Tissue Paper Yarn Dyeing

Dyeing yarn with tissue paper? Yeah, it sounds a bit unusual, however I have been busy playing with all kinds of dyeing approaches this last week as I get ready for a class I am teaching in two weeks at the Crochet Guild of America’s Chainlink Conference.

I have been working with food coloring and Easter egg dyes, while dabbling with Kool Aid. I have been playing with multiple protein based fibers (yarns that are made from animal fibers, like wool, alpaca, silk, mohair, etc.), but it was trying to find something in my closet that sparked me in a little different direction.

I tend to be a person that doesn’t really throw much out, if I can find another purpose for it I will hold on to it to use it in the future, so tissue paper from gifts gets saved. When digging through the closet I found a stack of this saved tissue paper and I began to wonder….Can I dye with this?

The answer…YES!

I began by soaking the yarn in a bath of water and citric acid (1 teaspoon citric acid to 4 cups of water), you can use white vinegar instead of citric acid if you like (1/4 cup white vinegar to 4 cups of water), then I wrapped various pieces of colored tissue around the yarn. After covering the yarn with paper I placed it in a microwavable bowl and added some of the water/acid solution. I placed it in the microwave for 2 minutes, took it out and waited.

I have to wait after removing it from the microwave, frankly because I do not like to burn myself. After it cooled down a bit I removed the tissue paper and rinsed out the yarn. I was impressed. Some colors bonded to the yarn better than others, but that could be because I had some different quality papers. There was some white space, and different colors in different patches. Offering a bit of a kaleidoscope of possibilities.

I am continuing to play with this technique, and currently find a vast amount of ideas just bubbling to the surface. I am sure that by the time my workshop comes around in a few weeks I will have a very contagious attitude to share with my students!

New Respect for the Makers of Yarn

ScannedImageI have a new found appreciation for the work any small independent yarn company or dyer does. This last weekend I had the opportunity to experience the New York Sheep & Wool Show, at the Duchess County Fairground in Rhinebeck, NY by working in the booth of Lisa Souza Dyeworks.

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Beautiful colors at the NY Sheep & Wool Show at the Duchess County fairground, Rhinebeck, NY

As many can image, these small businesses have yarn specially milled, some do custom dyeing to bring beautiful and unique colors, some work with specialty fibers to bring us unique and soft yarns. We can easily imagine the obvious parts of the business, like putting the color on the yarns, of raising the animals to shear or comb for fibers, but the true essence behind what it takes for them to stay in business is something that we can easily overlook.

I have worked this booth in the past at different venues, but this is the first time I have been there from set-up to take down. Usually I assist people looking for various yarns, I answer questions, and help replace stock, however this time in addition to the meet with the customers, I helped set the product on the walls, getting everything in place for its first customers and then helped put everything into the moving truck the moment the show ends on Sunday.

Now I have heard the stories of the Rhinebeck show. This is its 35 year of operation, and it has quite a reputation. It is a full fiber show that invites the whole family. There are a variety of sheep breeds, as well as shearing demonstrations, spinning competitions, weaving demonstrations, interesting food vendors, many vendors featuring fiber related goods, book signings and all round simple wholesome good times. This show receives a large number of people over just two days, I have heard figures average about 60,000 people over the weekend, I can say it does feel like that many.

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Nancy & Deb have no problem eating lunch at a picnic table in snow flurries. Definitely giving me memories.

After working on the floor over the events two days, I can say I was completely exhausted. I met many people, made some new friends and spent some time with long time ones, (such as Margaret Hubert, Jessie Rayot, Shari White, Nancy Smith, Andrea Giattini, and Deb Seda,  even if a couple of them thought it was warm enough to share lunch on the picnic bench while there were snow flurries, I may not have mentioned that it was cold during the event…temperatures somewhere in the 30’s (F) on Sunday). I even met Katy Clement who had a video of my competition with Lily Chin at the 2014 CGOA Chain Link Conference (Knit & Crochet Show) in Concord, NC (at the Fun Night, I had beat everyone else in the room at speed crocheting, and then got to face off against Lily Chin for the title…yes, I lost, but Lily is really fast). She shared the video with me and I am happy to share it with you here (IMG_3743).

Then after the show closed the real work began, the entire product, all the display needed to come down, be boxed up and placed in the moving truck. So after being on your feet for 10-12 straight hours the last 3 consecutive days, after traveling over 3000 miles, you then need to make a final push and make it all go away. It was physically draining (I am sure I lost some weight), I used muscles that I forgot I had. Then you realize, every show is like this. There is nothing overly special for vendors at this show (except that the amount of people can generate into more sales), but these small independent yarn companies do this multiple time a year, some more than once a month to get their yarn into your hands. I met one vendor that will have done 18 shows this year; I didn’t even ask how many miles they have traveled.

It is not an easy job that they undertake, a job that is a passion about yarn. I appreciate what they go through to keep a viable business, and keep a great product available for me to work with. My hats off to them and all small businesses that go extra miles that most of us just take for granted.

Creating Some Fun Memories for Summer!

ScannedImageSo with June finally upon us, dreams of warm weather and vacations dance within our minds, at least for the most part.

 

My design and article in the Summer 2015 issue of Crochet! Magazine, about Yarn Dyeing with Kool-Aid will definitely foster new summer memories!

 

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Easy & Bright Market Bag Photo Courtesy of Annie’s

With simply water, wool yarn, Kool-Aid packets, vinegar, and a little heat, you can create fun moments with children and custom yarn to create your own projects. Speaking of projects, my Easy & Bright Market Bag is designed for beginners, and allows you to highlight the yarn that you created in the article! If you choose to forgo the dyeing, this bag can be created with any yarn and then accompany you to the farmers market, the beach, and the kids’ sports games.

 

If you want to take a look at Dyeing Yarn with Easter Egg Dyes, check out the post I did a while back, it makes for some fun too!

 

 

Crochet -Creating Opportunities and Communities

ScannedImageI enjoy March. How can you not, it is a month long celebration of crochet! This is the third year that Crochetville has put this fabulous blog tour together, highlighting a least 2 different crochet designers each day (if you missed any make sure and spend some time catching up with them from the interviews at Crochetville) and Thank you Amy & Donna for once again putting this together.

halosofhopeFor me I always realize something about the world through crochet, and one of the reoccurring themes is community. This blog tour also brings attention to great service organizations, like Halos of Hope, that use crochet items to better society. Crochetville is taking up a collection for Halos of Hope, please consider contributing.

Crochetville_Designer_Blog_Tour_Promo-e1427303900438Community can be large like the Crochet Guild of America, many crocheters from around the world coming together in one organization, or small like your own local guild (mine is the Hangtown Fibers Guild, you can find one near you here), or crochet group, or coffee chat. But community can be quite unique and sometime taken for granted. So I wanted to share the store of how my Empress Wide Scarf (my free pattern as a gift to you for National Crochet Month), came into being. It is an interesting network that was connected and brought together by crochet.

IMG_6799.1My rural life has me in an area that is great for growing wine grapes, I should preface this by informing you that I have very little knowledge of wine; I know there is red & white, but much more than that and I am lost. With that said I believe the majority of the wine varieties in my area are more reminiscent of Italy then France as it is a region with a Tuscany climate, as a result there are many award winning wineries nearby. So my children go to school with, and are friends with, the children of winery owners and workers. One day I was approached by the mother of one of my daughter’s friends, she has admired my crochet work and was hoping I could create something for her daughter’s birthday. She had some rough idea that she might like a scarf or something that she could wrap around her head in a dramatic fashion like a Hepburn. She would love it to have the feel of a particular shawl I wear often (the Five Peaks Shawl by Vashti Braha), created in a fingering weight hand painted bamboo.

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Empress Wide Scarf – Free Pattern (click link below)

Now this mother knows about as much about crochet and yarn as I know about wine. I know that I cannot find a comparable yarn in the local box store; my local yarn store did not even carry such a fiber, so I began playing with various fibers to see if I could get a similar feel and drape. Then I happened to run into a fiber friend, she is an independent dyer that I have done some other crochet designs for in the past. I did not think to use her yarn at first, but after looking over the stock I found something that would fit perfectly. As it happens the dyer, Lisa Souza, loves that wine that the mother creates, Holly’s Hill Vineyards, so trades were able to be arranged so that everyone benefited. As a result I have been able to take this birthday present and share it with you.

My larger take away from this is how small the world can really be. By not hiding my work, I was able to bring others together in a completely different way, and I am reminded that I have a skill that I can share. Crochet can create a community that may not have been created otherwise, as it creates “ice breaker” opportunities; people are brought to fond memories when they see the fiber arts. (I discussed this more in the blog post Thankful Crochet…Not What You Might Expect)

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Empress Scarf- Free Pattern (click link below)

So the Empress Wide Scarf is created using Tunisian Simple Stitch, but what makes this pattern stand out is that it changes color on the Forward & Return Pass. The effects are very nice. So that the colors do not get too muted together in the Tunisian work, it is edged with standard crochet in defining bands of color.

Visit my Ravelry Store and download your pattern for FREE. If you are so inclined, please feel free to use coupon code “natcromo15” to receive a 15% discount on any order of at least two patterns until April 15, 2015.

I hope you make your own communities, as often as possible.