Dyeing a Long Gradient Yarn at Home with Food Dye!

I've been finding that it isn't as easy to find super long gradient yarns as I thought it would be for Circo Mystery Cowl KAL and decided to teach you how to make your own! I used to dye yarn for many of my weaving projects in college and it was great fun to resurrect my dyeing skills.
The instructions below use readily available materials and can be done in your kitchen as the dyes are food safe.
What you will need:
400 yard skein of fingering weight wool yarn (if you plan on using beads on your yarn read this post first)
  I used Jill Draper Makes Stuff Esopus in Ash.
Wilton Icing Dye (You can find this at your local craft store, or online)
  I used Violet.
Glass or Plastic Bowl (don't use your favorite, it might get stained!)
Plastic spoon
Gloves (don't forget these, you will regret it!)
  1. Wind Yarn
    I took about 3/4 of my yarn and wound it into a ball and left the last 1/4 in a skein to dye. If you decide to dye yarn for Circo Cowl MKAL, you'll want to wind 275ish yards into a ball and dye the rest.
  2. Soak Your Skein
    Soak the "skein" end of your yarn in a solution of 3 parts of water to 1 part of vinegar for at least 1 hour if not more. This helps wet and prep your skein so that it is ready to take on the dye. Take your yarn out of the bowl and squeeze it out. Dump out your vinegar water.
  3. Prepare Dye
    With gloves on, dilute dye into 1/2 cup warm water (in the bowl from above)... ensure that all the dye is dissolved and no lumps are left. I used about 2 teaspoons of Wilton Icing Dye. Use more if you want a saturated/darker color, and less if you want it lighter. You can always re-dye your yarn if it isn't dark enough but it is hard to get the dye out once it is set.

  4. Dye Yarn
    Keeping gloves on, place wetted yarn into dye solution. Add more water so that your yarn is covered. With gloves or spoon stir around gently making sure the dye penetrates your yarn evenly.
  5. Cook Your Yarn
    Place bowl of yarn and dye into microwave and cook on high for 3 - 5 minutes. Let stand for 3-5 minutes. Carefully lift yarn out of bowl and add big glug of vinegar (like one cup), stir it  and add the yarn back in. Cook and let cool as you did before until your dye water is clear which means all the dye has bonded with your yarn. (At least 2 more times.) Do not worry if your dye bath doesn't exhaust. Just continue below.
    Exhausted Dye Bath
  6. Cool Down
    Allow your yarn to sit in the dye bath and let it cool down.

  7. Rinse Your Yarn
    Dump out your dyebath and gently rinse your yarn in luke warm water. Do not use hot or cold water, you don't want to shock your yarn fibers. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear. If it doesn't run clear go onto Step 8. If it does hang your yarn to dry (This is the hardest part... waiting for it to dry!)

  8. Set Your Yarn
    If your water didn't run clear you can "re-cook" it with more vinegar and water. Make a solution of 50/50 water/vinegar and put yarn in it. Cook/cool as you did before until water is clear.  Then let it cool and rinse out as in Step 7.

  9. Rewind Your Yarn
    Take your yarn and wind it into a pretty gradient ball! If you are dyeing your yarn for Circo know that I knit the dark end of the skein left, so I wound that to the inside of the ball.

Dyeing with food grade dyes
Fresh Stitches series on dyeing
Instructables Tutorial on Dyeing with Food Coloring 
Knitty Tutorial 

Note: This style of gradient dyeing gives a pretty hard "line" between the two colors, if you want a more gradual shift from color to color you have to dye the end of a sock blank. I don't have a knitting machine, and life is TOO SHORT to knit a sock blank by hand and then dye it and rip it out. I have heard you can soak a tightly bound ball of yarn and just let the dye penetrate the outside of the ball, but I'm not sure how to set this. That is an experiment for another day!

Time for a Winner: Congrats to Susulu69 you are the winner of a KnitCircus kit for Circo Mystery KAL! Get in touch with you address so I can send it out to you! (ALSO.... SQUEE! Yeah Suzy! I did a happy dance when your name came up!)


Circo Mystery Cowl KAL (and a Giveaway!)

Did you hear? It's time for another Mystery KAL!
I give this one a two thumbs up for FUN and LEARNING! I can't wait until it's time to cast on together! I've set up a KAL PAL program in my Ravelry group, we tried this for Meta Mystery KAL and it went REALLY well, so of course we need to do it again! If you have never participated in one of my MKAL's, (or feel like you would love some extra help) having a KAL PAL can be a great way to participate. A Tips and Tricks thread has been started to help you choose yarn and beads and work gauge... and everyone is already chatting away in preparation!

Members of 2015's M Club got some pretty special yarn for this KAL, an exclusive color of KnitCircus' Greatest of Ease in a new long-gradient style of yarn Jaala calls Dip-Dyes.

While we were working out the exact color Jaala was super patient and sent me multiple "trials" until we got just what I wanted.... and I saved one of the One-Of-A-Kind Dip Dye skeins for you! So let's have a giveaway!!!!

The giveaway details... 
I matched my extra skein to some fabulous beads and have it already for you...

Head over to Ravelry and Favorite and Queue (and maybe even purchase!) Circo Mystery KAL, and then leave a comment below by 12pm (EST) on August 23rd. Don't forget to leave a way to get in touch with you! I will randomly choose a winner on Monday the 24th and get your yarn and beads to you in plenty of time to join in! 


Mouette Scarflette: An M Club Bonus Pattern!

I've been loving the Brioche stitch for quite a while... and somewhere deep in the heart of last winter I decided it was time to try to figure out how to incorporate beads into it! I decided it would be a great "extra" pattern for this year's M Club as I love to teach something new in the club, and this is definitely new!
Mouette is a two-color beaded Brioche scarflette is inspired by the Brioche Gull Stitch in Nancy Marchant’s book, Knitting Fresh Brioche. Nancy was a great supporter while I figured this stitch out and even sent me her chart symbols so I didn't have to recreate them! Thanks Nancy!
Mouette means gull in French and this elegant little piece certainly deserves a sophisticated name, especially once you see what a fun challenge it is to knit. I (not so) secretly refer to this as my “anti-Alzheimer’s” design as mastering all the skills involved uses ALL of your brain power, which we all know is healthy for our minds : )!
But don’t worry… I’ve given lots of tips and tricks in the notes section (and a 25 minute exclusive video) to help you become a Mouette Master! And as always, the beading is optional!
Mouette is knit with Bare Naked Wools Stone Soup Fingering and two indie dyer sock yarns, Gynx Yarn Merino Sock and Spun Right Round Superwash Sock 80/20. I love the juxtaposition of the wooly natural hand of the Stone Soup with the hand-dyes. The texture and color play beautifully off of each other! These yarns were sent to my M Club members, one mini-skein in each of the first three packages... the final package had the beads and so they are all set to knit Mouette with me!
Mouette Scarflette is a bonus pattern in 2015's M Club... it will be released as an individual pattern available for download in August 2016. Enrollment for 2016's M Club will open in September. Sign up for my mailing list if you want to join in!


When Life Cycle becomes a Chuppah!

Hello All! I decided that I needed to blog more than once in July (even though it was a vacation month)! I have been Instagraming religiously, which is a great way to share my days in photos, but I do owe you a post with photos from our trip to Europe and my meet-up at Wollmeise. Those are going to have to wait until next week as one of my Craftsy students and Ravelry members shared some photos with me from her wedding and I'm too excited for you to see them!

Earlier this Spring PlasticSushi posted in my Ravelry group that she was making Life Cycle as a chuppah for her wedding, and had LOST her knitting bag with her partially completed project while at a convention! We all went bananas and helped her brainstorm how to find it, and luckily she did, because look how absolutely stunning it is....

When I designed Life Cycle for my Craftsy class Lace from the Inside Out, I envisioned it as being a warm wrap, perhaps to make for an elderly loved one, and as a baby blanket for a new family member, but I didn't anticipate it's ability to transform itself into a Chuppah!

I am in tears... congrats Ariana and Ever on your marriage, may it be filled with laughter, love, friendship, honesty and support! Thankyou for sharing your creation with us!!!

All photos by Carina Romano at Love Me Do Photography and flowers by Chicory Florals.