Knitting, design, wool and other gatherings….

DIY or dye …as it happens!

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My New Years resolution #1 this year is: NOT TO BUY A SINGLE SKEIN OF YARN!

Status 8th of January:

yarn bought: 0

hours browsing the internet for fabulous and mouthwatering heavenly yarn: approx. 5,5 h

My grandmother was a wisard in the art of «sayings», …or directly translated from Norwegian: «words of wisdom» (I prefer the Norwegian…). And one local word of wisdom she often had to inform me of is: «Distress (as in poverty) teaches naked woman to spin.» (Nød lærer naken kvinne å spinne.) There may be a similar saying in English, there usually is….

So what to do when you can´t buy any wool yarn? -dye your own!


Luckily I happened to have a cone (1,5 kilos) of undyed baby alpaca just laying around, bought at Garnudsalg.dk., and started by winding it into 100 gram skeins. This is a thin alpaca; fingering / lace weight and 600 meters to 100 grams. Winding is pretty boring in general, but when you´re very eager to start the dyeing prosess it takes forever!! So I decided to start with 3 skeins.

I had some old licquid Batik fabric coloring in my stash, and used vinegar to set the dye. I´m quite autodidact in my way of working,  -I do first and read later. If I´d read, instead of flipping through the instructions I downloaded, I would have known that alpaca isn´t the easiest yarn to dye. I would also have known that alpaca wool need a higher temperature, and later, a longer cooling period to set the dye properly. I´ve also learned, -the hard way, that you will need more of the black and blue dye, than the red, yellow and green.

I decided to dye one skein grey, one burgundy and one teal. As you can see I didn´t succeed in making any of those colors……

I ended up with a skein of apricot / rust, a skein of brown and last but not least; a skein of green. I´ve blogged about my aversion towards green here. And let´s just agree that this green didn´t help much…. The skein of apricot / rust is actually not bad at all….. the color is growing on me! I´m thinking a scarf, maybe lightly felted…….

I also put a skein of merino into the dye pots, and it came out black. I was aiming for a dark blue with hints of black……

But I had a great time trying. The hours flew, and working with wool is always a pleasure. I will definitely try dying wool yarn again.

Author: woolandgathering

I´m a dedicated knitter. I share my house with an unknown amount of wool. My kind of wool seems to multiply like quicksilver, -drop a skein to the floor and you get 10 in return….. (well… get is maybe an exaggeration….) So I keep on knitting to try to get on top of it, enjoying the process, the texture of the yarn and the endless possibilities in creating new garments.

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