Yarn Dying Experiment No 2. – Wilton Gel Food Colouring

I think I will call this colourway Moorland Heather…

I dyed this yarn using Wiltons gel food colour. 

We also dyed this. This is Drops Lima – I thought I could get my partner involved – allowing me to try 2 different methods using the same base ingredients!

We started by soaking the yarn in luke warm water then submerging it in a light dyebath (which consists of water, food dye and a liberal glug or 10 of vinegar).

We soaked the chunky wool in a dyebath on the hob.

We soaked the lima yarn in a dyebath in the slow cooker. 

Once they had soaked up all of the dyel we took them out and pressed out any excess liquid. We made up a couple of little pots of dye using the wiltons food colouring. 

This is where the process changed a little for the 2 yarns. 

For the wool yarn, we laid it out on a sheet of cling film and dropped the dye directly onto the yarn. 

We then wrapped it up into a parcel and placed it into a steamer basket and steamed it for around 45 minutes. 

For the lima yarn, we drained the water from the slow cooker then added just enough water and vinegar to cover the yarn. We then used a pippet to apply small amounts of dye all over. Once more, we let it sit with the lid on until the liquid in the dyebath ran clear. 

Then all that was left to do was rinse and lay out to dry.

Review:

Pros: As with the turmeric a big benefit to this method is how food safe it is! I only have a very small kitchen so I dont have the space for extra pans and utensils just for dying. Another pro is that there is no horrible smell left on the yarn after.

Cons: There arent too many cons to this method. The only one that I can really think of is how badly it stains your skin and your surfaces if you arent careful! Also, you may be able to see in the picture that my moorlandy yarn has a little bit of dark blue in it. I did not use blue dye. This is actually the black dye – so I guess if you wanted black, this wouldnt be the dying oprion for you. 

Yarn Dying Experiment No.1 – Natural Dyes

As you may remember a few blog posts back I shared with you some scrummy Welsh wool that I had bought on etsy from the lovely Charlies Angel Fibres.

Well, here is my first attempt at dying a skein. I was actually planning to try dying with Kool Aide, which I had purchased back in October, but when I got down to business, I couldnt find them for the life of me, so I decided to try one of my other planned methods instead. Natural dying, using Turmeric.

First of all, you need to soak the yarn. As it was wool, I had to be careful not to agitate it too much. I dont want it to felt after all! 

Then its time to make the dye bath. As I was dying a chunky 200g skein, I made up a larger dyebath, using 6 tbsp of turmeric, a good glug of white vinegar and 6 pints of water. You could probably half that if you were only dying a 50g or 100g skein.

First I placed the turmeric and vinegar in a pan. The amount of vinegar used should be enough to form a soft paste with the turmeric. 

Then I mixed in the water and brought to a boil. After that I dropped the temperature and let it simmer for around half an hour. 
At the end of the half hour I turned the hob off, allowed it to cool just a little so it was no longer bubbling, then placed the yarn in the pan. If it was a cotton yarn, I would suggest leaving the hob on when you put the yarn in, and continuing to simmer for a half hour before you turn the hob off, but as my yarn is 100% wool, the movement of the simmering bubbles would agitate the yarn too much amd felt it.so for wool, you need to wait until the liquid is still. 
After you have placed the yarn into the dye bath you should just leave it until the liquid is cool. A couple of hours is great.
Now it is time to rinse. Again, as I was using wool I had to be quite gentle at this stage. Rinse it until the water runs clear. Then squeeze it to release and evess water. To get the most water out, you can lay it down on a towel and roll it up then press it or stand on it. 

Finally hang to dry!
Now it is time to admire my newly made yarn! I dont know what I want to do with it but its beautiful. 

Review:

Pros: Being food safe is a big pro! I love that it is just natural ingredients, because it means I am not putting agressive chemicals into the water supply. I also love it because it is a very cheap and easy option.

Cons: The smell. It has dissipated but it hasnt gone away. Plus its dusty – by which I mean you have to let it dry then shake the life out of it – I shook it in the kitchen and in minutes my kitchen floor was yellow! Also, it kinda dyed my fingernails yellow, so I looked like a chronic smoker for a few days!

Many Pretty Stitches

Its super difficult not being able to crochet much due to my hands. 

So instead I have been spending stupid amounts of time on pinterest putting together a stitch library on pinterest! 

Here is a collage of some of my favourite stitches. 

You can find the board here
Have any suggestions for stitches I have missed? Leave me a link in the comments!

Happy hooking.

Gifting Rundown Part 3 – Textiles

For the third and final part of gifting rundown, I would like to share with you some of the textile based gifts I made! 

I made this wonderful hat for my littlest future brother in law.

I made it up as I went along but unfortunately was in such a rush to get it finished that I didnt write down any instructions. I do have enough yarn left to make another though so perhaps I will see if I can recreate it! If I have time that is!

 
I crocheted this scarf for my partner.
And my partner and I made these shirts for two of his other brothers!

Yes thats a teapot. Aparrently its a reference to animation (something my oldest half brother in law to be is currently studying). I dont get it personally. Neither did he. Oh well.

Finally I made these buttons for my mummy. She collects buttons.

And this concludes my christmas gifting round up! So what do you think? How did I do? Did you make gifts this year? I would love to see them!

In conclusion, Whilst I really enjoyed making these gifts, it was far too stressful trying to force myself to make everyones gifts, especially when it came to the teenagers, because teenagers are difficult even at the best of times! I am proud of myself, in the knowledge that U managed to pull off a non commercial christmas, and It is a huge confidence boost to know that I am capable of making so many lovely things. So perhaps next year, I will hand make some gifts, but I certainly wont force myself to avoid shop bought gifts completely! 

Its Almost Finished!

Yahooooooooo! I have almost finished my second GSE blanket! All the squares are here! I just have to stick them all together! Watch this space! I hope to have it ready just in time for festive snuggling. Whilst you wait, please take a look at some of the 70 wonderful squares I have received from all over the world! 

These lovely knitted squares are from the lovely Angie from Berkshire.

This lovely crochet square is from Julie in Denmark!

These squares are from Tessa in Edingburgh.

This knitted square is from Aleksa in Indonesia.

These crocheted Squares are from Ursula in Germany.

these lovely textured squares are from Sandra in Australia!

And this lovely rosette square is from Tsubaki in California!

I am so lucky to have such a great group of friends to swap with, I cant wait to spend some time snuggled up surrounded by the love and craftmanship of yarnies from around the world! 

My First EVER CAL!

How exciting. I have decided to take on my first CAL (crochet along). I have been considering it for a while, but could never quite make a decision on what to do. Often, it is also quite expensive to get the whole pack at onece. But I like the idea of CAL’s because I am pretty hopeless at large projects unless they can be done in manageable chunks. 

This is the CAL I have chosen. It is actually an exclusive CAL that is being published one block at a time in Simply Crochet Magazine (to which I have been a subscriber for almost 2 years now!) Over the next 12 months. It is called the Pick n Mix Blanket by designer Lucy Croft. The first block was published in issue 49. My copy was actually delivered to me early september, but I only just got around to actually reading it! 

This CAL comes with just the one colour pack, but isnt the palette just gorgeous! You can find it here. Any one who knows me knows just how much I love bright rainbow colours, and these have almost a jewel tone! Its £50.80 for the pack, but it is formed of Cascade 220, which is made of 100% peruvian highland wool, so it sounds umptious! I cant wait to give it a good squidge when it arrives! I am so excited! 

GBBF Hat Day

Me and my partner absolutely love real ale, so every year, without fail, we head down to the Great British Beer Festival at Kensington Olympia. Our record for different beers tried in one day is now 15 (dont worry, its only thirds). Anyways, that is not what I am here to tell you. Every year, on the Thursday of the festival, is hat day, where they have a competition for best hat. So I had to get my thinking hat on. (See what I did there!).

This is what I came up with.

I crocheted the little beer glasses and the stalks of barley, and I made the hops using foam and felt squares stacked together in a cone shape and thread onto a green wire to emmulate a vine.

What do you think. I loved it! It was bloody hot too. Unfortunately I didnt win (what a travesty!) But it was still fun making it! And I got loads of compliments from people!