A Return To Spinning

I got the most wonderful present for Solstice last year. This beauty is an Ashford Kiwi 3 and a double treadle, my favorite. It’s been years since I’ve spun and I’m ecstatic to be back at the wheel again. She’s a gem to spin and I’ve named her Arachne. She’ll help me strive for greatness. And remind me to humble myself before the crafty gods!

Four ounces of Corriedale Wool roving made for a smooth return. Spinning singles came back pretty quickly. Plying was a struggle at first and I put too much twist into the yarn.

A yarn bath and some whacks against the tub took a lot of extra spin out. This is mostly a worsted weight though it ebbs and flows between DK and Aran in spots. Still, after five years away I think this skein turned out fabulously.

Yarn: Anew
Source: 4 oz Corriedale Wool roving
Yardage: 89.0 yards
Spun: Dec 2020/Jan 2021
Colorway: Natural

Blue Blanket Beginnings

I’m finally getting back to my lotus pond blanket. The last time I worked on this was when Josh and I were housesitting in Boston. That feels so long ago! 2020 has been a long year.

The blanket part will be blue to represent water. I thought about buying new yarn but a persistent theme of this year was working with what you have at home. So I went through my stash and rounded up all my blue yarn.

Turns out I had quite a selection. I like the idea of the water flowing into different colors. Several yarns are leftovers from previous projects so this blanket will be a warm reminder of past knitting. I still need to figure out the lotus leaves and get some green yarn for them. But I’m putting that off for now.

For the blanket I’m using Frankie Brown’s Ten Stitch Blanket (Ravelry link). I made this pattern years ago and really love it. It’s super easy and makes for great TV knitting. Ursula is putting her kitty goodness in early on. She’s such a dedicated assistant.

Coastal Yarn

Last month Josh and I took a trip out to the Oregon coast. We met up with friends who will soon be moving out of state. It was a perfect day for kite flying and for making memories.

Josh found gluten free clam chowder and ordered us take out. It was delicious! While there I visited a local yarn shop. With quarantine I haven’t shopped for fun, let alone for yarn, in months. Coastal Yarns is a lovely store with a fantastic selection of yarn. Masks were worn and everybody was politely social distancing.

Noro released a new yarn! Tsubame is a mix of silk, wool and nylon. There were other luscious yarns but as soon as I saw this new to me Noro I had to have it.

This skein is so beautiful I have it on my nightstand. I’m designing a pattern to show off the yarn and to encapsulate our magical coastal day.

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!