Play with dyeing yarn! And kids-holiday-classes :-)

Hello Yarn-Lovers! The October school break is nearly upon us! Yay for holidays and some “R & R”! Whether you have kids or not, it’s always good to get some inspiring ideas on new things to try on your days off, whether it’s over the weekend or on a holiday break at home. Something I know many people are keen to try is dyeing yarn. Maybe you are too? It’s also a great creative and fun activity to do with kids. Something that I’ll be doing with my girls during the October break. Having tried it before, I do recommend adding it to your list of yarn-related things to try out and play with. Even if only just once.

Trying your hand at dyeing…

A great website that has a variety of yarn dyeing techniques is FiberArtsy. This holiday, I’d particularly like to try their tutorials on how to dye Speckled Yarn (in the microwave) and Semi-Solid Yarn (on the stove, but with food colouring). I’ll keep the others for another time.

There are also options for Natural Yarn Dyeing, using black beans and dandelions. I’m sure you can adapt it to other natural ingredients too. To make it a bit more kid-safe, all dyeing can be done in the microwave rather than on the stove. Take a look at these YouTube videos by ChemKnits on how to achieve a solid colour and how to handpaint using the microwave. 

Getting hold of yarn to dye is generally not difficult. (Just be sure to check in the tutorials whether it has to be animal fibre – merino, alpaca etc. – or whether plant fibres like cotton, bamboo etc. would also work).  And overdyeing yarn from your stash is also a good option. Pale or neutral colours are best if you’re wanting the end result to stay closer to the colour of the “dye”. But not everyone has acid dyes just lying around the house, or the resources to keep all the dying equipment and utensils separate from your kitchen. So food dyes are a fabulous, economical, safe (and kid-friendly) alternative.

Although SA no longer has Kool-Aid, there are powder and gel/paste food dyes easily obtainable at baking supply stores and on-line shops at reasonable prices. Sparkle Dust has powder food colouring – obviously much more concentrated than Kool-Aid, but possible to use as a powder rather than liquid. Some online shops you can try for gel and paste food colouring are  Sweet Celebrations, Kelly Jayne and Barco. I’m not sure whether the liquid supermarket food colouring would work… maybe undiluted? We’re going to give it a try!

Quite a while ago, Caitlin and I joined some Yarmies friends to try our hand at dyeing yarn with a very inspiring and talented friend. She is constantly learning new things and is brilliant at absolutely everything she does! Apart from her full time job, she also teaches aerial dancing at Sky Dance Studio in Honeydew (the studio she co-owns with a friend) and knits, spins, weaves, sews, dyes yarn and bakes. I’m sure there’s more.

She was kind enough to have us all over and walk us through some basics using acid dyes. Unfortunately, all my pics of the event are MIA 😢. I dyed some Karoo Moon Handspun that didn’t quite turn out as I was hoping. Caitlin overdyed some pale grey 100% Merino and it turned out absolutely stunning! Pretty happy with a 50% success rate on our first try. I knit an Electric cowl for Caitlin with her yarn. Luckily I posted the project on Ravelry, so there are some pics of her efforts to share with you.

Gedifra Extra Soft Merino Fino 

Caitlin’s excellent dye-job. Love the colours!

Knit up into an Electric Cowl

It was such fun, and the end result was satisfying enough that I’m willing to play with dyeing again this holiday. But, as much as I loved dabbling in dyeing for an afternoon, it’s not something I would take on full-time. Immense R-E-S-P-E-C-T to all fibre artists and indie-dyers. Your yarns are amazing!

Holiday classes for kids…

During the holidays, especially short breaks like the one coming up, I’m always keen to find something (or someone) else to keep my kids busy for just a morning or two. The rest of the time, I think it’s really good for them to just chill and relax and be a bit bored. Boredom has never killed anyone. In fact, I’m a firm believer that boredom breeds creativity (I may have mentioned this in a blog post before).

Other than dyeing yarn with them, I’d like to sign them up for Kids Beginner Crochet. A class for children 10yrs and older on Thurs 4 Oct at The Yarn Tree in Parktown West, Johannesburg. 

In George, Open Sky Yarns has a two-day Knit With Me Kids Club on Thurs 4 and Fri 5 Oct for children in grades 3 to 7.

In Cape Town, Gina at Natural Yarns, Imhoff Farm has a number of exciting yarn-related kid’s activities planned for that week. Maybe even a “Mom & Child” workshop. Please keep a lookout for them on her Facebook events page. Details will be up soon.

* UPDATE – more kids classes are in my Oct Classes & Workshops post.

On the pets front…

…a gratuitous pic of Misty, just returned from the grooming parlour this morning. She had her stitches out last Wednesday and her paw and ear are healing well. Doesn’t she look so beautiful and clean? She smells great, too. Just the most darling dog-let!

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. If you decide to try out some dyeing, please share your pics on my Facebook page. I’d love to see how it turns out.


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