My daughter and I had been looking forward to this project for some time.
Dyeing wool with food coloring!
I was pretty intimidated to try it out until I came across this tutorial.
It was easy. And it was one of the most fun things I've done in a long time.
First, if the wool is in a ball, it has to be wound into a skein.
Then we soaked the wool (has to be a protein-fiber) in a 50/50 vinegar water solution.
We covered the work table in Saran Wrap. We were later very grateful we did this.
Then we put food coloring and a little water in cups. This was pretty much random guesswork. How much food coloring, etc. The kids enjoyed the experimenting.
We put together cups of different colors, and labeled them all.
Then we dumped the color on, and worked it in with gloved hands.
After that, we put the wet yarn into a dish, loosely covered with saran wrap, and microwaved the whole thing for 5 minutes.
And voila! That was it. I never imagined it was so simple. When the wet yarn came out of the microwave it was VERY HOT, but all the dye was completely taken up in the fiber. Any remaining water was clear. The colors were so vivid and bright! Food Coloring, really?? Crazy.
After drying, it was ready to skein.
I love the color combinations kids come up with. They are much more free about putting colors together.
For a project with the new yarn, we decided to knit some more Gnomes. This was to go with a wooden playhouse we purchased this summer at a street fair.
The Tree house was handmade by a company called Manzanita Kids. When we saw the tree shape, we knew it would match our branch blocks and our gnomes.
Here's the Gnome pattern for ye fellow knitters. It is from a wonderful blog, Plain and Joyful Living. I'm so glad she shared her pattern! We've knit up a bunch of these guys now.
And here are two new more gnomes, both knitted with our newly hand-dyed yarn, one being a bit of an experimental success: a baby gnome. I love the tonal color variations in the hand-dyed yarn! Why do we love these gnomes so much? I really can't say. But sometimes I feel this sudden urge to put one in my purse and carry it around with me......