Yarn Dyeing

Crafty Goals 2017

Last year I did accomplish most of the crafty goals I set, unfortunately documenting this progress on the blog didn’t happen but I’m all set to change that.    I finished blankets, did some colorwork, started my first sweater (which I still haven’t finished), did some charity knitting, sewed a bit but primarily focused on dyeing.  You can expect more of the same with an extra push in some areas.  My goals this year are:

  • Craft without pressure.  I’m a slow crafter and sometimes I get caught up in the number of FOs saga.  This year, I’m going to be a Cyndi Lauper crafter — this girl just wants to have fun!
  • Recommit to blogging. This space is where I document my crafty and sometimes life journeys and I enjoy doing so.  Last year I cheated on the blog with Instagram (not that I’m giving that up) but I need to do more detailed crafty postings rather than the insta documenting that platform supports. I also need to share posts here other than book reviews.
  • Reduce my stash by 6000 grams.  Sounds like a lot but last year between projects, destashing, gifting and charitable donations, I destashed 9000 grams.  I would have done more but I bought 6 skeins of yarn last year and they narrowed down my destash amount a tad bit.  😀
  • No yarn/fiber purchases for 2017.  I’ve done this before and I’m back at it again.  I have a large stash and while there are other yarns/fiber I want to try, I know I can still be creative with what I have.  Enough of the excess!  After I reduce it by 6000 grams, I’ll give myself permission to get more next year (all being well).  And just so you know … gifts don’t count in the no purchase goal.  LOLOL!  I’m just sayin’. 😉    Seriously though, it sounds tough but I only purchased 6 skeins and 1 fiber batt from a destash in 2016.  How hard can it be to go from 7 to zero?  😉
  • Finish Craftsy class learning schedule I already put together.  Purchasing the classes is like purchasing yarn — easy to do but no good if you’re not using them.  I’ve already made a schedule of 13 classes I want to complete this year.  It’s 1 up from the number I completed in 2016.  My goal is to really dig into them and get everything I can instead of just bulleting through them.
  • Charity knitting.  What can I say about this except that there are so many people in need, I’m going to do what I can with the skills I have to alleviate some of this need.
  • Personal Sock Club.  I’ve heard about it, I’ve seen people just loving socks, knitting socks, crocheting socks, talking about how much they love socks and I want to make socks too.   I just haven’t been bitten by the bug … yet.  This year I aim to make at least two pairs.  I’ve set up my own sock basket, put yarn and patterns together.  Let’s see if I come through with at least two pairs at the end of this year.  😀
  • Improve my spinning.  I need to finish my breed study sampler I started in 2016 and spin the braids I’ve already set aside in my spinning basket.  Most of the Craftsy classes I’ve scheduled are spinning ones so I’m ready.  I haven’t set a specific number of handspun skeins I want to achieve by the end of the year but I’d like to end the year with strong singles, multi-plied skeins and obviously improved spinning.  After this very generous gift of spinning tools (fiber and yarn) from my friend Monique, how could I not spin more this year?

  • 1 year, 1 blanket.  I’m not sure where I saw it listed like this, maybe a bloggy friend I visited and the phrase stuck with me.  I like having at least 1 long project every year, another blanket is the ticket for me.  I’ve already picked my yarn and pattern — I’ll be starting it this month.
  • Improve my dye portfolio.  This is listed last but it’s not the least.  Regular readers of this blog know that I enjoy dyeing.  I might not knit or crochet a lick of anything sometimes but I’m always dyeing.  I want to see where this takes me this year.

So there you have it — my crafty goals for 2017.  All things being well, it’s going to be an exciting crafty year.

Natural Color

When I dream, I see myself living on a little plot of land, in a cottage, with my herb/natural dye plant garden in the back.  It’s tough to have that in the city, but still … I dream.  If I can’t have that, then certainly a natural dye container garden is a possibility in my urban environment, right?  Receiving “Natural Color” by Sasha Duerr has made that dream a goal; I’ve already started collecting seeds for my 2017 dye garden.  I have to work out where to put it without breaking the rules from my building’s management company and the fire marshal but I’ll deal with that later.  😛

Off the bat, the photography in this book is STUNNING!  Even if you’re not a crafter, you’ll love just looking at the pictures.  As usual, whether it’s a book I receive free for review or one I buy, with these types of books, I always follow the same parameters:

  • How easy are the supplies to find?
  • How simple or complicated are the instructions?
  • Realistically, how many of these projects am I likely to make/do?

Because of the diversity of soil composition in this big ole US of A, some of the plants used by the author are not easily found or not found at all in my area.  There’s the added challenge that I don’t live in the farmland area of my state, so sourcing the supplies in my urban environment is a little more difficult if I want to do so locally.  Not impossible but some of them are not readily available.  This is not the fault of the author, just a matter of fact.  With e-commerce what it is I’m sure I can find online whatever I can’t access locally.

The instructions are well-written and laid out in a way that even a novice dyer gets a non-intimidating introduction to actual dye materials, the pros and cons of particular mordants, safety precautions, plus recipes to get him/her started. There’s great material there even for the experienced dyer — basically,  something for everyone. The recipes are designed for any dye-able material — fabric or yarn — which gives crafters of non-woolly persuasion opportunity to play as well!!!

The biggest plus for me despite not having access to all the material the author used is that I still have the opportunity to experiment.  She used plant, vegetables and fruit dye materials for her recipes.  Although my access to the plant life is limited, I most definitely can play with the recipes which use vegetables and fruit local to me.  The book is divided up into seasons which I absolutely love.  I’m embracing seasonal eating, so being able to use the foods I consume now without having to purchase different or additional dye material is an absolute bonus — pomegranate skins I’m looking at you friend! Although I’m not able to try all the dye recipes, there’s enough that I can try that make having the book worthwhile.

I’ve already played around with recipes in this book (I’ll post more later) but my absolute favourite is my take on the recipe for madder dyed fiber.  I cheated and used madder powder I had before.  I took liberties with the recipe and made my mixture as alkaline as I needed to in order to get the salmon shade I envisioned.  The result was beautiful and I can’t wait to do more.

Natural Color Experiment -- Madder

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in natural dyeing.  In addition to learning a new skill, the opportunities for experimenting are endless and quite frankly … just plain fun!

Author’s website: Sasha Duerr

Author’s Instagram: Sashaduerr

disclaimer: this review was done through my affiliation with Blogging For Books.  Although I received a copy for review, the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.