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Renegade Dyeing

It was a quiet and dreary day in the house yesterday and I decided to play around with some colour. I had a blank Briggs & Little Softspun hank begging to be jazzed up – blank yarn burns a hole in my yarn stash like money in a pocket. I had no real plan in mind for a colour scheme this time and decided to go renegade and not worry about being too precise.

I found some PAAS Easter Egg dyes that I bought a couple of years back (note to self, always make the effort to go shopping the day after Easter when the dyes are on sale because $1.99 for wool dye is awesome). I had a full rainbow of colours in the pack.


I followed the same tutorial as I did for the Pink Lemonade Hand-Painted yarn. I soaked the skein in vinegar for 30 minutes (next note to self – next time give it a wash first to help it absorb the colour).

I couldn’t decide on which colours to use. Originally I was planning on blue and purple and possibly green. I mixed those up by dissolving the tablets in vinegar, and then decided to try four colours because I haven’t done that before, so I thought maybe orange. Except when the orange tablet went in I realized it was yellow. I really wanted orange – I was thinking maybe Hallowe’en colours – so I threw the orange in with the yellow.

That left the poor red dye tablet sitting there all alone and it seemed kind of dumb to hang on to it. I knew from a previous dyeing experience that the purple colour was likely to break (separate into its component colours) once it was on the yarn so I figured what the hell and threw the red in with the purple to see what would happen.


The purple started to break almost as soon as I poured it on the yarn – see how it’s pinkish around the edges? Clearly if I was going for a nice even purple this would be a bad thing, but I kind of like the look when I’m just going for something fun.

Purple and Blue

I poured on the remaining colours. In a moment of inspiration it occurred to me that with two tablets in the orange pot, I could increase the liquid and dye more yarn. Which is why there’s a big stretch of the yellow/orange.

All the colours

I microwaved it.


I let it sit till it was cool (this is HARD) and then rinsed it off to take out the loose left-over dye. Check out the purple now – really broken.


I let it dry overnight and got some pictures this morning in better light. I’m kind of in love. It looks very tie-dyed with some really vivid colours – it reminds me of a Crayola Watercolours box.

Full skein

The purple



I think I’m reaching the end of what I can do in terms of dyeing with my current equipment and methods. I love food-grade dyeing and I’ll likely continue with that (haven’t used food colouring yet, for example) but I’d like to start playing with some acid dyes. And I need a better method for heating the yarn, or I need to re-skein the yarn (I need a Niddy Noddy) so that it’s not touching itself. I’d like to be able to dye two skeins at once because longies usually require more than one skein, but that’s not going to work with my current equipment. I have research to do…

A Thank You to a Wonderful Teacher – Musica Mitts

Originally posted on June 23, 2013

My daughter has had a marvelous year this year in school. Her Grade 2 teacher has been so wonderful. She is so involved with the children, and relishes the chance to work with different personalities and learning styles for the challenge of it. I have seen my girl blossom this year both academically and socially. This teacher believes that reading and the occasional math game are the only homework that children need at this level, because children need to have fun, and have outside activities, and be, well, children. In addition to her classroom, she is at every extra-curricular night at the school and she volunteers with the Girl Guides as a leader. I have no idea where she finds the time!

Not only is this teacher wonderful overall, but she is also highly musical – with a fellow teacher she runs the primary choir, and has a song for every concept – singing in math and science classes – what a wonderful idea! It was a perfect fit for my daughter, who sings, well, constantly.

I wanted to do something special for this teacher – to do something that required a commitment on my part to show her how appreciated she is for going the extra mile for her kids. My daughter picked these stranded colourwork mitts with a music theme (pattern here). I have been doing a few rows here and there over the past few weeks. Hopefully they will come in handy for Mme. L on yard duty!

(Click on the pictures for a larger version.)

musica 001

musica 002 (Small)

musica 3
Thank you, Mme. L., for a wonderful year!