Today I thought I would do a little bit different post. I know I have several people who follow my blog that knit or crochet. And I have had more than a few emails over the years, saying they wish they could afford to work with wool.
Well, before I started growing my own wool, I would buy it as well. But quite a few years ago, over 6 years now, I found this site on Etsy that sold "upcycled yarn" today 6 + years later it is a pretty big business. You can find it in terms such as "upcycled" "recycled" "reclaimed" and so on.
First off, if you know me or have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I am big into recycling. To me recycling is the cheapest way to "Go Green". And anyone can do it.
And yes, I spin my own wool, and yes I can spin anything from Dk weight on up, but sometimes I don't want to sit and spin for hours, to do a project and then have to dye the yarn. And sometimes I want to have yarn that is so soft that it suits the project I am going to be knitting.
With most all my winter knitting done, I will be moving on to lighter spring/summer projects.
You may have read that I will be starting a shawl. And the shawl that I want to do is called "Summer Flies". If you click on the word Summer Flies it will take you to a photo of it. And at some point I will get to that as soon as I sit long enough to spin what is in my head for that pattern.
Anyway, I knew I wanted to make a spring shawl, one that could be just thrown over a sleeveless summer dress to make it wearable in the early spring. I wanted something that was soft and spring like, and again not wanting to sit at the wheel spinning away for hours. Not that I would not love to do that, it is just this time of year spinning is more of a luxury. With yard clean up, lambs coming and garden work, there is just not enough time. So I went to my wool storage and looked to see what I had. I remembered buying some reclaimed yarn a few years back, I just had to locate it.
Well, I found it, and boy is the color ever ugly. But that can be remedied ...
400 yards of ugly gray white yarn.
Soft Merino ...
When I dye I will not use a chemical based dye. That is why I use natural plants, flowers, berries, bark or nuts. If none are handy I will use the "greener shades" dye. Call me lazy, because I did not want to dig my "greener shades" out.
I knew what color I wanted so this would be easy. A few weeks ago I did a tutorial using food coloring. Well, I dug them back out, why not, it's a dye. Yep, get your food coloring out.
You will need
1 tablespoon per 2 cups of water is enough ...
soak your yarn in warm water ,,,
I use this old pan, I like it because it deep enough, and long enough ... heat your water to low roll boil, like a simmer. Add your vinegar.
Now add your food coloring. I wanted yellow for a spring/summer shawl. I added 25 drops of gel to a spoon and mixed in hot water ... I added 15 and then 10 drops. I am using a gel food coloring so if you are using the liquid, you may want to experiment or test how many drops will give you the color you want.
Here is what I started with after 25 drops of yellow gel.
Take your presoaked yarn and place into the simmering dye water. I wanted a graduated yarn, Meaning a light, medium and dark shade of yellow. So to do that I first placed all of the yarn into the dye. I let it sit for about 2 minutes then I pulled about 1/3 of it out.
Leaving the rest in the dye pot, then I took out another 1/3 of yarn.
I then left the remaining yarn in the pot until the dye had exhausted itself and the water was just about clear. That means that all the dye is now in the yarn.
Remove from dye bath and place in a bowl of warm water and rise any dye that may come out. You can see mine is clear, all dye is in the fiber, where it should be.
Here some of it is drying next to the wood stove ... can you see the color variations?
And this is what it looks like being crochet into a shawl.
Can't wait to wear it this spring!
So the next time you want to make something with nice wool, but think you can't afford it, go green and buy recycled yarn and dye it the color you want. Have a great week And thanks for stopping by the farm.