Hand Dyed Yarn for Newbies: Semi-solids

Welcome to the second installment of my Hand Dyed Yarn for Newbies series! I hope the first post was interesting and potentially useful. In case you didn’t see it, you can find the first post on Solids here. Sorry there was such delay between posts, I had a busy week last week. I will endeavour to get these posts out more regularly from here on in.

Semi-solids

Semi-solid yarns are usually of one dye colour or layers of similar coloured dyes to give various tones of the same colour over the skein. It is one of my most favourite ways to dye yarn. Semi-solids can also be referred to as tonals; however, tonals can also be a version of variegated. As such, tonals will have a post of their own.

An example of a semi-solid or tonal: MyMuddlings ‘Be Still My Beating Heart’ on DK

As you can see in the above picture, I have created a colourway that is just one colour (a pinky red), but there are varying tones from light to dark. In this colourway, I’ve used more than one dye colour to create it. However, you can also make a semi-solid with just one shade of dye like the picture below:

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Fingering weight yarn dyed by me using Greener Shades dyes

In both cases, it was done in a large stock pot, with a fairly high water level but not as high as for solids, perhaps 3/4 full. As we’ve discussed, solids need a high water level. For semi-solids you want a slightly lower water level so the yarn doesn’t have so much room to move; you want to get more dye on sections of the skein and less on other areas. This gives the darker (more dye) and lighter (less dye) tones.

When I dye my semi-solids, I usually lay down a base layer in a method similar to solids. I do not have any acid in my simmering water and I add a small amount of dye in much the same method as for solids; I make my dye bath and then add my yarn. This gives a fairly consistent all-over colour. From there I might add another layer of the same colour or a different one in the same method. Once I’m happy with my base colour, I’ll add my acid and allow it to set for a few minutes.

Then depending on what colourway I’m dyeing, I’ll add my next colour (could be the same as my previous steps or another of the same colour group) in an indirect method, where I pull and push my yarn into and out of the ‘clouds’ of predissolved dye as I add them to the pot. This allows certain parts of the skein to get the full brunt of the dye where other parts only get a small amount.  This step can be repeated as many times as required, with as many dyes as required to get the desired effect.

I personally love using semi-solids (and their variegated tonal cousins). I find they give a lovely depth to the colour of the overall knitted fabric, and generally no one stitch is identical to another as they all have a slightly different tone.

So I hope you enjoyed this installment and it has been helpful. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Do you like working with semi-solids? Do you have a favourite dyer of semi-solids? Let me know in the comments.

Stay tuned for the next post on tonals.

Video Podcast Episode 24 – Sweaty

Housekeeping

Works in Progress

Spinning

MyMuddlings Sales

  • Yarns available for 15% discount in my Etsy store using code: VALENTINES15 until 28th February 2017
  • Amelia Beret pattern is available on Ravelry for 30% off using code: EXCITED until 14th February 2017

Hand Dyed Yarn for Newbies: Solids

Hello and welcome to my new blog series entitled ‘Hand Dyed Yarn for Newbies’!

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Three different types of hand dyed yarn: semi-solid, variegated and tonal. Yarns pictured are from MyMuddlings Yarns: ‘Be Still My Beating Heart’, ‘Winterfell’ and ‘Wisteria Arbour’

Now, this series has nothing specific about how to dye yarn. I will touch on how things are done but it’s more about helping you initially to know what each type of hand dyed yarn is and then to select patterns that go with various types of hand dyed yarn. This series will be helpful for newbie yarn crafters but also established crafters who have never used hand dyed yarns before.

Every dyer has their own style, the way they use colour and of course their favourite colours, but the base types of dye method usually stay the same, and they can be combined to give different effects. Today’s post is about solids.

Solids

Now this is the most simple of all the dye methods. It can be done with just one dye colour, or a combination to get a new colour but basically it gives a single all over colour. The fantastic Nicole over at Hue Loco has an amazing collection called ‘Fly’ that are a range of solid colours and they’re beautiful:

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Hue Loco Fly Collection ‘Drift’

The way to achieve this ‘solid’ all over colour is to use a high water level immersion method where you’ve already added your premixed dye to the pot to create your dye bath. (The reason I use the apostrophes around the word solid is because hand dyed yarn will never truly be totally solid. You can get pretty close but due to the nature of the process, i.e. human hands are doing the work, you will likely get a small amount of variation in your skein.) The point at which you add your acid can change the overall evenness of the colour and sometimes salt is used to slow the uptake of the dye and that will affect it too. Personally, if I’m dyeing a solid, I prefer to have the yarn circulating in the dye bath for a few minutes so the dye can touch all parts of the skein before it is locked to the yarn with the acid (and heat). The reason for the high water level is so there’s plenty of space for the yarn to float about, and you’re more likely to get an even, all over colour.

For me, I don’t really dye many (if any) solids, or purchase hand dyed solids because I think most times you can find a cheaper, commercial alternative. Of course the exception to this would be if you’re using a semi-solid, tonal or variegated yarn from a hand dyer but want a coordinating solid skein to match. This is why Nicole of Hue Loco has made her Fly Collection. The are a range of specially curated colours to coordinate with her other yarns and they work brilliantly.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed this first instalment in my Hand Dyed Yarn for Newbies series. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. 🙂 Do you like working with hand dyed solids? Let me know in the comments.

New Pattern: Amelia Beret

If you’ve been following along with my podcast (here) or my Instagram (here and here) you’ll have seen this pattern. My very first knitting pattern, the Amelia Beret! 😀

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This beret is named after my gorgeous nearly three-year-old niece Amelia. ❤

An all over patterned slouchy beret/beanie. It features a stunning but simple to knit stitch pattern. It is a versatile pattern that can be worked in any DK to worsted weight yarn in solids, variegated or even handspun and still create a beautiful hat. And even better, the shape of the hat can be customised to either a beret or a slouchy beanie depending on how you block it!

It is available now over on Ravelry for AU$5.00. And if you get there before midnight on the 14th February 2017, use code EXCITED to get 30% off your purchase!

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Video Podcast Episode 23 – Blathering

UPDATE: The Amelia Beret is now available on Ravelry here. So excited! 😀

Housekeeping

  • New video camera! Sony Handycam HDR-CX405 – I hope it improves the podcast; please let me know!
  • 2017 Stash Down going on in the Ravelry board
  • Our sponsors for the MAL so far are Caroline of Clothesline Designs and Tamara of TamsCraftyKnits
  • Please contact me via Ravelry PM or at julieannec@mymuddlings.com if you’d like to sponsor a prize or donate towards prizes

Finished Objects

  • PussyHat Project by Kat Coyle pattern page, my project page
  • MyMuddlings Aran in ‘Get Your Hands Off My Pussy!”
  • 137 yards
  • 5mm (US8) 32″ generic circular
  • Amelia Beret by me pattern page, my project page
  • Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton 8 ply in Latte
  • 129 yards
  • 4mm (US6) & 4.5mm (US7) 17″ generic circulars and 4mm (US7) DPNs

Works in Progress

Spinning

 

Shop Update – 25th January 2017

This week’s shop update will contain yarn, yarn and more yarn! I have a bunch of new colourways in pink and red for my first quarter theme. I was really pleased with the saturation of colour in these new colourways and I hope you love them too! 🙂

The first colourway was inspired by the women’s march on the 21st January 2017. I wanted a bright pink to knit myself a Pussy Hat so ‘Get Your Hands Off My Pussy!’ was created:


It’s layers of pink with a blush of purple. Of course it had to have purple. Have you met me?!! 😉

Next up, we have a sequel colour to my ‘Blushing Rose’ colourway. This is called ‘Wilted’:

It’s a similar colour and dye method, but it doesn’t have any pink but it has a yellow tint to it. Next time I’ll add a little more yellow. I thought ‘Wilted’ would be a fitting name for the previously ‘Blushing Rose’. 😉

‘Does Anybody Know How to Hold My Heart’ is a variegated pink and red. It has tiny splashes of purple and grey with a few black speckles:

This colourway was named after a song by Sara Bareilles, one of my favourite performers. ❤

And on the red track, may I present ‘Flame Trees’:

My second colourway named after a song. 😉 But a quick Google Image search for flame trees gave me all the colours found in this yarn; deep red, brown and red-orange.

And finally, ‘Chocolate Berries’:

The colours are exactly what the colourway name implies; purple, pink, burgundy with a milk chocolate brown. Yum! Is anyone else getting hungry…? 😉

So I hope you can join me at 7pm ACDT tonight! 😀

Video Podcast Episode 22 – I’m Melting!

Housekeeping

Finished Objects

  • Duotone Cowl by Orange Flower Yarn pattern page, my project page
  • Voolenvine Yarns Smitten DK in Black Pearl and Jilted Rose
  • 415 yards
  • 5mm (US8) 17″ generic circulars
  • Amelia Beret Test my project page
  • Gynx Yarns Merino DK in Experimental Dye Lot 40
  • 140 yards
  • 4mm (US6) & 4.5mm (US7) 17″ generic circulars and 4mm (US7) DPNs

Works in Progress

  • Diagonal Crochet Blanket AKA Crazy / Ugly / Beautiful my project page
  • Various sock yarn scraps – see project page for a full list
  • Morning Mist by Annie Rowden pattern page, my project page
  • Knit Picks CotLin in Linen and Pomegranate
  • Early Autumn by Alana Dakos pattern page, my project page
  • Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4 ply hand dyed by me using Greener Shades dyes
  • Goomy Socks my project page
  • Bergère de France Goomy 50 in Imprim Azur (purchased from Love Knitting here)

Spinning

Blather

  • Amelia Test Knit
  • Leonie Dawson’s Planners available here
  • Bullet Journalling here