How did it take me so long to try dyeing yarn???

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Well, helloooooo. How are you? I've been here, there, everywhere, and nowhere. I had a fit in my office and tried to clean it, and it feels better. Andy took the week off and is going to clean out the basement, which is long overdue. I finished gathering my tax data to send to my accountant. I checked in on our last two back-ordered cones of embroidery floss for Time of Flowers kits and found that although they'd been ordered by me four weeks ago, the sales rep hadn't actually put the order through. This, or something like it, literally happens every time. Every. Time. Luckily, the cones had already come in on their own, or something, and they are shipping them out to me today. :/ The printed patterns are due to arrive here on Friday. So if those look good and the cones arrive next week, we'll still be on schedule to ship out of here at the end of the month. The fabric is all cut and waiting. I'm planning to write my cross-stitch post next week now that I'm kind of caught up with my other stuff. And, yeah. The usual. Life.

I made Amelia some pretty legwarmers from the Rambler legwarmers pattern by Derya Davenport, and the yarn is Eden Cottage Yarns Tempo 4-ply in Antique Rose.

In the kitchen, I bubble wool on the stove and make pretty colors. This has cracked open a whole new world for me. Andy backs up and watches the whoosh of my enthusiasm take over the house. I read probably twenty online tutorials about how to dye yarn with food coloring. Here's how I wound up doing it: I soaked a few mini-skeins (about 25g each) of sport-weight natural wool (and some was white angora yarn I'd had hanging around for years) yarn in water with a a few glugs of vinegar thrown in. (Disclaimer: I'm not precise about any stuff like this — I just go for it and see how it goes, FYI.) I whisked some Wilton's gel food coloring into a little pot of water on the stove, with some more vinegar. I moved the yarn into the dye pot and heated it up until it was almost simmering. Then I let it stay that hot for a while, until the dye was "exhausted." Do you know what that means? It means that all of the color has moved into the yarn and the water has turned clear again. Completely clear. It's really cool. Then I took the yarn out of the pot with tongs and let it cool down. They say you're supposed to leave it in the pot to let the water cool down, but I didn't do that. I couldn't figure out why you would have to do that, but maybe I'm missing something. Then I washed the wool with a bit of Dr. Bronner's soap and rinsed it (gently) and hung it to dry. I felted some of it in my impatience. Basically you want to not shock the yarn with drastic temperature changes or a lot of agitation. It also kind of depends on what kind of wool you have. The wool I got at the Pendleton outlet store, which they use to bind the edges of their blankets, did not want to felt much (though they insisted that it wasn't superwash). The Brown Sheep Nature Spun sport wanted to felt like crazy and did, when I wasn't careful.

I also made some speckled yarn by flinging cake sprinkles and dry Kool-Aid and other drinks powder at the damp yarn and then microwaving it. You can lay down some Saran Wrap and then dot the yarn with dye on a toothpick, or shake on some cake sprinkles, or drop on some food-colored powder, and then wrap it all up and microwave it for 30 seconds at a time until it is steaming. A few minutes. People say that sometimes the yarn burns, but mine didn't. Take it out, let it cool, then wash the candy off. Some of the dye colors struck and some didn't. I think I might not have had enough vinegar for some of the sprinkles to strike, though when they did it was great (and the Kool-Aid has citric acid in it, so that acts as an acid to help bind the color to the yarn). It was a fun experiment. I have so many plans to do some more. The fun thing about it is that all of these dyes are food safe, so you can just play around with them in your kitchen. I have no interest in doing other kinds of more complicated dyeing in the house, but just this is so much fun. I have an entire box of cake decorating supplies, so it was really simple to just start trying things out.

The dollie ballet sweater, above, is the Pendleton wool and I love it. It's a bit sticky to knit with but I think it's making brilliant doll sweaters. They're quite sturdy. I was going to do it in angora, but for several reasons I think I'm going to stick with wool. At night I'm in the process of re-editing all of the Little Animal Family knitwear patterns and designing new items for the new dolls that I want to launch this fall. I will be carrying a new line of sport-weight wool (Maine Line from Jagger) in a gorgeous palate for these patterns, and I'm also going to offer up some of my own hand-dyed yarn in mini skeins wound just for these patterns I've got planned for the dolls. Anyway, stay ye tuned for more on this in the coming months.

This soup was literally the best soup I've ever had in my life. You wouldn't think so, but it really was. I served it with the Anadama bread from Little T bakery and, wow.

Roasted Carrot, Parsnip, and Potato Soup
Adapted slightly from original recipe by Martha Rose Shulman for The New York Times

1 ½ pounds carrots, peeled and cut in 3/4 inch pieces
½ pound (2 large) parsnips, peeled, quartered, cored and cut in 3/4 inch pieces
1 medium or large red onion, cut in large dice 1 medium (about 6 ounces) Yukon gold potato, quartered
6 garlic cloves, in the skin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups chicken stock or broth, enhanced with a couple of extra teaspoons of Better than Bouillon chicken stock concentrate
Chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, tarragon or chives, for garnish
Crème fraîche for garnish (DO NOT LEAVE THIS OUT — it is amazing with this soup)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan or a baking dish with parchment or foil. Toss vegetables, including garlic cloves, with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Spread in baking dish or on sheet pan in an even layer and place in oven. Set timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, stir vegetables and turn heat down to 400 degrees. Roast for another 20 to 30 minutes or until very tender and caramelized on the edges, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. You should have about 4 cups roasted vegetables. Put them all in your big soup pot.

Hold garlic cloves with a towel so that you don’t burn your fingers. Squeeze out the pulp into the pot. Add the chicken stock and blend all with a stick blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and heat through. Serve each bowl with a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs and if you wish, a swirl of crème fraîche or yogurt.

 

***Time of Flowers is sold out right now, though  we will have 60 more kits to put on sale as soon as I count up all floss we have left and let you know if we can ship at the same times as the other kits, or if these will be shipping a bit later than the original 400. Thank you to everyone who has ordered!

***Oh — and the PDF Only option for the Time of Flowers pattern will also be available in a couple of weeks, as well. I'll let you know. Thank you!

36 comments

You are, as ever, *in the pink.*

Also... Spring, in your Portland, could not look more enchanting.

I've dyed fabric with koolaid before, but never sprinkles - that looks like fun!!

I just love the wallpapered wall in your dining room. Happy Spring to you!

I really believe you have more hours in your day then the average person...!!! Amazing!!!...What a great idea - dying the wool with food safe items...let's raid the pantry!!!...Loving spring...wherever it may be happening now!!!
Amelia is getting so big...I love the photos where you have caught her "contemplating" something...
\

Like Julia, I was struck by the wallpapered wall in the dining room, next to the checked curtains - very pretty.

Thank You for the recipe! I have all (more or less) of those ingredients and it sounds just right for this week, with the snow, snow, and ever more snow. Typical March in New England.

I was relieved to read that you rinsed off the candy from the yarn, since I was wondering how you'd keep the bugs away when the thing was in your drawer. (ahem) :D

Lynn Marie says: March 12, 2018 at 03:15 PM

I loved the dining room shot as well. Your home always photographs so cozy and welcoming. I love how the doll looks and cannot wait to order one and make it for my granddaughter.

Tell usabout that dollhouse pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease! I want it for myself. : )

Well now I can't wait to try yarn dyeing either! You made it look very doable, and I love the results!

Wow. So many wows. 1. How do you squeeze so much into your days? 2. You definitely have your soulmate in Andy, so happy in a house of calico and flowers and cleaning the basement. 3. Amelia's legs are very long now. 4. Anything by Martha Rose Schulman is going to be delicious so I'll just run on out and get some parsnips now. 5. The yarns are beautiful and I love your choice of dye media!

You're so funny. The minute you get it all cleaned up, creativity strikes and you're off again! I did some food color dyeing with limited results. Try dyeing with black beans - you'll get some blue yarn and a kick out it and then you can make more soup! Lovely post, as usual!

Wonderful Spring-y images! Love Mimi's lacy hand-knit leggings.. you're the best mom ever! We have a ton of wild violets in bloom on the farm here.. the aroma of them is aMaYzInG! I can't wait for your doll kits to come out. Will you be doing a red haired doll? Wouldn't a freckled faced red haired doll be cute? The pink yarn is swoon-worthy! *love* ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Oh my goodness, if you try selling those pink skeins you will surely break the internet! They are the most perfect pinks ever.

Love the leg warmers!!!! Ran over to Raverly for the pattern...thank you, thank you! Your spring looks beautiful, all those blossoms.
When my girls were young and one of the science projects we did was yarn dying with kool-aide, so fun!

Absolutely lovely work on the legwarmers! And they fit those long legs perfectly. With all you are accomplishing, this has to be one of your most gasp-inducing posts ever. We lesser mortals can only stand in awe.

Wonderful! Your dining room is such an eyefull! Love it. Love it ALL, for that matter...

Thank you for sharing the recipe. I will be getting to that right away. It sounds delish to say the least.

May I ask you which felt you used for your dolly? I remember reading where you bought your felt in the past but can't seem to find it again. Much thanks in advance for an info!

Xs and Os
Heidi

Jennifer Bell says: March 13, 2018 at 01:56 AM

Alicia...It's been so long since I've visited your blog. I'd say a couple years. Life got busy and in the way. My, how Amelia has grown. So much reading and catching up to do...your photos, projects and words inspire me. I'm ready to try a cross stitch.
P.S.
I was in my granddaughter's room a couple days ago and found the Miss Maggie Rabbit I made for her tucked in her bed. She no longer has ears and therefore not technically a rabbit. Time to repair.

Oh what a pretty blog! I have been away from blogging for a while, save to read a couple of old favourites regularly, for inspiration of the crochet variety. But I have decided, roaring towards 70, that I am going to spend a year writing, getting back into submitting to magazines, entering short story competitions, writing journals/diaries and blogging, both reading and writing. In between I'll find time for all the other passions, gardening, reading, cooking/eating and making the most of my life as best I can.
I shall definitely be back....

The yarn looks great! I've just started working with natural dyes, and I wish I had more time! Prioritizing activities feels like a full-time job, and then there's the actual job. Oh well. Love the effects you're getting with the sprinkles. Looking forward to your next set of experimentation.

I love working with yarn and dyes. I have recently been "washing" my wool with hair conditioner. It makes it really soft.

I love all of these pretty pastel spring coloured photos. The yarn dying is fun. I am always taken with how intent Amelia looks in ballet class and impressed by her accomplished ballerina stance for someone so young.

Such pretty colours that you dyed the wool! <3 So gentle and warm looking.

Another great way to dye yarn is with those little colored pellets that come in Easter egg dye kits. Google it!

I forgot, but your picture reminded me of when my daughter used to leap over a teddy bear in ballet class. Thank you!!

Beautiful projects!

I'd love to buy a time of flowers kit when the remaining ones are posted :).

Dyeing yarn can be addictive. I love the lovely soft colors you can get by controlling the dye portions. Also, don't forget you can 'over-dye' yarns too. Be sure to get a few extra Easter Egg dye kits. Those are a lot of fun to use dyeing yarn.

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.