Current Projects, Daily Life, HPKCHC, Yarn & Fiber Dyeing

Dyeing Experiments: Two color dyeing, kettle dyeing, and gradient stovetop dyeing.

I recently have been experimenting with dyeing yarn, and posted some photos of in the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC) group on Ravelry. I got asked what dyeing methods I used, so I decided to post about them here, and save everyone the gigantic forum essay (and also my posts weren’t posting correctly!)

So:

Here’s all of my finished skeins. I used 3 different methods of dyeing to create them so I’ll explain each method separately.

20150913_174001

I started with these yarns: (not super expensive, but you get a lot of yardage to play with!) 20150912_130717

I skeined them (or rolled them in a ball if I wanted to do a gradient – more on that later)
and soaked them in water with white vinegar for at least 30 minutes. I believe the ratio I used was 1/2 cup of white vinegar for every 4 oz of yarn, but I’m not 100% positive: 20150912_143807

Method for creating two color yarn: 20150913_173443 20150913_173613 20150913_173705

  • Squeeze (do not wring!!) vinegar/water soak from skein.
  • Take two quart sized mason jars and fill them about 3/4 of the way with your vinegar/water soak.
  • Add food coloring until you reach your desired colors (I used about 30 drops of McCormick food coloring per jar, but I like REALLY saturated colors, and was using 100-120 gm skeins).
  • Put yarn in water 😉
  • Put the two jars in the microwave. “Cook” on high power until you see the water start bubbling a little. Let it rest for a couple minutes. Repeat “cooking” process until the water in the mason jars is clear (basically the goal is to keep the water hot without agitating the yarn, which would cause felting).

Jars in the microwave:

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Remove jars from microwave, and let sit on the counter to cool down a bit.
Once the water has cooled to room temperature, remove yarn and rinse. The water should run clear. If it does not, rinse until it does. Wash the yarn gently, and rinse again.
Hang to dry!

Kettle Dyeing Method:

20150913_173637 20150913_173551

Do the same vinegar/water prep as above, including squeezing out the water.
Fill a pot part way with your vinegar/water, and add dye.
Place yarn in pot. <– this part is where you can change up how the dye is distributed. For the purply skein above, I made sure the entire skein was dunked in the dye water. 20150912_162935

For the blue one, I only partially submerged it: 20150912_163849 and then once half the dye had been absorbed, I submerged the rest of it. It gave me that lovely variation you see in the blue skein! Anyway, turn the burner on a low heat setting. Your goal is the same as with the mason jars. You want to heat the water without agitation, so a little bit of a steam or simmer is ok, but no boiling.

Once the water in the pot is clear, carefully remove the yarn and place it in a separate bowl to cool off. Once the yarn has cooled to room temperature, follow the rinsing and washing procedure as mentioned in the Two color method.

Gradient Dyeing Method:

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Wind the yarn into a ball instead of a hank before soaking. Soak it as a ball in the same solution, and squeeze out the water once it has soaked.
Fill pot on stove with water (you can use the soak water – I did, but you don’t HAVE to).

Add dye: I used about 40 drops of McCormick dye for a 100 gm ball of yarn

Turn stove burner on low heat (so the water heats up but doesn’t boil – and thus felt – the yarn). Heat water/yarn until the yarn absorbs either all the dye, or almost all the dye (when you’re happy with the outside color, you’re good to go).

Remove ball of yarn CAREFULLY. Place in empty bowl to cool down.

When you go to squeeze out/rinse the ball of yarn, be careful, because the center might still be really hot. I use kitchen tongs to grab and squeeze the first time.

Rinse and wash yarn (I use a little dish soap) and make sure the water runs clear.

Wind into a skein and hang dry (in the sun works the fastest).

Play with pretty yarn 🙂

Please keep in mind that this is just the method that I used. It may not be the “right” way, as I’ve never been trained in dyeing – I basically just do some research and make it up as I go along because I love playing with colors!

Thank you to Wbmommy on Ravelry for asking me, and prompting me to write out this post! I hope it helps someone 🙂

Daily Life, Designing, HPKCHC, Spinning

In Which Ruth’s Fiber Addiction Reaches the Next Level!

It’s finally happened!

I knew the day would come…

I can finally spin my own yarn!! {because I made my own spindle!! you can too – keep reading!}

 

I’ve dabbled in spinning before, but without having done much research and, it seems, without having a decent spindle, most of what I produced was super super super bulky weight yarn, which doesn’t do anyone much good.

I know i’ve mentioned before that I participate in something on Ravelry called (don’t judge my nerdiness) Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (henceforth referred to as HPKCHC). I love this group because i’m forever learning new crafting techniques and being challenged to try new ideas! This month, the Room of Requirement challenge is to make your own spindle! There were a couple tutorials but, being me, I wanted to figure it out on my own.

I went digging through my craft drawer and found the following:

A dowel (don’t ask me the size, I don’t know), and a wooden wheel of some kind

Spindle and Wheel

So My first problem is that the hole in the wheel wasn’t big enough. Thankfully, I have a lovely husband who knows how to use power tools, loves to help me make things, and fully supports my fiber related endeavors!

First we matched the drill bit size to the size of the dowel:

Matching Sizes  Matching Sizes 2

 

Next, I got to play with the power tools and drill a hole in the wheel

Drilling Hole Making Ruth's Spindle 011 Making Ruth's Spindle 012

 

 

Clint had to help me put the wheel on the spindle, because it was a super close fit and I didn’t want to use any wood glue to keep the pieces attached:

Making Ruth's Spindle 013

 

Since I didn’t have a hook to put at the top like normal people have, we used a screw.

Clint says to tell you that if you’re going to do this, you must drill a hole in the dowel first, or else you could crack the wood. I’m also supposed to tell you to use a small-ish bit, because you still want the screw threads to catch the wood, not just be all loose and rattly in the top hole.

Making Ruth's Spindle 016 Making Ruth's Spindle 018

 

Making Ruth's Spindle 019 Making Ruth's Spindle 022

 

I left the screw a pretty good bit out of the dowel, and Clint cut a notch in the side of the screw for me.

I tried to use just the screw to secure the fiber (silly me!) but alas.. it didn’t work. The notch in the screw works REALLY well, though!

Want to see what happened when I started spinning?!

Making Ruth's Spindle 024

BAM! I’m so pleased!

Better pictures will come soon, but I just couldn’t wait to share this!!

 

Have you ever made a spindle? What materials did you use, and how did it work out?