Craft Sabbatical: A “hank”-ering to dye

I signed up for a yarn dying class at Lion Brand Studios in NYC about a month or so ago. Tara has been previously experimenting with dying yarns, but I have yet to do so. She mailed me a great green and yellow hand dyed wool – My soon to be French Press cozy.

I’m allowed to bring 3 skeins of yarn to dye in the class. I spent at least 2 weeks trying to decide between wool or alpaca. I ended up choosing baby alpaca in DK weight. My favorite thing to knit is “neck-ware” so I wanted my finished product to be a neckerchief. I went with the Lion Brand DK Baby Alpaca because it’s a softer thinner yarn. I like the way the thinner yarns lay in a neckerchief.

One thing I secretly miss from taking classes in college: Homework. I know, that CRAZY college girl and her….homework. Knitting homework is EVEN better! We were asked to wind our yarn into “hanks” before class. It’s basically like making a huge circle and then twisting it together back into a skein. This puts all of the yarn in a fashion so the dye can spread evenly across the yarn.

I decided to do it with my swift, since that would make the correct size circle. So I wrapped one tail and began spinning the swift, turning my Italian wrapped balls into hanks…

Well…Since this is the first time I’ve tried this, you can already see vast improvement from the first to the third hank. Oops. And I only made a knotted mess once! Good start.

I hop on the train and head into class.

When I got there, I entered into a very nice classroom space with a very small class size….three…including myself. Talk about one-on-one time with the teacher!

Everyone in the class was using a different animal fiber, so the color results ended up being different. If you want a step-by-step guide, it’s worth taking the class. You can sign up via their website: Lion Brand Yarn Studio

The concept is simple enough though!

We prepped our yarn in a citric acid bath until it was good and soaked. Then we began to paint it with all of the dyes they had mixed for us. They gave us lots of fun tips try dying at home. I can’t wait to try it and share my experiences with you all. I will go into details then.

I find when I choose yarns, I like multicolored yarns. I do tend to like self-striping yarns less than variegated. For the basic course I took, we just learned the basic process of dying, so the random placement of colors made very pretty hanks, but will create a variegated pattern when knitting it into a fabric.

I tried to get my three skeins to be roughly the same so they could be used on the same project but slightly different so they would shift as the project progressed.

After we were done added the dye, we tucked all of the yarn into ziploc bags and put the bags into a crock pot to help the lock in the color.

After a handful of minutes we pulled out the bags to see what colors got sealed in!

I rushed home with my newly soaking wet and dyed yarn and hung it to dry. The second it was dry I found a pattern for it and started knitting.

One of my favorite things to knit and wear are neckerchiefs. (small triangle shawls.)

Tara came to visit so we did a photo shoot with the newly dyed, newly knitted, newly blocked neckerchief.

Check it out in our shop: Coffee & T