Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coloring Away the Winter Blues

After a short cold spell, the weather has warmed into the 50s, and I hear frogs croaking from the pond, "spring is coming soon" they say. As the rain falls, I think about flowers. Awhile ago I found this funny contraption in hot pink plastic at our thrift store. Some online research revealed that it is a flower loom. I found a Youtube video on how to use it. I made a small bouquet from some yarns I had on hand, but soon found that I lacked bright solid colors in my yarn basket. I did have skeins of natural white single ply that I'd spun from a spool of romney top. It is very lusterous, long stapled and finely spun (probably lace weight, about 20 wpi). I was planning to make a 2 ply yarn with it, but plying isn't really my cup of tea. Instead I decided to dye some skeins of bright colors, and wind up a garden of flowers to chase away my winter blues.

I loaded up my canner with 7 large jars, put hot water in the jars about half full, and hot water in the canner about half way up the sides of the jars. Into each jar, I put about 1/4 teaspoon of dye powder and 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar, mixing each as I went. My skeins were soaking in the sink, and when the colors were mixed, I put a skein in each jar, and poked it around a bit to invite the color in.

The canner went on to the electric hot plate turned on high, on went the lid (no lids on the jars) and I brought the whole she bang to a boil, then turned it down to simmer for about an hour. During this time, I poked the skeins a bit once or twice to even out the dye take up.
When most of the dye was absorbed by the skeins (some of the dye water was almost clear), I turned off the heat and let it all sit overnight.

In the morning my colorful suprise waited for me to reveal it. I lifted the canner lid and found a rainbow.

Since, I have been winding up a plethora of posies in all possible color combinations.


  1. The flowers are adorable and the yarn is absolutely brilliant.

  2. I just bought some yarn from your Etsy shop, I cannot WAIT for it to arrive!

  3. It's cold in here today, but your cheery dye pot(s)and the flowers you made from that wool warmed MY winter day also. Thanks, Val. Did you know Gini Toews continues to knit and knit and knit - as you so sweetly taught her? Wish I could give you a hug - just for being you. Please ask M. to give you one from me.