Category Archives: Inspiration

Dyeing with Indigo

I've recently been exploring natural dyeing methods, and I was really excited when we started carrying a Indigo Dye kit.  What makes indigo dyeing a little tricky is that indigo is not naturally water soluble, and you need water to help the fabric absorb the dye.  So the indigo in this kit is reduced into powder, and when you add it to a bucket of water, it is a yellow green color because the oxygen was removed.  You add wet yarn or fabric to the indigo and hold it in the dye bath for only a couple of minutes.  When you remove the dyed yarn, it is a bright green color and you can watch it turn blue as it comes into contact with oxygen.  I have a more in depth tutorial for dyeing with this Indigo Dye kit here.  

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On the menu: Baked and Stewed Wool Yarn

I have never dyed yarn before, and honestly I was intimidated. What I have dyed a lot though is frosting and white chocolate. I love the "gel" food coloring that you can buy at Michael's or any store that has a "cake decorating" section. This isn't the liquid food coloring drops, this is food coloring in a gel form so the color is super concentrated--you don't need much to get a really vibrant color. Try it in melted white chocolate, then spoon your white chocolate into a zip loc bag, cut off the corner and drizzle over thick pretzels that you've dunked in melted caramel--so yummy and they make a great personalized gift for sports team lovers, or...oh wait, what was I talking about?  

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I did everything wrong!

I got to join in the dye-along, even though I'm in the computer geek department rather than the creative department. But that also means that I managed to do pretty much everything wrong. It turned out well, anyway. At least, I like how it is going so far. So for anyone who has never dyed before, I think it will probably turn out ok, even if you do everything wrong, like me! I used 3 different flavors of Kool-Aid to dye my sock blanks - Watermelon Cherry, Cherry, and Black Cherry. My husband and I are adopting 3 teenagers, so I wanted to make pink socks for Liza (12), as that is her favorite color, and red socks for Dasha (14), as that is her favorite color. And in the interest of fairness, though I'm not sure he will wear them, I wanted to make dark red socks for Max (16), since red is also his favorite color, and dark red seemed a bit more macho than the bright red.

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It

At this point I have two lovely sock blanks. I am going to be knitting with two strands held together for each of my Shape It Scarves from The Knit Stitch by Sally Melville.

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Food-Colored Sock Blank!

I am SO excited to be participating in our Dye-Along! Dyeing fiber is one of my recent hobbies, and I'm looking forward to sharing lots of my experiments with all you talented people! First on the slate is my sock blank. I mentioned last week that I typically don't knit socks two-at-a-time, but a few months ago, I had an inspiration which was too thrilling to ignore. I wanted a pair of socks that looked good enough to eat:

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All finished dyeing my sock blanks!

The appeal of dying sock blanks is the never-ending possibilities. You can choose to be creative in a linear fashion or be abstract. I sound like an art museum docent. I chose to give linear a try for the blanks I was dyeing for my Shape-It Scarves.

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Diving into Dyeing

I've been wanting to try my hand at dyeing for a while now. The thought of the mess, the equipment and doing a really bad job at it kept me from trying. But, after I found out there was going to be a dyealong, I thought, hey! Perfect opportunity! Now I can at least commiserate with others who have also made a giant mess. So, I got some sock blanks, let myself get inspired, and dove right in. I decided to try acid dyes, since it's relatively low-odor and I could do it indoors (with proper ventilation, of course). That proved to be an advantageous decision, because when I got ready to dye it was raining! I got all my supplies together and started the process.

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The

  It should come as no surprise that I am dedicating one blog post to the getting ready to dye and knit my two sock blanks. It’s all about The Process, baby! Let’s start with the inspiration!  

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We’re hosting a dye-along, and you’re invited!

For the month of May, Knit Picks staffers are taking the plunge and experimenting with a variety of dyeing techniques. Kelley and Kerin are both experienced dyers, they're going to show you some techniques for using Jacquard Acid Dyes. Nina (another dyeing pro!), Marci, Amy, and I are dyeing sock blanks with food coloring and Kool-Aid. Kate and Christina are trying out our Indigo Dye Kit, and Alison and Sarah, one of our photographers, are experimenting with natural dyes like beets! If you've ever thought about dyeing yarn, but you've been hesitating, now is a great time to give it a try. We sell a variety of ready-to-dye Bare yarn in different weights and fiber blends and we sell dye. We've also added 6 new dyeing tutorials covering everything from dyeing yarn in a crockpot to tea dyeing to help you get started, and we're hosting a Dye-Along in the Knitting Community where you can ask questions and get advice.

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