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!

Excursion Wrap! This Is A Show Stopper!

I love when a design comes out like I was hoping! Excursion Wrap came out just as I envisioned, okay, better than I could have hoped. I saw this design in my mind as soon as I laid hands on the yarn, it just came to me and I had to find a way to get it worked up in the stitches.

Excursion Wrap

That is not to say that it came out perfectly in just one try, I ripped things back several times. I played with some different combinations of stitches and color sequins before finally landing on the perfection, and the difficulty of using multiple color rows and designing like this is when ripping back I end up with many more ends to weave in….some right in the middle of rows, as I ensure the use of all the yarn.

The wrap is worked in 2 contrasting colors, which offer a bold definition of the design. The yarn is Silk Baby Camel by Lisa Souza Dyeworks, and is lusciously yummy! It is soft, but with nice structure, making it a dream to work with. Being that the pattern only takes 2 skeins, it is manageable in both crocheting and in cost.

The lacy ripple pattern is worked as a 3 row repeat, so it is simple to memorize yet keeps the pattern engaging. So you can work the stitch pattern successfully without getting bored with it.

The color sequencing is what really brings this design to life, it demands the eye to transverse the entire piece and then to look again. The altering of the stitch pattern and the colors offers a cascading effect of interest that will definitely have you garnering praise.

This wrap is a show stopper, one that makes people stop and admire your handiwork. I already have plans to work up this design a couple of more times….once is just not enough!

Get your pattern here!

 

Gotta Love that Shawl- Free Pattern

Since I have been playing around with some stitches, and attempting to finish some yarn in my stash, I have a free pattern to share. Gotta Love that Wrap is worked entirely of Love Knots! If you are not familiar with the stitch I have a tutorial here.

I love how you can use this pattern really with any yarn, although I prefer it with lighter weight yarns. The Wrap in phots here was actually worked up in Plymouth Yarns Linaza, which is 50% alpaca, 25% linen and 25% Tencel, so it really hold the shape of the knot.

The benefit of this yarn is that it really allows the yarn to go along way, the yarn I used was 100g/440yards, and as you can see it made for a wide and long wrap. So feel free to pull something out of your stash and give it a try, or purchase that one skein in a color you love.

This design is actually only a 2 row repeat, so it is pretty simple and relaxing to work. I would recommend that you place a stitch marker somewhere along row 1, to note it as the bottom edge. As the fabric is worked along and becomes squarer, it can be difficult to discern which way the rows are being worked.

The pattern is essentially creating the points of triangles in each even row, the closing it off to a straight edge every odd row, and when the pattern states to slip stitch in the knot, the knot is recognized as the most closed point of the stitch (where is was finished).

Gotta Love that Shawl

Materials:

  • One skein of any yarn, light weight preferred. The longer the yardage the longer the wrap
  • Hook size compatible for yarn weight

Gauge: Gauge is not critical for this project.

Special Stitches

Love Knot: See here

Abbreviations:

Rep=repeat

Sl st= slip stitch

Row 1: 18 Love knots, turn.

Row 2: Skip first knot, sl st in 2nd knot, [2 love knots, sl st in next knot] rep 15 times, turn.

Row 3: 2 love knots, sl st in next knot, [1 love knot, sl st in next knot] rep 15 times, turn.

Row 4: 2 love knots, sl st in next knot, [2 love knots, sl st in next knot} rep 15 times, turn.

Rep Rows 3 & 4 until desired length.

Last Row: Rep Row 3, fasten off. Weave in ends, block as desired.

Life’s Journey- A Crochet Job

As I attend several graduations I ponder my days of completing high school and where I thought my life would go, and if someone told me that I would be designing and teaching crochet I seriously would have laughed at them. I even remember telling a friend my senior year of high school, after he was in awe of an afghan I had created that I should make and sell them for a living, that there was no money in such an endeavor.

Granted all these years later, I will not say that the money in crochet is great, but it is now my profession, even if it took an odd journey to get there.

Like most students graduating high school, or even college, I was never able to answer the question “where do you see yourself in five years?”. A great question, but one that always felt like I could not adequately answer.

I worked the food industry, I worked retail, I worked for startup companies and local government before finding myself currently in crochet. In reality I would probably still be working local government if there was not a change in the direction of the management that no longer wanted to employ part time workers. I had been working part time for a few years juggling the typical family demands of running a household and raising kids, and the costs that I would incur in the additional child care did not justify working full time.

When these management decision were made, I was fortunate to have already had an opportunity to sell my first crochet design. It began just a couple of years earlier, when I was attending an event with a silent auction and I won lessons on using a drop spindle.

I had already been crocheting for decades, but due to the speed of completing my projects I was wanting to find a way to enjoy the process longer, so learning how to make yarn on a drop spindle was an exciting adventure. During the lessons my instructor was telling me all about her local guild, and invited me to attend a meeting.

I admit I was a bit apprehensive, but after finally taking her up on her invitation, I met so many interesting people that fostered a new desire to learn and grow in all crafts related to fiber.

I then learned of the Crochet Guild of America, and that it had a Masters program. I decided to test my skills in this program, of which I graduated. I was then invited to attend the annual conference of this organization, with the encouragement of my family I attended. I met so many people and gained so much insight. With a determined new friend’s guidance I sold my first design, it was published the same week I left my job in government.

You never really know when life can completely change, you never know when a skill you used as a child will now become your income source. I do not know “where I will be in five years”, but I will continue to support the twists on turns of life’s journey.

Free Hair Scarf Pattern- Perfect for Spring!

Spring weather has really descended upon my home, and with it the need for fun and whimsical attire and free patterns. In addition to wanting to spice up my wardrobe, I have a bit of the spring cleaning bug. In undertaking my cleaning projects I find myself being distracted by small piles of yarn, left over partials of skeins.

In order to kill two birds with one stone, I have some up with a simple project to help my daughter up her hair back, and have a retro vibe, a hair scarf.

The hair scarf is worked from the back point and worked with increases on both sides until it is the desired length.

The airy stitch offers a lot of potential that can easily change the drape by changing fiber types. My sample is made up of a blend of Suri Alpaca, Wool, and Nylon, but changing to a cotton blend or a silk and the drape will be even greater.

If you have a bit of partial skeins around, and want to create a change for spring, check out my free pattern below.

Retro Hair Scarf

Materials:

  • About 100 yards of light weight yarn
  • Size I/9/5.5mm size hook

Gauge is not import for this project

Special Stitches

Beginning V Stitch (Beg V st): Ch 4, dc in same stitch

V Stitch (V st): (dc, ch 1, dc) in same space

Abbreviations:

Bet = between

Ch = chain

Dc = double crochet

Rep = repeat

Sk = skip

Sp(s) = space(s)

Row 1: Ch 5, dc in first ch, turn.

Row 2: Beg V st, sk 1 ch, V st in next ch, turn.

Row 3: Beg V st, V st bet Beg V and V st, sk 1 ch, V st in next ch, turn.

Row 4: Beg V st, V st bet each V st across, sk 1 ch, V st in next ch, turn.

Row 5-23: Rep Row 4. Fasten off. Weave in ends, block.