up the extra dye.

When the water was finally clear-ish, I gave it one final rinse, wrung it out and hung it out on my porch to dry. I’m pretty satisfied with how the colors turned out. The black turned way more grey then I was anticipating, but all in all, it fits in with my color scheme, and the yarn contained in an i-cord was a great thing, because I don’t have a ball winder that would handle that yarn.

I sat down with my friends Roq and Holly, who walked me through the basics of crocheting and got me started.  Yup, this is the first thing I've ever crocheted! This basket was super fun to make and pretty quick too. I love how it turned out! It striped more than I thought it would, but that’s because I didn’t understand how a crochet stitch works, and now I do.

I took this basket home, fully intending it to be used as a cat toy receptacle. I put it on the ground and walked away for 5 minutes. That’s when I learned its not a basket. It’s a cat trap! Octavia loves it, she looks pretty smug. Kodiak tried it out too, but he got distracted and had to go pounce on something.

Want to make your own? You are in luck! Makers’ Mercantile is selling a kit that gets you everything you need to crochet it. And if you want your own colorway, there is a coupon code for Jacquard Acid Dyes! Just enter JACQUARD15 at check out and receive 15% off Jacquard Acid Dyes through August 31, 2019.

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!

Quickly crochet three classic and functional nesting baskets with our Crocheted Basket Trio Kit. Created with a bulky and soft merino yarn and size 15mm hook, you will be amazed how quickly these stitches will fly off your hook. Included in each kit is enough yarn to make three large baskets, or crochet one of each of the three sizes included in the pattern for an elegant set of nesting baskets.

Included in the kit:
  • Schoppel-Wolle Oxford - one hank in each of the following colors:
    • Natural
    • Gray
    • Black
  • addi® Plastic Crochet Hook in size US P (15.0mm)
  • Crochet Basket Pattern
This kit has a retail value of $166.00
Yours for $65.00 plus free US Shipping
While supplies last

Stay tuned for next week where we find out what happens when you combine ice and acid dye (this time for real)!

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

Sabrina Shades of Blue Hand Dye

Eat, Knit and Dye

I know you have seen the all-edge brownie pan a whole bunch of times. While I’ve decided it's not great for dyeing yarns for some methods, I’m convinced it has its place and its purpose. What I’ve noticed about it is that the dye doesn’t easily penetrate through the skein, leaving some bald spots. So why don’t we see if we can make this an advantage instead of a disadvantage?

For my yarn base, I’m using Sabrina, one of my favorite yarns. Sabrina is a sock yarn made from 80% Merino Extrafine SW Wool and 20% Nylon. It is the 120 cm hank companion to Sadie (Sadie is the same yarn but in a 175 cm hank). I love this yarn because it becomes soft and fluffy after drying from the dyeing process.

I filled the all-edge brownie pan with water and 1 tbsp of citric acid. A higher acid concentration means the yarn strikes faster aka sucks up the dye. I only used two colors of Jacquard Acid dye for this project. Once the pan was situated across two burners, I heated the water to just before simmering. At one end of the pan, I added 1/8 tsp of Jacquard Navy and the other end 1/8 tsp Jacquard Sky Blue. You can see how fast the color floats across the water.

I gently placed the dry yarn on top of the water. And just left it there. My goal was to get a subtle gradation. My thoughts were that the yarn touching the water would soak up the most color and that as the yarn slowly saturated and sank into the pan, the newly wet areas would get less dye. It was hard to not mess with the yarn, but I just let it sink until all the yarn was wet and the dye had exhausted.

This left me with yarn that had color on the bottom, but not on the top. I expected this, and it’s so nice when expectations are reality. I didn’t want to leave that much of the yarn bare so speckling was the solution.

I used a small strainer and added the dry dye powder to it. Always add the dye over another container because a bunch of the dye just instantly falls through the mesh and it will make a mess. A huge mess. Trust me on this. I know. Some of my counter was dyed blue. (Don’t worry! I was able to scrub and scrub and SCRUB with Synthrapol Detergent and get all the dye stains off my counter.)

Tapping the side of the strainer over the yarn, I added the speckles of Sky Blue over the Navy section, and the Navy over the Sky Blue section, and allowed them mix in the middle.

Then I let the yarn happily simmer away for about 15 minutes and cool overnight in the pan. This was enough heat and time for all the dye powder to get absorbed. I washed the yarn in clear dish soap and let it hang outside to dry.

I wasn’t sure about this experiment, because it didn’t look that great in the pan. It seems really heavily colored on one side and the speckles were a bit overboard. But once it dried up, I was super happy with it!

Sabrina, like Sadie, pairs well with Zitron Wolkenspiel. If you haven’t checked out this yarn before, you should. It comes in gorgeous colors and it’s fun to work with.

Stay tuned for next week where we find out what happens when you combine ice and acid dye!

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

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy

What happens with you have a Dye Party?

Eat, Knit and Dye

This weeks installment of Eat, Knit and Dye is a little bit different! A friend of mine has been following along with this blog and was super excited to try out dyeing her own yarn. She graciously invited us over to her house and let us make a mess on her back porch. What I really love about this is how we all used the same colors and the same basic technique, but had such different results.

While I wasn't able to dye any yarn as I was flitting around making sure the dye bottles were filled, I had so much fun seeing what other people did. And they were all awesome about sharing their final products!

For this party, we used Jacquard Acid Dyes in a ratio of 1/8 tsp of dye to 1/2 tsp of citric acid. The water levels varied because we were just eyeballing it. (I say we, but really, I mean me...) The dye was either in a squirt bottle or in a dish with a foam paint brush.
•    Jacquard Chartreuse
•    Jacquard Brilliant Blue
•    Jacquard Violet
•    Jacquard Emerald Green
•    Jacquard Turquoise
•    Jacquard Sun Yellow
•    Jacquard Hot Fuchsia
•    Jacquard Scarlet

The dye was applied to the yarn and wrapped in some plastic wrap before being wrapped in a cinnamon roll and microwaved for 2 minutes + 2 minutes. For more information on this method, check out my post on Lil’ Sharon Rainbow Fade Hand Dyed Yarn.

So without further ado, here is everyone's creations!

Rachael, our awesome host, used Frida for her base. One of our most popular yarns, Frida is is an ultra fine (16 micron) 100% Merino Wool Superwash.

Holly chose HiKoo Rylie in Color 3 (Natural). She's a rock star and has already cast on a new project.

Tiffany and Alex teamed up and created their own rainbow out of Westlyn, a worsted yarn that is 55% Cotton, 16% Bamboo, 8% Silk, and 21% Elastic Nylon.

Roq also chose to use Frida and says this yarn is destined to be a kids sweater. (I'm jealous of that kid, aren't you?)

Kyle upped the ante and brought is out yarn that he had spun from Makers' Wool in Color 03 - Natural. He said it was a fun fiber to work with!

The love for Frida continues, as Kim used it to create her lovely colorway. It's like a tropical vacation and now I want to go to Hawaii.

Pam's colorway out of none other than Frida really reminds me a a tie-dye shirt, and I love it!

And Dawn used two different yarns. The top color way is is made from Sandy, a solid sock yarn that is 75% SW Wool and 25% Nylon. And the bottom colorway is out of...that's right! You guessed it! Frida!

Everyone made such beautiful yarns, and I can't wait to see them all knitted up!

And speaking of knitted up, I finished my first sweater! It is the Flax by TinCanKnits. The main color is HiKoo Simplinatural in Color 133 - Vibrant Cerulean. The band is one of my very first dye projects. I used Simplinatural in Color 03 - Natural which I dyed with Jacquard Cherry Red, Sun Yellow and Golden Yellow. I'm super pleased how it turn out, and I've already started 2 (!!!) new sweaters. One of which will be using the Frida Rainbow Gradient from my very first post! I plan using the Ola Yoke by Ella Gordon and the rainbow will be the colorwork flowers. I should be finished by New Years. I hope!

Stay tuned for next week where I try a new slow immersion technique!

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 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

Dolores Volcano Hand-Dyed

Eat, Knit and Dye

When I heard that Kyle Kunnecke of Kyle William was going to be running a Knit Along in August, I was intrigued. And when I saw the clever Knit Knit Cowl, I just knew I had to try it out as my very first colorwork piece. So I decided to mingle my excitement for this Knit Along with my enjoyment of yarn dyeing.

This week, I used the undyed yarn Dolores. It’s an 80% Merino Superwash Wool and 20% Viscose from Bamboo mix, making it a perfect match for HiKoo® Sueño (the yarn being used in the Knit Along.) For the main color of the cowl, I selected Cantaloupe in Sueño, and for the contrast color, that’s where things get fun.

With my old beat-up pan, respirator and Jacquard acid dyes, I set to work. First, I filled up the pan with 6 cups of water and 1 tsp of citric acid and heated this mixture to just below simmering. Then I mixed the colors, using 5 different mixes for the dip dyeing.

•    Mix 1 – 1/8 tsp Jacquard Pink
•    Mix 2 - 1/16 tsp of Jacquard Russet Red + 1/16 tsp of Cherry Red
•    Mix 3 – 1/8 tsp of Jacquard Violet
•    Mix 4 – Leftover mix from a different project of Jacquard Fire Red, Violet, Periwinkle, and Jet Black
•    Mix 5 – Leftover mix from a different project of Jacquard Hot Fuchsia and Fire Red

I grabbed the yarn around the middle of the hank and let the ends fall from my hands into the dye pot. From there, I used a dip-dye method that I have also used for the Stella Dip Dye and the Sadie Fiery Sunset. I’m just holding the yarn hank differently. I kept dipping the yarn into the dye until it exhausted, and the water ran clear.

Once that did, I rotated the center of the yarn hank so the already dipped area moved to one side, and I could dip the undyed ends into the pot. And I repeated the dip-dye steps until the dye exhausted.

Can you guess what the next steps were? Yep! You guessed it! Turn and repeat the dyeing until all the yarn has been dyed. I have to admit that in some areas, the dye didn’t exhaust, so I poured the remaining dye stock into a glass jar and added more water and citric acid into the pot. I’m saving that dye stock for other projects.

Knowing that this project was going to be used in colorwork, I was extra-worried about bleeding. So after all the yarn had been dyed and it had cooled, I rinsed it extra well. I noticed the water just wasn’t running clear. So I put more water and 1 tbsp of citric acid back into the pot and added the yarn back in. I slowly brought the yarn to a temperature just before simmering and watched the dye pot fill with extra dye from the hank. After a bit, the dye exhausted and I let it cool in the pot overnight.

In the morning, I washed the yarn one last time in cold water with clear dish soap and then let it hang outside to dry.

Lessons Learned
•    There is always a ton of dye left if the dye pot isn’t fully exhausted.
•    Dolores is 20% viscose from bamboo and bamboo fibers don’t take acid dye. This means Dolores isn’t going to be able to have the clear, bright colors of wool yarn. But I like the effect it gives. It is supersaturated but there isn’t as much vibrancy.

Now I just need for the Knit Along to start and the pattern to release and I’m ready to start knitting. Want to knit along with me? Grab a hank of Dolores and get dyeing! Love the idea, but aren’t ready to make your own colorway? There is still a handful of limited edition Hand-Dyed Sueño left.   Sueño comes in tonal colors too! Lavender Fields is my particular favorite.

Stay tuned for next week where I step back and show you what happens when you have a yarn dyeing party!

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

Introducing Flair Needles and Hooks

Colored with a natural lacquer infused with vegetable dyes, by highly skilled craftsmen, the range of Pony Flair knitting and crochet tools is truly unique. The techniques used in their manufacture can find their origins in ancient Persia, where artisans were invited to India to make exclusive products for the local population. The craft set down its roots in India where it flourished for many years. Recently, the knowledge of this very special and rare technique is endangered. The original craft in its original form, only exists today in one tiny part of India, where a few craftsmen continue to preserve the craft by handing the knowledge down from generation to generation.

The production of Pony Flair knitting needles and crochet hooks is adding valuable income to this small community of traditional craftsmen. The pigmented lacquer is applied to each product by hand, using special flexible leaf fibers. Every item is unique and the beauty is a result of the years of experience in developing this exquisite skill.

Each piece is crafted of sustainable, high quality, German Maple. The sizes are measured in millimeters, the most accurate way to gauge knitting and crochet tools. (Remember, U.S. sizes are always approximate and vary from one brand to the next).

We invite you to explore this new artistic line of fiber arts tools. Click on a button below to be directed to a product range.

Whidbey Forest Hand Dyed Gradient

Eat, Knit and Dye

Have you heard about the new yarn Whidbey? I hope so. YarnYay! included a special colorway in one of their boxes, and now that the full line of colors are available, there is a Yarn Tasting Party in-store at Makers' Mercantile® on July 20th.  But did you know it also has an undyed version? It does! That means if you love this yarn AND want a custom colorway, you can have your (yarn) cake and eat it too!

If you haven’t heard about Whidbey, it’s a DK / light worsted weight in a 47% Bamboo, 37% Superwash Merino and 16% Nylon blend. Want to learn more? Check out this article telling you more about the yarn and its colorways.

Remember when I dyed the long gradient on our Frida yan base? I was anxious to try another gradient. Instead of making my string of mini-skeins, I decided to make my sock blank using the addi Express in the small size. It is easy to set up, and I anchored it to my kitchen counter.

With easy turning of the handle, I was able to create this nice long tube of fabric in about 15 minutes. I prefer this method over the mini-skeins because it not only saved a ton of time, but it also has such nice even stitches, so I know that any gradient I lay down can be even, and so I don’t end up with too much of one color and not enough of another.

In keeping with the Pacific Northwest color theme, I thought about all of my childhood summers growing up here. My parents and I would frequently go for long hikes through the forests, and I think our forests are some of the most beautiful places in the world. So my gradient will include the bright green of moss, the forest green of the fir tree boughs, and the dark brown of the earth and tree bark.

To accomplish this, I mixed up three jars of color. Each jar contains a ¾ cup of water and 1/8 tsp of citric acid. And I used our trusty Jacquard Acid Dyes.
•    1/8 tsp of Jacquard Chartreuse
•    1/16 tsp of Jacquard Spruce and 1/16 tsp of Emerald
•    1/8 tsp of Jacquard Brown

I filled three 60 ml syringes with 30 ml of each color. Then I filled one syringe with 30 ml of Chartreuse and 30 ml of the forest green mixture, and another syringe with 30 ml of forest green and Brown.

Laying the sock blank flat on top of some plastic wrap, I started adding the dye from the syringes. I just squirted the dye back and forth, not worrying about making sure the area wasn’t 100% saturated with dye. I also did my best not to overlap the colors at this point. I just eyeballed it, but you can also measure off the sections before you start and loosely tie embroidery floss around a single stitch to mark your section.

If you want to be more precise with the size of the color stripes, put a piece of paper with lines drawn on it under the plastic wrap spaced at whatever dimension you wish. That will help show you where to begin and end each color section. Perhaps I'll do that in another post for you.

To mix the sections where two colors meet, I added a smidge more of each spring at the section lines, then pressed down on the yarn tube to squish out the excess dye and smoothly mix the colors. Next, I pressed down along the entire length of the tube (warning! If you are following along as home, make sure you check the dye on your gloves. You don’t want brown getting into your chartreuse!). This not only mixes the colors but makes sure the yarn is fully saturated with dye all the way through, so I don’t get white spots.

Since you're working with a series of colors, work from light to dark  to reduce the chances of putting colors where you don't want it to be.

Next up is the making of a cinnamon roll! Fold the plastic wrap over the yarn tube and loosely roll it up just like a cinnamon roll (though not as tasty). Using a dye dedicated plate, I popped it into the microwave for 2 minutes. Let it rest for a few seconds, then microwaved it for another 2 minutes. The plastic wrap will probably puff up a bit and some of the dye might leak out. I find it harder to exhaust dye (where the water goes clear) using the microwave method. It isn't the gentlest method to set dye, but it works!

Using some tongs, I put the yarn wrap into my sink and let it cool down. When the outside was cold enough to handle, I unwrapped the roll and let it cool to room temperature. I washed the yarn in cold water with some clear dish soap and was pleased to find the water was surprisingly clear. And out on the porch, it went to dry.

Last up was winding the ball to see the gorgeous gradient. The nice thing about a sock blank is it unravels quickly and easily. So unlike the mini-hanks from Frida, this process took the same amount of time that it does to unwind any hank of yarn into a ball.

Remember to wait until your yarn is totally dry before winding it into a ball or cake.

And here is the finished gradient in all its glory! I’m super pleased because this turned out exactly the way I thought it would (that rarely happens!) I like how the bamboo strands didn’t take any dye and makes it seem a bit more rustic. Why did that happen? Well, acid dyes are specifically for protein fibers (wool, silk, etc). You need a different type of dye for cellulose fibers (bamboo, cotton, linen, etc).

I’m super stoked to knit this up. Wouldn't this be super cute in Coupeville Hat pattern by Kyle Kunnecke? Then I can wear my Forest Gradient hat while hiking in the forest!

And guess what? Makers’ Mercantile has restocked all their undyed yarn, so head on over there and pick up some yarn! Why do I like their undyed yarn? Because its all super high quality, and a large portion of it has a Oeko-Tex rating of 100. Learn more about Oeko-Tex by visiting their website.

Stay tuned for next week where I prepare some yarn for the August Knit Knit Cowl Knit Along!

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

The Story of Whidbey by Gauge Yarns™

Gauge Yarns™ by Makers’ Mercantile® finds its inspiration in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. We are proud to welcome Whidbey as the first in this fabulous fiber line!

Welcome to the "Upper Left" corner of the United States.

Whidbey was made to keep you warm during those chilly PNW mornings, and cool during the warm afternoons. We achieved this by creating a blend of Bamboo, Superwash Merino, surrounded by a chainette of Nylon.

Whidbey Island is home to the most-visited state park in Washington: Deception Pass. With its mysterious coves, rugged cliffs, jaw-dropping sunsets, and an awe-inspiring high bridge, it's a bucket list destination for locals and international travelers alike. Whidbey Island is alive with color, and that is something we wanted to reflect in Whidbey's colorways.

We present to you a lively group of tonal colors, inspired by the local flare. You’ll find our colors have been inspired by pebbles, herons, driftwood, seaglass, the Puget Sound, starfish and loganberries, plus our bonus multi-color called Island, which incorporates a combination of all of our tonal colors into one. A perfect blending colorway!

Photo: Sara Codair

Seaglass

Photo: Logan Popoff

Starfish


Photo: Hannah Dickens

Pebble

Photo: Tyler B

Heron

Photo: Matthew Schwartz

Driftwood

Photo: Jessie Chou

Puget

Photo: Garry Knight

loganberry

island

We cannot wait to see what you create with our yarn! Be sure to tag @MakersMercantile in your social media posts using the hashtag #WhidbeyYarn so that we can follow your progress!

Need some inspiration on what to make? we have patterns!

Coupeville Hat
by Kyle Kunnecke

Chain to Nowhere Cowl
 by Makers’ Mercantile®

Scale Fingerless Mitts
by Nathan Grisham