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Stella Dip Dye

Eat, Knit and Dye

For this week’s installment of Eat, Knit & Dye, I have selected the undyed yarn Stella, which has been bleached & steamed to give it a whiter base than most undyed yarns. This sock yarn is a blend of 75% Wool and 25% Nylon. Out of all the undyed yarns Makers' Mercantile® carries, this is the one the brightest white, and I wanted to try and keep some of that undyed.

I really like the color combination of yellow, green and blue. I figured that dip dyeing would be a fun method to achieve the bands of colors with some blending I was hoping to get. I once again used Jacquard Acid Dyes, which I added in powder form directly to the dye pot. The dye pot was filled with 4 cups of water and 1 tsp of citric acid to start.

I used 5 different colors for this colorway. Here is the recipe:
•    1/4 tsp of Jacquard Sun Yellow
•    1/8 tsp of Jacquard Chartreuse
•    1/4 tsp of Jacquard Sun Yellow + 1/8 tsp Turquoise
•    1/8 tsp of Jacquard Turquoise
•    1/8 tsp of Jacquard Sapphire

As a reminder of safety, everything I have used is used only for dyeing as acid dyes are not food safe. And when dealing with the dye powders I wear a super styling respirator to protect my lungs. I tied the yarn with figure 8s using embroidery floss and soaked it in water for an hour prior to dyeing. Remember when soaking yarn to just lay it into the liquid and let is sink on its own. If you push the yarn down into the liquid, it gets wet on the outside, but the center part of the yarn might not. Pushing the yarn makes an air pocket in the fibers of the yarn. We don't want that. 

To get started, I filled the pot up with the water, citric acid, and yellow dye, and brought it to a temperature right before simmering. To protect the undyed portion of the hank, I held it in my hand and looped the rest of the hank over my arm and wrist. I dipped only the portion of the hank I wanted to get dyed into the pot and swished it around gently to make sure dye was penetrating throughout the hank.

I knew that it was going to take a bit of time for the dye to exhaust, so I stacked it over the edge of the pot and let the excess rest on a plate. This kept my arm from getting tired while I waited for all the dye to be absorbed and the water to turn clear (aka exhausting). And you might notice in some of the pictures you can see the Leslie Alpenglow yarn on the right. So I worked on that at the same time.

I progressed through the rest of the colors in the same manner. Adding the powdered dye to the dye pot, mixing it in until it was dissolved, and then dipping the yarn. I did have to refill the water several times as a lot of it was absorbed by the yarn. I didn’t take pictures because it was pretty self-explanatory, but I do have this image of the last color just hanging out and waiting for the dye to exhaust.

After the last of the dye exhausted, I let the yarn cool to room temperature. I rinsed it in cold water, making sure to keep the undyed section on top so no excess dye didn’t accidentally get on the fibers. I also washed the yarn in clear dish soap. And the yarn went out to dry.

This is a fun and cheerful colorway. I think it would make a great pair of socks. You could combine it with ​Zitron Trekking XXL or Trekking Sport if you want to have stripes, or perhaps different colored toes and heels.

What I learned:
•    The dye takes a long time to exhaust. I should have used less dye to start with.
•    No matter how hard you try to keep an undyed portion uncovered, somehow some dye might sneak in. I think I had a smidge of green left on my gloves.

Stay tuned for next week where I try something else fun. I don’t know what it will be because I’ll be dyeing up a storm this weekend!

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

Felicia Northern Lights Hand Dyeing

Eat, Knit and Dye

I have never seen the Northern Lights in real life, but I really really REALLY want to. I love how the neon colors fill the night sky, and nature puts on a light show. I’m looking into vacations to Iceland specifically so I can see the Northern Lights. Plus, the pictures in Midgard by Stephen West & Cirilia Rose show how beautiful Reykjavik is. This is a bucket list sort of vacation.

This week I am working with the undyed yarn, Felicia. It is a blend of 65% Merino Extrafine and 35% Mulberry Silk and is quite luxurious to work with, and a delight to dye. I have to admit, I kept admiring the feel of the yarn.

I once again used the lovely Jacquard Acid Dyes. For this yarn, I mixed the dyes up in condiment bottles, all using 3 ounces of water.
•    ¼ tsp Jacquard Hot Fuchsia
•    ¼ tsp Jacquard Turquoise and 1/8 tsp Sky Blue
•    ¼ tsp Jacquard Brilliant Kelly Green
•    ¼ tsp Jacquard Violet
•    ¼ tsp Jacquard Jet Black
•    ¼ tsp Jacquard Chartreuse

Photograph by Landon Arnold

I presoaked the yarn in a bowl of water for an hour prior to dyeing. For this experiment, I used the funky brownie edge pan, but I think if I were to try this again in the future, I would use the saran wrap method from the Rainbow Fade Set or the dip dye method from the Fiery Sunset. I’ll explain why in a moment.

I filled the pan with water and 1 tbsp of citric acid and added in the yarn. I tried to make sure the yarn was submerged as much as possible. The pan is spread across two burners and the heat on low. The water should be just before simmering.

And the weekly safety note: everything you see here is dedicated to dyeing as acid dyes are not food safe. And wear a respirator when working with the powdered dye, as there is no need to dye your lungs.

Once the water was at my desired temperature, I slowly started adding the dye stock both directly to the yarn and the water surrounding it. And wow, did the dye strike quickly. I’m sure it is because I used way too much acid. The dye didn’t have time to circulate in the pan and the insides of the skein didn’t get any dye to penetrate. I’ve also found that the brownie pan is a fairly narrow channel for the yarn, and it just doesn’t let the water circulate.

In attempt to get all the yarn colored, I just kept sifting through the yarn strands with a prong and adding in more dye stock to the bare areas. I had to spend a lot of time with this skein to make sure the dye penetrated all the way inside the skein, but it still did turn out blotchy. I can work with this since the inspiration is the Northern Lights and I’ll just call the white spots stars (also known as a “design feature.”) Despite its flaws, I’m still happy with it, and I certainly learned a lot with this one.

Lessons learned:
•    I used too much citric acid, and the dye struck too fast. I should have kept the acid levels lower.
•    I like the brownie pan, but I think it’s better for different techniques. I want to try more long gradients and yarn where the undyed part is part of the design.

I think I might have to keep with my Icelandic theme and knit up a lopapeysa sweater. This yarn would pair well with Zitron Seidenstrasse.

Stay tuned for next week where I try my hand at dip dyeing and keeping part of the yarn undyed!

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

Sisterhood of the Sweater

by Katie Rempe

With all that’s happening in our community, we believe it is the perfect time to resurrect the Sisterhood Sweater from 2016. This project was developed to help spread self-love, inclusion, and diversity within our industry, something that is needed now more than ever.

We stand together. We are close knit and will not unravel. This is the message we have always strived to achieve and will continue to pursue.


It happens every day. You see a new pattern in a magazine or online and think something along the lines of, “Oh, I don’t look like the model, so I can’t make that.” 

That sentiment became the inspiration for this experiment. The “Sisterhood of the Sweater” was designed with many body types in mind to prove that, yes, you can make it! 

We found 8 women ranging in age from their 20’s-60’s in different shapes, sizes, and heights to prove this point, a dream for many years for Karin Skacel! Once they chose their desired color combo, they knit the same sweater in their respective sizes. Once completed, we went on a shopping spree to help them pair the perfect outfit to wear with their new sweater.

Join me as I break down each project by person. You’ll find out why it works, along with tips you can use for yourself!

Katie – Designated Knitter for 12 years
Mixing distressed jeans with a polished boho style top is a great match for this color scheme.

Kim – Designated Knitter for 18 years 
A fun top with classic black capris. This look is easy to dress up or down on the fly!

Betsey – Designated Knitter for 11 years
A pop of color from her plaid tie accentuates the colors of the sweater. A classic white button-down and faded jeans complete this look that could take her almost anywhere.

Liz – Designated Knitter for 50 years
You can’t go wrong with a classic Little Black Dress and a great statement piece necklace.

Pat – Designated Knitter for 35 years
Pat is tall and this maxi print skirt flatters and compliments her brightly colored top.

Dena – Designated Knitter for 28 years 
Sophisticated separates are easy to pair with other tops/bottoms and make for a flattering look.

Shannon – Designated Knitter for 8 years
Just because your sweater is colorful doesn’t mean your outfit can’t be too. Pick out a print that matches!

Hannah – Designated Knitter for 5 years
Young and cool. This sweater works equally well with this vintage inspired top, sunglasses and colored jeans.

Things we learned along the way:

  • Pick your outfit first, then the colors to make your sweater in. 
  • You really can’t pick a bad color combination for this project. They all work!
  • When you design a jacket in the fall, your models will have to wear the finished product in the hot spring sunshine!
  • Having a great support group is the key to any successful idea!

 
We hope that you feel inspired to join the Sisterhood (or Brotherhood!) of the Sweater. You can find the free pattern at Makers' Mercantile®.

Over Dyeing with Acid Dyes

Eat, Knit and Dye

We all have it... the yarn that is in our stash that we aren’t sure why it's there. Maybe we got it on clearance somewhere. Maybe its cashmere (and who cares that it is puce colored!) Or perhaps it was a gift from your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate? (Bonus if you get that Spaceballs reference!) Regardless, it’s a yarn in a color that just isn’t quite what you want, but it’s too nice to toss out. 

By now, you may have picked up on the fact that I love colors, the brighter the better! And this tan yarn just isn’t my cup of tea. Maybe tan is your favorite color, and that’s okay, but if I’m going to spend my time knitting up something, I want it to be in a color that I love. 

I’m not exactly sure what this yarn is, but I’m thinking it’s a Zitron Trekking XXL, a fabulous sock wool that is 75% Superwash Merino Wool and 25% Nylon blend. I wanted to see what would happen if I overdyed the same yarn in two different colors of Jacquard Acid Dyes.

I started by taking the yarn out of its skein form and made two hanks by using a swift. Each hank is 50 grams of yarn. After that, I knew that I needed to add several figure 8 ties, though I like to do three loops instead of two to make sure the yarn isn’t going to become a tangled mess. I used embroidery floss for the ties because I have a bunch of it just laying around.

Out comes my trusty old pan. I have read that I shouldn’t use a pot with the Teflon coating because the acid will eat away at the coating and it can also alter the dye colors. Since I’m just doing this for fun, I’m okay with both of those risks. And as always, everything you see is used only for dyeing and not food prep. I also wear a respirator.

The pan was filled with 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of citric acid. I added in 1/8 tsp of Jacquard Turquoise to the water. It doesn’t look like it in the picture, but I didn’t drop the dye into the water, but instead dip the measuring spoon right into the water and then gently mix in the dye powder. This reduces the amount of dye powder floating around in my kitchen.

Taking my presoaked yarn, I put one of the mini-hanks into the dye bath, making sure it was completely submerged. The water was brought to a temperature right before a simmer. And then I just waited for the dye to exhaust (the water turns clear and all the dye is absorbed). Once the water was clear, I removed the yarn and let it cool to room temperature in my sink. 

Then I repeated this process again with the other hank, this time using 1/8 tsp of Jacquard Cherry Red.

After both hanks of yarn were cooled to room temperature, they were washed using a little clear dish soap and hung outside to dry.

I am so surprised at how much color the yarn picked up and moved away from the original tan color. The red is a very bright color and has darker areas of red. Not a hint of brown shows through. The turquoise went teal, which is to be expected (since blue plus yellow equals green). There are some tiny speckles of brown that you can see if you stare really close, but it is pretty clearly teal or green. 

This is yarn in a colorway that better matches my personal preferences, and it was really easy to accomplish. I think my yarn stash is in need of an over dyeing refresh! 

Lessons Learned:

  • Overdyeing is a quick and easy way to change the color of yarn that doesn’t suit your style.
  • Acid dye colors are strong, and you can completely change the color of the original yarn (it can only go darker, and not lighter)

Want to try this, but everything in your stash is spoken for? Check out our clearance yarns, maybe there is something that almost strikes your fancy.

Stay tuned for next week where I attempt to dye an Aurora Borealis colorway.

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
Schoppel Reggae Ombre Roving

A visit with Schoppel Wolle

Gerhard Schoppel

It is immediately apparent after meeting Gerhard Schoppel, owner of Schoppel Wolle in Wallhausen, Germany, that he is not your “run of the mill” yarn producer.  Rather, he is a creative visionary that has impacted the world’s fiber industry in many amazing ways. 

Mr. Schoppel grew up in a yarn manufacturing family, so he was surrounded by yarns and textiles from an early age.  He learned to knit in his early twenties; he says he learned “to impress a girl.”  He went on to make several sweaters, one of which was for his father and is “still alive” he says (translation: still around).  Soon, interest in other things overtook knitting, and he set the needles down. 

He worked in his father’s yarn factory for many years, but he decided to branch out on his own in the early 2000s.  His knowledge, passion, and creativity came together when he formed Schoppel Wolle.

View from Schoppel Factory

One of Schoppel’s early innovations, for which he has won numerous awards in Europe, is his patented pre-felting technique. He created a machine that takes a one ply yarn and slightly felts it.  This process gives the yarn greater stitch definition while it also slows pilling.  An example of his pre-felted yarn  is Cashmere Queen and the Reggae yarns.  To the right is an image of the dyed roving for Reggae Ombre.

A few years later, his daughter was assigned a felting project for school, and after spending hours felting wool with her, Mr. Schoppel decided there had to be an easier way to do it. So he created artfelt® paper, a starch-based paper that holds roving together while it is being felted in the dryer.  Artfelt® truly revolutionized felting.

Schoppel Reggae Ombre Roving

In the vast sea of yarns being produced today, very few are special or unique enough to be immediately recognizable, especially from 10 feet away.  Mr. Schoppel’s Zauberball line (Zauberball, Zauberball 100, Zauberball Crazy, Zauberball Starke 6, Lace Ball, and Lace Ball 100), however, are the rare exception.  These magic balls (Zauber means magic in German) are all examples of his undeniable color genius combined with his own unique winding method. He dreamed of making a machine that would wind yarn differently - into a true ball instead of a hank, skein or cake. He worked with one of his machinists, and together they developed the machine that winds yarn into his signature ball. Below Zauberball Crazy is steamed.

Schoppel Zauberball Crazy Steaming

 In 2009, Mr. Schoppel picked up his needles again while visiting Karin Skacel at Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon.  Since that time, he has knit over 20 sweaters.  When asked if he has an advantage over other yarn manufacturers because he knits, Mr. Schoppel answered, “Only the knitter knows what the knitter wants.”  And boy does he know what we want!  Thank you for the Zauber, Mr. Schoppel!

Louise - Schoppel Logo Inspiration

Mr. Schoppel's cat, Louise, is the inspiration for the Schoppel Wolle logo.

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 Montacute 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