Hand Dyed Yarn

Watermelon Daze

Another skein dyed! This one was supposed to be a peach color, but I wasn’t liking the way it was turning out. I threw in some red food coloring and now my skein looks a bit more like watermelon than peaches. 🍉 Oops! But that’s ok. It still looks delicious.

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And I love what they all look like together!

I can’t decide if I want to knit with it or sell it…. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Tutorials & Advice

Tutorial: Dyeing Yarn At Home – With Mulberries & Coffee

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A couple of weeks ago I plucked a bunch of mulberries from the huge ass mulberry tree in my backyard and headed to the kitchen to dye some yarn. I have been fascinated with dyeing yarn for a few years now. I love all the colors, designs and fun names that indie yarn dyers dream up. My favorite thing to do is browse #handdyedyarn on Instagram. I finally got tired of just daydreaming about making my own yarn and decided to jump into the yarn dyeing game myself.

There are tons of blog articles on how to dye your own yarn. And, of course, there’s a bit of variation to each one, so I’m just going to say here is how I did it:

Wash and rinse your bare yarn. Make sure not to get it tangled – so pay attention to where your skein is tied off. Make sure the yarn is damp when you apply the dye.

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Set the yarn aside. Put the berries (or whatever you’re cooking with) and some water into a small pot and stick it on the stove. Let it simmer for about an hour. Be careful not to burn your ingredients. Add alum and cream of tarter for a mordant. I used about 1 to 2 tablespoons of each, but the amount seems to vary in all the readings I’ve done. That’s something I’ll be toying around with a bit more…

Once your dye has simmered for about an hour or so, remove it from the heat. Honestly, dyeing with food is less of a science and more of an art when compared to using to acid dyes. In essence, allow your ingredients simmer until the color is vibrant and not watery.

Now, you see all those bits of mulberries in my dye? Yeeaaah. You don’t want that in your yarn. So, strain that shit thoroughly before you do any soaking. I just used a mesh strainer over a stainless steel mixing bowl, but you could use cheesecloth as well. The point is, you don’t want to be picking berries and other food stuff out of your beautiful yarn. So strain it.

Once your dye is strained, you can slowly drop your yarn into the dye. If you want to dye the entire skein, you will place your entire skein in the water. Now we wait. Let it soak as long as you like. The longer than more vibrant. I soaked mine over night.

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Finally, you will do a vinegar rinse to set the color. Remove the yarn from the dye. Squeeze the liquid out. Soak the yarn in one part water, one part vinegar for about half an hour. Next, rinse the yarn with cold water until the color stops running from it. Hang up your yarn to dry. And don’t freak out – your yarn will be a lot lighter once it’s dried. The first time, I hung my yarn up on a swift and put a towel down on the floor, but after that I just hung my yarn on the clothesline outside.

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Voila! You have hand dyed yarn! The steps are really simple. However, the process is time consuming and something of an art. Every skein will be a little different unless you make large batches. And if you want to create speckled yarn, self striping yarn, variegated yarn or anything using acid yarn, the process looks a bit different.

I repeated this process with left over brewed coffee as well and got what I call Blondie.

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Have fun! ❤

Tutorials & Advice

Adventures in Dyeing Yarn

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I just received my first batch of bare yarn, y’all! I’ll be testing out my yarn dyeing skills. 🙂 I’ve been reading a lot on natural dyes and what you can make happen with just the food in your kitchen. I can’t wait to harvest a bunch of mulberries from my backyard, bust out an old bag of black beans and use up some onion peels…

Wish me luck!

WIP Updates

Making All the Things… Except Socks

My February socks are STILL not done. It’s kind of hilarious at this point. Last night, Jen sent me a text asking me to remind her of our pattern choice for April socks. I laughed out loud and said, “You pick. I’m still on February.”

It’s really not my fault. You know how when you start a challenge like knit one pair of socks a month, but then you decide to darn a pair of socks for a family member, learn how to cross stitch, improve your crochet skills and sign up for two shows all while managing a full time career that requires a lot of emotional/mental energy and some odd weekend and night hours? Yeeaaaah.

AND I still made time for myself, my partner and our families, my friends and my home. There were birthdays and holidays and visiting relatives from out of town. Socks…. became secondary.

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Celebrated my Granny’s 84th birthday with my family!

On the plus side, I’ve finished a cross stitch project for the very first time. Yassss!!! I used this Subversive Cross Stitch book that I borrowed from a friend. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with the finished product, yet. Keep it? It seems like a project I should give to someone else as a gift.

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Love how this turned out – even if it is teeny tiny. Next, I’m learning how to adjust the size of my cross stitch projects.

I also managed to crochet a halter top. It’s really small, so it doesn’t fit me and I have no idea if it’s comfortable or sits correctly on an actual human, but I made it! I have a friend who said she’s willing to model it, so I just need to make some time to connect with her….

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Teeny tiny halter top. So adorable.

Those socks are never getting done are they? 😭

Peace. ❤

Tutorials & Advice

How to Create the Perfect DIY Craft Work Space

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We’ve all seen those beautiful craft studios on Pinterest that look like straight up magazine photo shoots. You know what I’m talking about: the perfectly lit modern stark white craft room with little pops of color only provided by the craft, the wall art or the clever DIY storage system.

When I started my journey with PYC, I would see these gorgeous photos and think no way am I ever going to have that.

And you know? I was right. Wait. Hear me out. What I’m saying is no, my space DOESN’T look like those photos. But yes, it is perfect for me. My space is colorful, warm, inviting and functional. Despite being short on space, my craft room is perfect for me. Continue reading “How to Create the Perfect DIY Craft Work Space”

Craft Markets

Shiawassee River Fest

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Yasssss! Warmer weather is FINALLY approaching in Michigan and the craft markets are really starting to roll in. Our next local show is Shiawassee River Fest.

I’m over the moon for this next craft fair and festival because….

A. It’s a festival on a river.

B. It’s organized by a personal friend of mine who I don’t get to see often (Beth!

C. I’m sharing a table with my partner, Roxanne – who not only launched a blog for our new homestead, but also creates art from reclaimed barn wood.

 I. AM. PUMPED for the Shiawassee River Fest.

Yeah. You definitely don’t want to miss out on visiting Purl You Crazy and Plane & Simple at this upcoming festival. 😉 Think of it as your qopportunity to check out the (non-food) things Rox and I create down on Flint River Farm, where we strive to live a simple, creative and fulfilling life.

Handmade Activism

Brag: New Bag

I just want to take a moment to thank K.C. over at blackbunchedmassmom.com for sharing about this awesome tote from Gather Here, a yarn and craft store in her city. Thanks to K.C., I finally found a bag worthy of my buttons. 😉

It’s a nice quality canvas bag with enough room for a larger knitting project, but not so larger that it becomes unwieldy. Plus, I just love the phrase on the front of the bag. It’s appropriate and accurate.

And I didn’t have to feel too guilty about buying yet another tote bag because 10% of the proceeds are going to support the ACLU in Massachusetts (where the store is located).

Peace. ❤