Monday, March 28, 2016

More Yarn Dyeing!

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It's official...I'm in LOVE with yarn dyeing! Unlike anything else I've ever tried, I love every single step in the process! I love winding a dozen skeins and piling them up, ready for a new adventure. I love picking colors, deciding what technique to use, how much water, how much dye. Going with my gut, trying to set aside (some) control, letting the dyes do what they will. The smell of hot wool, the cool morning air blowing through the window, ruffling the yarn that's hanging up to dry. Near the end I mix leftover dye together to create an entirely new color. Sometimes they mix well, sometimes they separate again once they hit the yarn creating colors that I didn't expect, sometimes there are accidental speckles. Intentional speckles remain elusive...but I keep trying new things.

It is all so very satisfying! So creative and new and exciting. It brings a sense of happiness and fulfillment during a time when I have not been feeling very happy. The end of winter, the beginning of a new spring. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Yarn Dyeing

I love hand dyed yarn. It's so unique and pretty and you never know how it's going to knit up. My friend Sara is hosting a speckle-along on Ravelry and you know I jumped at the chance to break out my one hoarded skein of speckle yarn.

But then, suddenly, one skein of speckle yarn just wasn't enough. I wanted more speckles! So I looked around and was immediately disappointed to find that all the prettiest colorways were sold out. No matter where I looked. I was so sad, I might have been feeling just a tad sorry for myself...okay, if I'm being honest I was pretty sure it was the universe's way of telling me I wasn't good enough and didn't deserve speckled yarn.

It was during this dark moment that I though "just how hard would it be to dye my own speckle yarn?" I spent hours watching videos on wool yarn dyeing. And it all seemed pretty easy and fun! I mentioned it to Sara and when I was literally 30 seconds away from buying some dyes online, she offered to sell me her wool dyes and equipment.


And when the box got to my house, I was blown away by the number of different dyes inside. There must have been 50? I don't even know. But what I DO know is that dyeing yarn is so, SO fun!

While the camera doesn't capture the true depth and intricacies of the colors, I wanted to show you all my first attempts at yarn dyeing anyway. I'm officially hooked!

I started by making mini skeins from a cone of undyed yarn that Sara sent. Most I dyed open like the skeins on the left but two I dyed wound up, one tightly (middle) and one loosely (right).

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I wanted to replicate a sunset I saw the other day, steely gray with hints of apricot.

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So, I started with an apricot dye bath. When they were finished, I re-twisted the two mini skeins and put them in a gun metal gray dye bath. The skein that was twisted tightly was mostly white, the one twisted loosely was mostly dyed.

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After that experiment, I just tried whatever I felt like. I tried two different (but similar) colors in one pot to create variegated skeins.

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I did some gradients.

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And I tried speckles!

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And for all that, I only used 6 colors! I'm looking forward to trying all of the colors and creating my own combos and making pretty things with my own yarn. I may never buy hand dyed yarn again!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Marble Courtyard

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In honor of my trip to Paris later this year, I'd like to introduce you to my latest quilt and first pattern: Marble Courtyard. The pattern is based on the black and white floor of the Marble Courtyard at the Palace of Versailles. I can't wait to see this in person in just a few months!

Cour de Marbre du Ch√Ęteau de Versailles October 5, 2011.jpg
By Kimberly Vardeman - Flickr: Versailles, CC BY 2.0,

I designed this quilt way back in 2010 when I bought the entire line of Tula Pink's Parisville. I made a Marble Courtyard quilt for my friend Karrie that winter for her birthday using the blue/purple colorway. And today I'm excited to show you the Marble Courtyard quilt that I made for Karrie's mom Janet for her birthday this year.

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Someday I plan to make another one for myself in the green/gold colorway (my favorite of the three).

If you'd like to make your own Marble Courtyard quilt, I have worked up a few design sheets and assembly diagrams for you to use. I've shown the quilt made up in 2.5", 3" and 3.5" finished squares but you can use any size squares you like. I've also shown layouts for two common quilt sizes and an alternate layout in case you want to feature a larger print like I did. Larger versions of each sheet can be viewed/downloaded by clicking the pics below. Enjoy!

Marble Courtyard 2.5 Marble Courtyard 3
Marble Courtyard 3.5

Marble Courtyard Blocks Marble Courtyard Assembly Instructions