Dyeing, Techniques, Yarn

Experimental Fibre Dyeing – From a Ball

It has been awhile since I posted….let’s see if I remember how to do this!

Since my last post in…..let me check…..HOLY CRAP….2016???!!!!  Really???


Okay…so since that time sooooo long ago, we have moved from Toronto back to Hamilton, got a new puppy….a Patterdale Terrier named Oberon (who has his own Instagram account that you should check out because he is so bloody cute!) and I have continued with my fibrearts dabbling.  It has taken somewhat of a backseat to my work over the past while as I get used to commuting between cities again and unpack our new house…but I still knit and crochet and spin and weave and needle felt (You can see why I call myself a dabbler!) …. and dye wool!

I have dyed skeins and fleece in the past but only a few times and with food coloring to get a sense of how the whole process worked.  This time, I have been working with dyes from Greener Shades and experimenting with different approaches.

One dyeing technique I tried last week was dyeing a wool ball.  I saw it on a youtube channel and thought it would be interesting to try.  It was supposed to result in a cool mottled affect that would be dark at one end and lighten as the dye soaked through the layers towards the middle.

On hand, I only had a few natural colored skeins so I chose a light brown wool skein to work with and I balled it up manually….which takes so long after using a swift and yarn winder on a regular basis!









The technique is to simply dye the ball….allowing quite a bit more time than you normally would when dyeing skeins because of the tightness of the wind…the dye needs more time to soak through layers.

After soaking the ball, I started with a simple deep blue dye.

I left the ball in the dye bath for 20 minutes….then checked it…..20 more minutes….then checked it…..20 more minutes…..You get the picture.
I was dyeing other items at the same time so I ended up leaving it in the pot for over an hour.

20180620_114603 But even after all that time….there was still dye in the water.  I could have left it longer….should have actually but I got impatient and removed it, using the remaining blue to dye some leftover raw fleece that I had on hand.





So, I rinsed the ball and left it to sit for a bit and when I finally handled it and looked through the layers, I discovered that the dye hadn’t made its way very deeply.  (Which you can see if the photo below)
I had balled the yarn quite tightly and that obviously affected how deep the dye was able to penetrate.  If I were to do this again, I would a) try to wind a bit looser and b) probably leave the ball in the pot for the whole afternoon and go about my business doing other things.

20180620_123437I unfortunately didn’t take photos of the next step….but since I wasn’t satisfied with how much it had dyed….I dyed the ball again.

I let the ball cool down, and then unwound it halfway so it was wound into two smaller balls that were connected.  I dropped one of them into a pot of red dye and the other into a pot of purple dye.  Then I left them….for 20 minutes…again and again….same as the first time.

I must wind pretty tightly because the dye didn’t penetrate through either ball fully, but it still resulted in an interesting mix of colours.  They unfortunately aren’t very sharp and defined but I would still call this experiment a success.

I would try this technique again but I would pay more attention to how tightly wound the ball is, leave it in the dye bath likely for hours and plan out my colors a little better.  Not sure how I feel about a brown base with these shades 😉


A collage of five different crocheted amigurumi, including an owl, a purple octopus, an orange octopus, a green cthulhu with red eyes and a black cat. All palm sized.
Accessories, Crochet

Adopt-a-Creature: Adventures in Amigurumi

A collage of five different crocheted amigurumi, including an owl, a purple octopus, an orange octopus, a green cthulhu with red eyes and a black cat.  All palm sized.
Adopt-a-Creature by Stitch Noir

I’m pretty excited about my new crochet project!  It came about suddenly….one of those ideas that wasn’t planned but that just started as an experiment….and now, Adopt-a-Creature is a new section in my Etsy store.

I also have a new page created where I post photos and locations of my adopted creatures!  Hopefully they end up all around the world! Click here to take a look!

Each creature comes with a name and an attached story speaking to their personality/likes/dislikes/etc.

This all began because….about a month ago….I sat down and decided to crochet some amigurumi.

I had been working on some large projects, shawls and the like, but that morning I decided to focus on something small.  Something that I could complete quickly (well, quicker than a shawl at least) and feel good about doing.

So, I made a bat.

Continue reading “Adopt-a-Creature: Adventures in Amigurumi”

Crochet, Shawl, Skulls

New Crocheted Shawl – A Spine of Skulls

A few months ago, I came across an acrylic yarn with a metallic sheen to it.

I’m not one to necessarily buy loads of acrylic yarn but the glossy, polished look of this yarn drew me in and I find myself going home with a number of metallic black skeins.  I had no plan in mind…

***My fellow fibreartists, I KNOW you have been there too! “Ooooh, pretty!  I’ll just pick up a couple of skei-….No, probably should grab four-….five!  Five!  To be sure I have enough for whatever I decide to do with it.” Your head is nodding along to this…right?  I’m not alone here!***

…so, no plan in mind but I figured I’d come up with something.  Eventually.

Some time later, I was visiting Len’s Mills in Kitchener with a friend and we came across a variegated version of the same yarn:  black with shades of silver grey and splashes of a metallic grasshopper green.

I admit that description doesn’t make it sound all that great but it isn’t as bad as all that.

IMG_1569 (1)
Close up of the variegated yarn

But my friend dared me to grab a couple of skeins and make something with it.  So of course, I did.

***It was a DARE!  I HAD to! (Because you know, it takes a lot (read: a wee bit) of convincing to get an yarn addict like me to buy more yarn.)***

Both colourways sat in my craft room for a time until I finally decided to tackle a new skull shawl project.

I knew I didn’t want a shawl made completely of the variegated yarn.  It’s incredibly busy and I find it camouflages any pattern you try to make.  Your eye can’t focus on the overall shape because the colour splashes are too intense.

But as granny skull squares within a body of black…I like it.

The skulls in this pattern are based on the Skull shawl pattern by kungen ooh marks but the rest of the shawl is from my brain and I haven’t written it down…yet.

In case you do wish to try your own version, I used three skeins at the same time, one black skein on either side and the variegated skein for the middle portion.  So each row had me switching between all three and back again.

I’m really happy with how this shawl turned out.  It’s pretty sharp and, in addition to functioning as a lovely shawl, it works well as a extra layer, for those of us who like to dress a bit more bohemian with tons of layers 🙂

Modeling it over two long  full skirts and a pair of Docs.

It’s somewhat large in size (84″ across the top and about 38″ from top to point) but I like the flexibility the size gives to its function…it can be worn so many different ways and drapes so nicely!

I considered keeping this one…but it’s headed to my Etsy store today!