Yarn Dyeing

An earlier version of this tutorial was previously published on Think Crafts!

Want to make a unique yarn in your favorite color? Or want to try hand painting to produce a one of a kind yarn? This tutorial is a great step into entering the wonderful world of home yarn dyeing. It’s fun and a great summer project!

Materials

Natural fiber yarn – ideally wool yarn or roving (Cotton yarn works well with Jacquard dyes but not with Kool-Aid)
Jacquard Procion MX Dye
Kool-Aid
Rubber gloves
Face Mask
Buckets, rice steamer, pots, wooden spoons (Once you use them for dyeing they are not safe for food preparation.)
Sponge Brush
Plastic wrap
Dye Instructions (if applicable)
Towels and sponges for clean up

Instructions

This is a messy project so plan ahead. A friend and I covered her work table with garbage bags for easy clean up. Wear rubber gloves and a face mask to protect yourself.

Wind your yarn into skeins beforehand. Tie them with scrap yarn to minimize tangles. Acrylic yarn works best as it won’t take up the dye.

Kool-Aid dyeing is a lot of fun! We picked up a handful of fun flavors. We heated up some water on the stove. We used thrift store pots-they’re cheap and didn’t ruin our food safe cookware. How much water? How many packets? This is the finicky part since it’s so subjective. It really depends on how much yarn you’re dyeing and what shade of color you want. We added enough water to completely submerge our skeins. To get the desired color we added more Kool-Aid packets until the color we wanted was achieved. Don’t add sugar. We bought a dozen packets of each color.

Soak the yarn until it’s saturated. We soaked our yarn for 30 minutes in hot water. Rinse in cool water until water runs clear. The Kool Aid smell fades over time.

We also tried handpainting yarn.

For this we mixed up small batches of Jacquard Dye. (Instructions are on the jar.) We stretched out plastic wrap and laid out the skeins on top. Using the sponge brushes we painted the yarn. Lift up the yarn to see if you need to turn it over to paint the other side. Firmly push the sponge onto the yarn to make sure the color saturates completely. This will prevent the need for a second coat.

After painting we rolled up the yarn in the plastic wrap. Then we steamed them in the rice steamer for 30 minutes. Afterward we rinsed with cool water and hung up the skeins to dry.

Our Kool-Aid yarn turned out beautifully!

Our handpainted yarn turned out lovely as well.

The yarn at the top of this post was also handpainted.

Craft on!

Nalebinding – Viking Knitting Technique

A previous version of this tutorial was published on Think Crafts!

Want to knit like a Viking? Recently I had the pleasure of researching nalebinding for a school project. Nalebinding, also called Nalbinding or Viking knitting, is a fiber technique that predates both knitting and crochet. Egyptian socks from the 4th century were made using nalebinding. The Vikings also used nalebinding to create textiles and now you can too.

Materials

Wool Yarn
Yarn Needle
Velcro Sticky Back Coin Fasteners
Felt
Thread
Needle Felting Tool (optional)

Note
There are many types of nalebinding stitches but as this was my first time trying I went with a simple stitch. This method is called the Oslo stitch.

Pattern
Cut a length of yarn roughly a yard long. Anything longer becomes too wieldy to handle. Take the yarn and make a loop.

Place your needle through the loop.

Wrap the yarn over the needle.

Pull through. This creates a loop on your thumb.

This next step is tricky at first but once you get the hang of it it’s easy. Put your needle under the back loop. Twist the needle to then slide under the loop on your thumb and under the working yarn.

Pull through. You now have two loops on your thumb.

Slide the top loop behind your thumb.

This now becomes the loop you slide your needle under first.

After sliding the needle under the back loop twist it again to slide under the loop on your thumb and working needle. You’ll then have two loops on your thumb.

Repeat this step over and over under you have a length of chain. You can use multi ply yarn if you like. But it needs to be wool.

Why wool? Because when you get to the end of the yarn you’ll need to attach more.

Pull apart the yarn ends. You can spit splice them together but I preferred to use my needle felt tool.

Once you’ve joined the ends you can continue.

I decided to make a cell phone bag so I joined my ends once I reached my desired length. Slide the yarn needle under the first loop on the starter end before sliding under the loop behind your thumb.

For the next stitch slide your needle under the stitch to the right of the first starter stitch you worked in the last step. You’ll keep working to the right. Keep spiraling around until you’ve reached your desired length.

I wanted to make a little flap at the top so I stopped spiraling around. Instead I turned direction to pick up a stitch.

I worked back and forth until I had a little triangle.

Attach Sticky Velcro to give the flap quick access.

A small length of red felt makes for a cute tongue. Sew down with matching thread.

Find circular items to trace out shapes for the eyes on the felt. I used the thread spool for the white and a bottle cap for the black.

Sew on the eye.

Create a new chain of nalebinding stitches of desired length for the strap.

Sew strap onto bag.

Now you have a cute Viking monster!

I’m loving my new cell phone cozy. If you make your own please post a
pic in the comments.

Craft on!

Fridge Magnets

This post was previously published on Think Crafts!

Need a special gift for a graduate this month? Fridge Magnets make a great present. Collect images from magazines and specialize a set for friends. Of all of my handmade gifts these magnets get the best reaction.

Materials

Glass Marbles

Magnets ½”

Eclectic Adhesive E6000

Miscellaneous magazine images

Cardstock

Pattern

Find small pictures for your magnets. Use a glass marble to lay over the magazine image to see if it fits. You can make a template by tracing around the marble on card stock.

I cut out a pretty flower blue pic, a Green Man and a sun and star for my magnets.

Squeeze a dot of glue onto the flat side of the marble. Place your image onto the glue. I find it’s best to do this in a well ventilated area as the glue smell is strong.

Check to see if it’s centered.

Set aside to dry with marble face down for 5-10 minutes. Place a dot of glue onto the magnet.

Place marble with image onto magnet. Adjust until it’s centered over magnet.

Set aside to dry.

Wrap them up and give away. Or make a set for yourself. This craft can easily be personalized which makes it a unique gift.

Craft on!

Yarn Needle Case

This post was previously published on Think Crafts!

Sewing needles are essential for crafters but they can easily get misplaced. Tired of pricking my finger when another needle fell out of the paper package, I came up with a yarn needle case to store my needles safely. Using yarn, plastic canvas and fabric this case will keep your needles in place in a fashionable way.

Craft
Sewing, Misc. Crafts

Difficulty
Beginner

Materials
Plastic Canvas< Yarn Needle Yarn Cotton fabric or felt Thread

Pattern

Cut out two pieces of plastic canvas measuring 5 in x 3 in.

Knot the yarn in one corner of the plastic canvas.

With the yarn needle sew the yarn in and out of the plastic squares, effectively wrapping the yarn around the plastic canvas. (Using a yarn needle will avoid painful pricks on the fingers!)

Continue using this sewing technique along the first row. Keep wrapping across the rows until you have covered the canvas.

I find having a super long piece of yarn is too cumbersome. Instead cut a length you find comfortable. When you come to the end of your yarn sew it down with thread. Knot on a new strand and continue wrapping the yarn. Sew all ends down on the same side of the canvas. Sewing them down flattens the yarn ends to prevent bubbling.

After you have covered the pieces of plastic canvas it is time to sew them together. Using thread sew the two long sides together going back and forth in a zig zag fashion. Make sure the sides with the tacked down yarn ends are both facing up.

Cut a piece of cotton fabric 6 in x 4 in. Alternatively, you could use felt.

With yarn end sides facing up pin down the cotton on top folding over the edges to line up with the outside of the plastic canvas. Sew down with thread.

Before completely sewing down the outside edges knot a 5 inch piece of yarn in the middle of each outside long edge of the plastic canvas. Sew small end under fabric. This will tie your needle holder closed.

Fill up with needles.

Craft on!