Category Archives: dyeing

Fun with dye


The store where I work has a monthly DIY idea and this month it’s a rope bowl.

My boss has been making these for ages and she uses cotton clothesline which she buys in bulk online. But the fabric store obviously wants to promote their own products so they used cotton piping cord for theirs, plus they dip-dyed it in Rit dye.

I brought home 8 metres of cord, some 100% cotton thread (so it would take up the dye) and some Coral Rit. I already had a scrap of vinyl at home.

Above photos are after sewing and before dyeing. The top diameter is about 7″.

(Spoon for scale.)

I was pleased with the result, but I did just go back and add a bit more stitching to the final loop to make it look neater.

When I was dipping the bowl into the dyebath, the water was barely soaking through so I scooped some water into the inside and then had to hope it would drain out, or I’d have had dye up the side and over the edge!

There was so much dye, I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I grabbed a couple of balls of white cotton Drops Safran and tossed them in as is. They instantly went a vibrant orange. After they’d had a chance to dry a bit, I used my swift to make them into hanks so they’d dry faster.

I got a nice tonal effect. In real life, it’s coral, not as bright as the photo suggests.

I’ve had a satisfying day today, cleaning and airing the house.  Soup is cooking and now I’m going to make a couple more earsavers for myself. This is one I made last night.

Hello September


I’m currently enjoying a beautiful long weekend. It’s Labour Day here tomorrow and I booked four days off from work to coincide with Mr Fixit’s time off.

Thursday was an insanely busy day at work, moving tonnes of fabric around, shifting tables, reconfiguring parts of the store, and so having this weekend off feels more precious than ever. (Also I am going to a four day week instead of three soon, so definitely appreciating this leisure time.)

Friday was a restful day. I was letting my body recover from all of the strenuous activity of the day before. Saturday we enjoyed a mini road trip south, repeating one of our favourite traditions for this time of year. We stopped to pick up lunch from our friends’ food truck at a farmers market, sat in a park to eat it, continued on to a fruit stand in a little town, bought lots of peaches, plums, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, peppers and beets, then turned around and stopped for a cup of tea. Further up the valley we parked by the side of the road at a small beach and enjoyed a swim and a sunbathe.

Today we were out early again and hiked up to the top of a local mountain, which we followed up with tea and baked goods at our favourite tea shop. This afternoon, after a fruit salad made with lots of local fruit, we hit the gym.

After dinner tonight, I finished a couple of things that I started yesterday. This crochet beanie was made from a cake of Caron Cupcakes grabbed out of the stash yesterday morning to keep my hands busy while Mr Fixit drove. (I used one of my new KnitPro Waves hooks and it was very comfortable.)

And the other finished project is this bag. I have seen some people on a Ravelry sewing group making Japanese rice bags (good tutorial here). They looked pretty simple. Just four squares for the sides, another square for the base, same for the lining, and sew them together incorporating tabs or loops for a drawstring.

Of course this bag would look a lot classier with fewer fabrics but I decided to do this…

Yes, I tipped all my quilting cotton scraps onto the floor and dug down to the bottom and grabbed pieces at random to make crazy quilt blocks. So the five outer panels are all different, all clashing, and once I’d sewn them last night I started to doubt myself!! (I started with 11″ squares of sew-in fleece and pieced the fabric right onto the fleece. They needed trimming a bit afterwards so ended up 10.75″ square.)

Tonight I thought, “To heck with it, I’m going to do it anyway,” cut some squares for the lining (all different, of course) and put it all together. It’s really easy to make, the trick being that when you sew the seams you leave the last little bit unsewn so that the corners come together neatly. (Watch the video I linked above.)

Seen from another angle…

And the inside (with my hand-dyed yarn inside)…

Oh yes, I haven’t told you about the yarn yet. These were four balls of white Drops Paris (worsted weight cotton). I dyed them with turquoise and yellow, overlapping the colours in the middle to make green.

This was only my second attempt at dyeing yarn. I think I am going to take four balls at a time and use different colours and methods on each batch and see how they turn out. I have no plans for the yarn once it’s dyed.

If you live in North America, happy Labour Day! How will you be spending it?

Dying to Dye

Dying to Dye

I was in the mood for a new challenge, something fun, and I had been meaning to try yarn dyeing for some time. I was inspired by some videos by Spellbound Weaving and Dyeing on YouTube – she’s Australian, and even though she’s only published a small number of videos I felt like she’d provided enough information to get me started.

I did a bit of research on dyes and bare yarn, but for my first dip into dyeing (ha) I drove into town and bought a starter pack of Procion MX dye from Opus (turquoise, pink, yellow and black plus a packet of soda ash), some white cotton yarn from my LYS, and some measuring spoons and cups, squirty bottles, a plastic bowl and foam paintbrushes from the dollar store.

Impatient to start, I set up an old folding table next to my laundry tub, with a plastic tablecloth draped over it, and a mask and gloves handy (ha again). It was 9pm by the time I got started on the actual process. Washed the yarn using some dish soap (the handwashing kind, not dishwasher detergent), soaked it in the soda ash solution, squeezed it out, laid it on plastic wrap on my table. Mixed up some dye powder with water in the squeezy bottles and dove in.

I guess a newbie always goes all out! With hindsight, I probably should have just used two colours – maybe turquoise and yellow (because I love the way they made green where they overlapped) however I used the three brights in wide stripes on the yarn and then dripped the black in places with the baster.

I wrapped the yarn up in the plastic wrap and left it overnight – about 12 hours. Then there was LOTS of rinsing and another wash before hanging it out to dry. There was some colour transfer onto my airing rack which means I was slapdash about the rinsing (why am I not surprised?!) but I will just have to remember to expect some colour bleeding when I wash whatever I make with it.

It looks like I made circus yarn, AKA clown barf, AKA rainbow yarn, but it looks really pretty in the cake!

I have 400 grams of this bulky rainbow yarn now, so the question is….what shall I make with it?!