SOS To All Dyers

q8~The Amaranth plant (Amaranthus cruentus) is an absolutely beautiful, purplish-leaved, large plant. It’s seeds were the main grain staple for the Aztecs in Mexico. I thought I was buying a Compositae family plant , since it was a six-pack, which has purple leaves and orange flowers, turned out I was wrong. The amaranth is an old friend with purplish leaves and stems, when it flowers it produces a long cluster of small, purplish, flowers. Quite attractive. I mean, look at the gorgeous color in the leaves! Anyway…… While sorting through my fibers, I found a small bit of the first fiber I ever tried to spin – Dorset. Decided it was the perfect size to see what type of dye Amaranth makes.

Amaranth plants in garden

Amaranth plants in garden

After cutting plants up and boiling for a bit to remove color from both leaves and stems I had a rather beautiful shade of dark, rose-colored pink. (Note: quite a bit has now evaporated)

Beautiful color of dye

Beautiful color of dye

Used a vinegar mordant. Color was yuck. Tried an alum mordant. This is the result:

Salmon colored sample

Salmon colored sample

When dyed, the Dorset fiber became a not-the-prettiest-washed-out-salmon color. Why? What is with the reddish dyes I make? Where am I going wrong? After the horribly yucky color the Raspberries made, I’m ready to just stick with the tried and true yellows and greens. SOS to any dyer. How can I make a natural dye that actually turns the fiber a nice pink color. I’m sure asking for red is too much. How about using beets? Input is so totally appreciated.

FO Friday: The Ribbit Hat

q~Ah, FO Friday and The Ribbit Hat is off the needles and on my son’s head. The yarn was Knitpick’s Bare fingerling which was dyed to my son’s color specifications. When I saw the finished yarn hanging to dry and while winding it, I HATED the color.  Not wanting a solid color, I twisted the yarn and put into the dye pot dry. When I started knitting with it, I loved the yarn AND the color. Go figure. As it’s knitted, the color looks so rich. The pattern is Perfect Reversible Watch Cap by Nancy Elizabeth Designs. Super simple, just remember it’s k1, p1 around, not k around. Sigh….. I’m not a member of  The House of Manatee and this got a bit boring, but the double decrease made this The House of Monkey member happy since I’d never used this method before. Double Decrease: (slip next 2 stitches together knitwise, knit the third stitch, pass the 2 slipped stitches over). Ta Da, let me present The Ribbit hat!

The Ribbit Hat

The Ribbit Hat

For other wonderful FO visit Tami’s Amis blog. And, Ginny’s Yarn Along.

Dyeing to Spin!

~Fun, colorful times at spinning class! I’ve been doing quite a bit of dying since learning last March; however, I’ve never microwave dyed wool which we did yesterday. Margaret stressed that you should have a dye microwave and not use your food one. You don’t want any poisonous dye contamination.

We started out with the regular dying in a pot. After the water was added, a dollop of vinegar was added. We used Jacquard Acid Dyes in colors Aztec Gold, Kelly Green, Periwinkle, Fushia, and Spruce. Super yum colors together. The pot was heated until just before the liquid boiled.

The best was the microwave dying since I haven’t tried that. It’s so easy! This works well for bits of fiber you’re going to spin.


Jacquard Acid Dyes – make solutions
Glass jars – we used Mason jars
Stick – for pushing down wool

Step 1: Add a bit of fiber to the bottom of a Mason jar. Pour water and then dye solution over the fluff.

Step 2: Pour a bit of vinegar on top.

Step 3:  Use a stick to poke the fiber down into the mixture.

Step 4: Repeat Steps 1 – 3 until jar is almost full. We created layers using different colored dyes.

Step 5: Place in microwave, we left the top uncovered. Heat is needed to set the dye, so the microwave was used as a heat source. To keep the yarn from “exploding” when steam tries to escape, the warming was done in tiny increments:

  • Microwave on medium for 1 minute
  • Cool for one minute, leaving jars in microwave with door shut
  • Repeat about 5 times

Remove jars and allow to cool before removing fiber. Different dyes adhere better at different temperatures.

Step 6: Remove fiber and place on paper towels to drain. Using cold water, rinse the fibers until the water runs clear. Lay out the fiber to dry. Spin! Save and dry the paper towels to use in a paper craft activity.





Puck Puce Dye

~What to do with berries which have already past the “eat by” date? Make dye! I “cooked” the berries and had the most beautiful shade of violet. Super yum! My yarn was soaking in a vinegar mordant while I was making the dye. Into the dye bath went the yarn, I was filled with anticipation. The color would be gorgeous! Huh, wrong! I gave up after a few hours of looking at puck puce and added some Jacquard Acid dye in Violet and Silver Gray. I love the way the yarn came out. It looks as if it is a violet heather. Think of knitting with a worn denim colored yarn, now substitute violet for the color, that’s what I’m knitting with. It really is quite lovely. I’ve sampled bits of color from the yarn and placed into the circles so you can see the wide range of violetish hues. The lightest one is what the yarn looked like with the berries. Maybe if I used a different mordant I would have ended up with the color I was looking for? If any of you have died with berries and used a mordant which worked, please let me know. I think my new handle should be “Dyeing to Knit”.


Finally Finished!

~Finished! The Knitpicks Bare fingerling yarns have been dyed and are ready for my Color Affection shawl. I refuse to purchase another circular needle for this project so I have to finish a WIP.  Unfortunately, the pictures don’t show that both the yellow-orange and red-orange skeins are subtle variegations. I used Jacquard Acid Dyes. The yarn were put into the dye bath dry and twisted, which allowed some areas to soak up more dye than others. Colors used left to right: 1. Sunny Yellow with a smidge of Golden Yellow, 2. Golden Yellow, 3. Golden Yellow with 1/2 the amount of Fire Red.

Life imitates art! After dying my yarn, I picked up this bit of fluff to practice with in class. Look how closely they match. Amazing! You can see the variegation in my yellow-orange yarn better in this picture.

Photo class field trip to Seaport Village, San Diego today! Barb is coming along! Will share pics tomorrow.

My Dyed Harvest Yarn Shawlette

– This is one of the most satisfying knitting projects I have done. This is the vanilla yarn which I dye and have named Harvest Yarn. We blogged about our dying project in our very first post on March 27, “It’s All About the Dyeing!“.

I chose the “Maia” pattern from 7 Small Shawls, by Rosemary Hill. I thought the pattern looked like falling leaves which is perfect for my Harvest Yarn. I used my own, hand-made, heart stitch markers to keep track of the pattern and Q’s handmade cake covers to hold the yarn. Her pattern for the cake cover is featured in our April 7 post, “Cover that Cake with Colorful Berries“.

When I started working “Chart F,” it wasn’t working out, there was a problem. The pattern called for a 3sltog (slip 3, knit two together, pass three stitch over knit.) This makes a four stitch decrease. The stitch count kept coming out wrong, there were not enough stitches. After a bit of frogging, I did a 2sltog, a three stitch decrease, it worked out great.

The shawlette was soaked for 20 minutes. It was then blocked on my large blocking board. If you missed the instructions for making a large blocking board, check our May 6 Large Blocking Project part 1 post. I explain how it’s done.

What start out as plain, vanilla yarn was dyed and then knitted into a shawlette. It feels good making something no one else has. That is what is so great about knitting. You choose a project and make it your own. 🙂

AG Needs A Shawl Too!

 My precious granddaughter’s favorite birthday present was her American Girl which she has been wanting forever! Last night I decided that I had better make AG a shawl too. I did not feel like messing around developing a pattern.  To be honest, I’m SICK of working with the yarn and just wanted to be done. 😎 Ravelry here I come.  I found the perfect lace shawl pattern: American Girl Shawlette Or Poncho by Jacqueline Gibb. Within a couple of hours the shawl was done and blocked. So adorable! Isn’t the pattern exquisite? I’m going to make shawl stick pins for both shawls.

See that tiny piece of yarn left up at the right edge?  I purposely left it so that you can see that’s all of the hand-dyed yarn left! I wish I had a doll on which to model it, alas.  Maybe I need to buy one? 😎 Especially after seeing the American Girl patterns on Ravelry! Yikes!

This is my precious girl with her AG. They look as if they are twins. 😎 Aunt Emma gave her the matching outfits. Guess it’s time for me to make doll clothes for a third generation: me, my girls and my granddaughter. 😎

Sweaty Knitter had the best post about Faggotting and Faggots. Sorry, I can’t resist. 😎 I’m really fagged working with this yarn and all of the faggots I’ve had to make. (Ok, you can groan now.) Fagged = tired. One definition not listed. 😎

Maddie’s and Grandma’s Hearts Entwined

q8~ Happy Birthday to my granddaughter. How can it be 9 years? I’m afraid she inherited a very strange gene from me.  As a kid I had fair hair and freckles.  I just HATED those freckles, especially the biggest one on my nose. I asked mom when the freckles would go away and she told me when I was grown.  Well, the morning of my 8th birthday,  I ran to the mirror to see my new “freckle-less” nose.  Hum, imagine my surprise when they were still there!  I just knew turning eight meant I was grown up! Then before she turned eight, daughter Sarah told anyone and everyone within earshot that when she was eight she needed a desk of her own because she’d be grown up! My parents gave her a kid-size, roll-top desk.  And then there’s Maddie, at eight she told her mother, “Mom I need to wear lipstick everyday now because I’m a lady.”  The “I’m-All-Grown-Up-At-Eight”, such a funny gene to pass along. It does not seem to affect the male line, only the oldest daughter.

Anyway, both Maddie and I are having a hard time with their move to Hawaii. I decided to make a shawl for her out of the first yarn that Curls and I dyed. Asterope by Romi Hill was the perfect pattern, which I downloaded through Ravelry.  I had seen a model of the pattern at a LYS. I know the pattern is described as having an arrow going down the back, but to me it looks as if it’s hearts entwined; thus, Maddie’s and Grandma’s Hearts Entwined.   The blended colors are pink and purple.  Maddie’s favorite color is pink and grandma’s is purple.  The large holes represent all of the adventures Maddie is going to have   Every stitch is a kiss and the entire shawl is a huge hug.  She’s to wear it when she misses grandma or thinks grandma misses her.  When I send it, I’ll enclose a note for Maddie explaining all of the special meanings.  I know it’s late, but our family never minds late presents we feel as if the special occasion has been extended!

Have Yarn, Will Knit, But What?

 I dyed the yarn using KoolAid, posted April 19 as Guess I’m Not A Vanilla Type Of Gal. I have been very slowly spinning the yarn.  I decided I don’t like this yarn.  I think it was Polworth.  I bought something “cheap” to practice with.  To me, it is as if I’m spinning with iron!  It was great fun dyeing. Another reason I haven’t finished the yarn is that I don’t have a clue as what to knit.  If you know me, that is not usual! 😎 I’m open for suggestions!

This was the dyed fiber.

This is the spun fiber on the spool.

I’ll be ready to ply soon. Input needed!  What should I knit?  So not my colors! 😎