Saturday, October 25, 2008

Remember when this was a knitting blog?

Don't worry; I almost forgot myself. But today was a pretty fibre-full day.

This morning, I got the ball rolling on my very first attempt at yarn dyeing. Never mind that it is the 25th, and I'm doing this for my October Herbology homework in the HP house cup. And in order to collect full points, I need to actually knit something with this the 31st. Yeah, right.

Anyhoo. I decided to use coffee as my dye. And lucky Piggy that I am, I found a wonderful tutorial for coffee dyeing on a great blog called, appropriately enough, Coffee Yarn. Blogmistress Barbara Solbrig's instructions are very easy to follow, and her results are beautiful. Fingers crossed, mine will turn out half as well.

I started off with two skeins of elann's Undyed Superwash Merino Sock yarn. And because I have a particular knack for turning a skein of yarn into a nervous-breakdown inducing mass of tangles, I added a few extra ties.

Then came the mordanting...for the 100 grams of fibre: 10 grams alum (thanks to whengaiasmiles for picking that up for me!) and 5 grams cream of tartar. Then into a pot of water, heated to almost-simmering water to cook...

Without the purple acrylic strands, it could almost be spaghetti, no?

An hour of that, and then off the heat to steep for 12-24 hours. Meanwhile, I made a pot of coffee. A BIG pot of coffee:

That is 100 grams (well, a bit more, actually) of ground coffee, a whack of cold water (apparently the colour of the final product depends on the amount of coffee, not the amount of water...I was never good at chemistry, so I'm taking everyone's word for it). Brought to a boil, then simmered for about 45 minutes. It's now steeping, too.

Part II will be up tomorrow. :-)

But that wasn't all, my little piggies. Oh, no. I also managed to get in a wee bit of knitting. I finally completed the middle bowl of my Ravenclaw set of nesting felted bowls, begun last weekend. And cast on and completed the wee third bowl. Here they are before hitting the washing machine:

And after the steamy agitation (immediately after -- no shaping done yet):

I'll try to get a better shot of these tomorrow, in natural light. And with their older sibling.


  1. Oooh, coffee dyeing. I've read about it and wanted to try it. I'm just nervous about dyeing anything though. I have this ridiculous abject fear of failure! I can't wait to see the results!

    And, your ravenclaw bowls are gorgeous! :)

  2. I still haven't gotten bitten by the dyeing bug yet. But, I do so admire others that engage in the process. Looking forward to seeing the finished product.