Technical Tuesday: Keeping the Colour in the Yarn

We have all been there, you just finish knitting a project and throw it in the water to block it and the colour starts bleeding. This can mean many different things and there are several ways to keep the colour in your yarn!

You might be able to predict the first piece of advice I am going to give you… yup, that’s right. Make a swatch and wash it! This is especially important if you are doing something like colour work. If you are knitting with red and white yarn, you’re going to want to be 100% sure that red yarn is colour fast.

Ultra Purple Square 02252015

This is the best tutorial I’ve ever seen for fixing in colour that will fade. Whenever I am trying a new yarn, even sock yarn, I wash a swatch to see if it will fade, or bleed; then, if I need to, I can fix the dye in with citric acid and heat. As you can see, this works with finished objects or un-knit yarn alike. It’s one of the most versatile techniques I’ve come across.

Dye Pot

What to do if this is something that is just continually bleeding colour? Like when you buy new dark blue jeans. The colour comes off of those things forever! I’ve heard that washing them with vinegar helps but it seems to me that is just an excess of dye used to get that dark colour and the indigo keeps coming off. If this is the case, I suggest repeatedly washing your garment. I had a commercially dyed yarn that was a burgundy colour, which bled quite a bit when I blocked it and any subsequent washes. After the third wash the colour stopped coming out of the sweater, but the colour never faded, it just released a bit of the extra dye.

Dye Explosion 1

Fading and bleeding are usually the only two problems I have with yarn and colour-fastness. They’re generally either solved with repeated washing or a citric acid soak. The yarns most at risk for this kind of thing are dark and really saturated colour. If they’re not done carefully or correctly there could be issues.

Technical Tuesday: Kinky

If you have EVER ripped something out you will know the pain of attempting to knit with kinked up yarn. It changes your gauge; it fights back, over all, it’s just a pain to knit with. The yarn isn’t as appealing and this could easily cause you to loose steam in your knitting project.

The video above shows you how to fix a couple yards of kinked up yarn. If you’re anything like me, you won’t notice your mistake until you’re almost done and have to rip back through a hank and a half of yarn. On a bigger scale, that technique is not going to work.

There are so many things I love about this video, the name for one. How to straighten your Wiggle Wool; my love of alliteration never fades. Secondly, she tells you not to despair. It can be so frustrating attempting to deal with wool that isn’t cooperating. It made me feel a little less inept because she was having trouble winding it around her forearm. You know it was all sitting in a neat little pile, but it still tangled a bit!

If you have a niddy noddy you can do the above technique. They’re steaming to set the twist of their hand-spun yarn, but it will also get rid of the kinks in your yarn.
I hope the article title gave you a little thrill. I know it wasn’t quite as exciting as you thought it was going to be, but hopefully informative. Don’t forget that you can always put that yarn on time-out after you’ve straightened it out.

Technical Tuesday: KNITmuch

As I wrote a couple weeks ago I’ve written a few articles for an online blog called KNITmuch, since I’m a little tight on time for this week I am going to post some photos. These are the things I designed for the Red Heart yarn Scrubby.

Double thick Chevron Scrubby dishcloth working on dished in the sink.

Heart Shaped Scrubby Stuffies

Star Stuffie ready to go!

Scrubby May 28 Three

Pleace the soap into the pouch and lather!

I hope everyone enjoyed the patterns and tries out this yarn. I am not a huge dishcloth fan, but these ones are really fun. The colours help too; you know me… I couldn’t possibly make a boring dishcloth.

I would highly recommend checking out some of the other articles as well. There is a photo of some impossibly cute penguins in sweaters and some really informative knitting articles written by Glenna C.

Sweaters, Socks and Setbacks

Miracle of miracles Wednesday has come again! This week is going entirely, really, very not well; so I am glad we’re over the halfway point. On a positive note, this week is my blogging week for KNITmuch. I’ve done five articles for them about Red Heart’s new yarn Scrubby. It’s made special for dish cloths and is ah-mazing, head on over to check out those posts.

05 27 2015 Sweaters Socks and Setbacks-2019

This week I managed to finally finish Paul’s Socks of a Different Colour! Yaaaaay! It’s nice to have them off my pate and get into something new. Of course by something new, I mean continue working on my Grandmother’s Sweater! I am on the last sleeve. I am actually scared to start working on the body again, but, maybe I’ve built it up in my mind as really tedious and hard work? Right? Right?
I think having all the sleeves done will help to motivate me into getting the second back and both fonts done. There are four pieces to each sweater, total of eight for both, if four sleeves are done and one back that means I’m more than half way? Right?!

05 27 2015 Sweaters Socks and Setbacks-2028

I’ve written before about how I keep a pair of socks in the car to knit on, and I had an interesting surprise when I went to knit them yesterday. One of my dpn’s was broken in half! I had thought one of them felt a little bendy as I was knitting with them, but that could have been a figment of my imagination. I probably kicked it or dropped something on it at some point.

05 27 2015 Sweaters Socks and Setbacks-2027

I usually align all my needles parallel to each other to prevent things like this from happening, but I guess something got jostled in the bag. Luckily I usually only use four needles but they come in packs of five or six. There are a couple spares floating around.
Hopefully next week I’ll be able to show you some updated progress on my Grandmother’s sweater! I need to have this one off my mind! If you haven’t heard about it in a while, keep me honest and BUG ME ABOUT IT!!! This sweater is going down!

Technical Tuesday: It’s all in the Packaging

One thing I am not asked very often, but think it is worthwhile to know, is the difference between a ball, cake, skein and a hank of yarn. This might not seem like a true distinction, but I assure you, they are four totally and completely different things. I admit that I do know the difference but am a terror because I interchange skein and hank as well as ball and cake.

Ball #1

Let’s start with the easiest; a ball. The most common place balled yarn comes from are those without swifts and yarn ball winder. Those who buy yarn from a store take it home and rewind it by hand. Before I had my swift and baller it was a common occurrence for this to be happening in my house. Either me or Paul would be balling yarn in the living room. It wasn’t near as quick as the process with a yarn ball winder so Paul would usually start before I actually needed the yarn. By the time I knit up to the point where I needed another ball, it was done! Click here to read the story about Paul and 1000 yards of lace…

Ball #2

When you end up breaking and heading out for a swift and yarn ball winder, you’ve progressed to the cake! I would suggest if you are looking at a ball winder, you either get a swift at the same time or get a swift first. It is near impossible to cake yarn on a ball winder when it is not on a swift.

Shibui Baby Alpaca Start

I use ball and cake interchangeably because sometimes cakes are referred to as ‘center pull balls’ because you can start using the yarn from the center of the cake, which will allow it to sit in one place while you’re knitting. With a ball, you need to put it inside something like a yarn bowl, bag or yarn buddy of some king. This was a real problem with me and my cats. Sometimes they would steal it right out of the yarn bowl!

Cake #1

The skein is probably the word I misuse the most. A skein is actually the form yarn comes in from most big box stores (some LYS’s too, but most common in big box stores). They come in an oval shape and ready to knit, just like the photo below. This is technically a skein

Hank #1

A hank on the other hand is when the yarn is wound in a circle with choke ties holding it together. When this yarn is displayed at your LYS it is twisted together. When I post photos of un-caked yarn, this is a hank… even though I call it a skein. From now on I am going to make an effort to use the proper names for these forms yarn can take!

Yarn Photoz

I’ll tell you a little anecdote to end this post. When I was looking to buy a yarn ball winder, the planets aligned and all the LYS in my area were sold out. I desperation to get one immediately, (because waiting a few days was obviously going to kill me) I called a big box store to see if they sold them. This was a crafting big box store and the lady who was working in the yarn section was unsure what I meant. I described what I was looking for in detail, even the process of hand balling, so she would get my meaning.

Hank Cat

At this point a light bulb went on somewhere and she realized what I was talking about. Instead of telling me if they carried this implement, she tried to convince me that nowhere sold yarn in hanks anymore. I assured her that hanks of yarn were alive and well in the world and she steadfastly did not believe me. I ended up assuming they didn’t carry yarn ball winders and, secure in my knitterly prowess, I called my LYS back and ordered a yarn ball winder.