Hand Dyed Yarn for Newbies: Tonals

Hello, and thanks for joining me for the third installment of Hand Dyed Yarn for Newbies! You can find the last two posts here:

  1. Solids
  2. Semi-Solids

Today’s yarn style is likely to be the most confusing for newbies as it is a term that cover anything from semi-solid to variegated yarns. The key thing to remember is the word itself: tonal. Meaning that whether the dyes used are of the same colour group or different colour groups they are very similar in tone. Now, I’m not going to go into tone in this post. I never really studied art. 😉 My knowledge of tints and hues etc is very limited but if you’re interested, there are a lot of great resources if you Google ‘colour tones’.

Tonals

As we discussed in the previous post, a semi-solid yarn can be referred to as a tonal as it features darker and lighter shades of the same or similar colours:

A semi-solid dyed yarn with speckles – MyMuddlings ‘Emerald City’ on Aran

MyMuddlings ‘Blushing Rose’ on fingering

Today’s post will be about colourways that have shades from different colour groups but still remain ‘tonal’. One of my favourite examples of this is my own colourway Wisteria Arbour:

MyMuddlings ‘Wisteria Arbour’ on fingering

As you can see from this picture, the overall ‘tone’of the yarn is fairly similar. There are no highly contrasting colours. This colourway features two different tones of purple along with some black and grey. So although black and purple are different colour groups, they create a variegated tonal.

The queen of variegated tonals (and variegateds and speckles – yes, I’m fan-girling!)  would have to be the extremely talented Kristin of Voolenvine Yarns. If you’ve been in the yarny world for any length of time you’ve likely heard of her. Her yarn is EXTREMEMLY popular and very hard to get. She has a knack for mixing just the right colours together to create stunning tonals:

Voolenvine Yarns ‘Taiga’ – Photo from Voolenvine Yarns

Voolenvine Yarns ‘Jilted Rose’ – Photo from Voolenvine Yarns

Voolenvine Yarns ‘Succulents’ – Photo from Voolenvine Yarns

As you can see, this woman has enviable talent! I can only hope to be as good as Kristin one day. #dyegoals 😉 I dye my variegated tonals in much the same ways as I dye my semi-solids, only with differing colour groups. Check back to the semi-solids post for more details.

So I hope these examples have helped to show the difference between semi-solid tonals and variegated tonals. I hope you can see how they are all ‘tonals’.

I know this is potentially the most confusing of all the hand dyed yarn types so if you have an questions, as always feel free to contact me via the comments or to my email address found on the ‘Find Me‘ page. What’s your favourite tonal yarn colourway or dyer? Are you a fan of Kristin’s work? Have you been able to get your hands on any of her yarn? Let me know in the comments.

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:

image

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.

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! 😀

Shop Update – 11th January 2017

This week’s shop update will consist of mostly yarn. I’ve got six new skeins and two new colourways to debut! 🙂 I’m pretty excited about the new ones and I hope you’ll love them too!

My goal for the first quarter of 2017 is to work on my catalogue of pink and red colourways ‘cos Valentine’s Day is in the first quarter! So here I offer ‘Be Still My Beating Heart’:

It’s a lovely vibrant tonal of pinks through reds with a touch of brown. I’m pretty pleased with this one as it was pretty much a splash of this and a splash of that to achieve it! 😀 I’ve written down the formula so it should be easily repeated. I’ll have two skeins of this on my DK base.

The next new colourway is ‘Winterfell’, inspired by a braid of fibre I purchased from Kathy’s Fibres. The colour is inspired by the cherry blossom tree at Winterfell in ‘Game of Thrones’. I’ll have two skeins of this on my Bamboo Sock base.

Lastly for yarn, I have some of my favourite colourway I’ve created so far, ‘Wisteria Arbour’. I’ve knit two accessories in this already (a cowl and a tam) and my current cardigan project is also being knit in this. It’s been very popular when I’ve posted about it to the point where I’ve also had a custom order for it! I love that! 😀 So grab these if you can!


It’s a beautiful tonal mix of lilac, purple and grey. I’ll have two skeins of this on my Fingering base.

Finally, I’ll have three knitted necklaces in the shop. These are such a cool way to add a bit of knitting to your outfit if it’s too hot for sweaters! Wear your love of knitting where everyone can see with one of these awesome necklaces!

So check out the MyMuddlings Etsy Store on Wednesday 11th January 2017 at 7pm ACDT to grab your favourite!

Video Podcast Episode 10

Housekeeping

  • 100 YouTube Subscriber giveaway in the Ravelry Group open until 30th October 2016
  • Issues with viewer numbers and notifications on YouTube – Please try clicking the alarm icon if you’re having issues

Off the Needles

  • Vanilla Bamboo socks project page
  • Bendigo Woollen Mills Bamboo Fingering (no longer available)
  • 2.5mm HiyaHiya Sharps 9″ circular
  • 292 yards
  • Gather by TinCanKnits pattern page, my project pages Adult Medium, Baby
  • MyMuddlings DK in Birthday Surprise!
  • Adult Medium: 120 yards, baby: 65 yards
  • 4mm & 4.5mm generic 17″ circular & DPNs

Works in Progress

  • Amma Granny Square Top by Maria Valles pattern page, my project page
  • Knit Picks Curio in Comfrey
  • Dream Drops by Iga Paczek pattern page (no longer available)
  • MyMuddlings DK in Birthday Surprise!
  • Dogwood by TinCanKnits pattern page, my project page
  • My own handspun from hand dyed Bendigo Woollen Mills Ready Spin (not currently available)

Spinning

  • Dogwood 2 ply handspun project page
  • 705 yards of a worsted weight
  • Tea Rose 3 ply handspun project page
  • 1971 yards of a worsted weight

Dyeing

  • Hand dyed Bamboo Sock yarn for a Clara Dress
  • Stitched in Sweden Episode 5 show notes with details about the Clara Dress
  • Hand dyed Sock yarn for Podcaster Secret Sock Swap

Shop Update

  • MyMuddlings Etsy Store
  • ‘Bah Humbug’ on DK
  • ‘Velour Jacket’ on Sock and DK

Video Podcast Episode 2

Handmade Wardrobe

Off the Needles

On the Needles

Off the Hook

Spinning

  • Kathy’s Fibres here
  • Stained Glass on 100% merino, 129 yards of Aran weight chain ply, my project page
  • Red Flowering Gum on 100% merino, 319 yards of Sport weight 2 ply, my project page
  • Morris on 100% polworth, 193 yards of Worsted weight 3 ply, my project page

Hand Dyeing

Sewing Room Tour

I know I touched on this last post but I thought I would give a bit more of an in depth tour of my sewing room. 🙂

Here’s the room overall from the last post. The room is technically half study, half craft room.


My husband and I each have desks with 21″ iMacs. That’s where I mostly blog from, that’s my desk in the far corner surrounded by stationery, which (I’m not exaggerating) was my first true love. 😉 Stationery, not the desk. 😂

Anyway, on to the sewing stuff.

Here’s my sewing table. It was a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law. It’s a Horn sewing table that folds out and has a lot of little hidey-holes and drawers for storing all my bits n’ bobs. It’s also got a platform to raise and lower my machine.

I just use a chair from our dining table to sit on. I might post a piccie to Instagram with it open later on so you can see inside. 🙂

This cupboard holds most of my yarn stash, my personal project fabric (MyMuddlings fabric is in the drawers of our IKEA Expedit wall unit in the lounge), my fibre stash and some cross stitch, dyeing, sewing patterns and spinning paraphernalia. It’s lovely to have a built in cupboard for it all. 🙂


Here’s the remainder of my yarn stash that’s kept in the study:


The rest of my yarn stash (mostly handyed and handspun skeins) also hang out in our Expedit. Maybe I’ll IG a piccie of that too!

So there you go. I hope you enjoyed my little tour. 🙂 We don’t have a lot of decoration up as we’re renting but I’d love to sew some bunting to string up. Another project for another time. But for now, I’ll sign off. Thanks for reading! 🙂