Dying the White Rabbit, an Adventure in Food Coloring Dyes. April 2018 Fiber Club Tutorial
Alice in Paradise
Alice returns! Only this time after tumbling down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in an even curiouser and unfamiliar place. She’s swiftly greeted by a pink llama, taller than a sycamore tree, with abounding curls covering its dark blue eyes and wrapping around its knobby knees.
“Hi-YA!” exclaims the pink llama, while galloping toward Alice with a crook of it’s neck. Alice responds alert, while collecting herself,
“Oh! Hi-Ya..where precisely am…”
“Penelope is the name and bobbin working is my game!” Penelope interrupts as Alice sized bobbins of sparkling yarn tumble out from under her fleece landing on every side. Alice climbs her way up the bobbins to get closer to Penelope.
“One I should dye and both I should ply, however I choose?”
With a deep breath Alice insists, “Where am I? I’d very much like to find my way back out!”
“Why, Paradise Fibers of course! Where dreams come true and fiber of all sorts is spun! You must spin your way back, however you choose. The yarn you create will take you back home!” replied Penelope.
[Penelope Vanishes. A tiny glittering glass bottle labeled Spin Me and two boxes of fiber appear in her place.]
“One I should dye and both I should ply, however I choose?” Alice asks herself, perplexed, hoping the fiber would magically spin itself.
“But I haven’t the slightest clue on how to spin…”
“With a spindle, or a wheel, of course!” A voice rings out from a nearby tree. It’s Alice’s old friend, the Cheshire cat, grinning from ear to ear.
“Well where do I find a wheel?”
“We have a wheel!” From behind the tree, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum pop out. Tweedle Dum holds out a spinning wheel. “Pick any you choose, you have nothing to lose.”
“But however will I spin yarn?” Alice asks, perplexed.
“It’s easy!” says Tweedle Dee.
“You just draft,” adds Tweedle Dum,
“And twist!” finishes Tweedle Dee.
Alice sits on a stump and pedals the wheel carefully. “Draft, and twist…” Alice mutters. “Draft, and twist…” Slowly she gets the hang of drafting, and her snow white faux angora suddenly seems to be yarn!
“Now the other,” The Cheshire cat says, indicating the blue, purple, and rust colored fiber blend Penelope has left her.
“Draft… twist…” Alice concentrates, and her fiber becomes yarn once again.
“Now, we ply!” Tweedle Dee shows Alice how to ply, and soon she has made two 2-ply yarns.
“Now, we dye!” Tweedle Dum produces a bucket out of thin air. “A drop of dish soap, a splash of vinegar, and a bath of water will have us prepared!”
“Then we add food coloring, and we leave it in the sun!” Tweedle Dee snaps his fingers and a little sun appears over the bucket with a smiling face and sunglasses.
“Now,” said the Cheshire cat, who has been asleep in the tree, “Hold the skeins in your hands and say ‘there’s no place like home.’”
“Alright…” Says Alice hesitantly. “There’s no place like home.”
The yarn is suddenly bathed in a halo of light, and it lifts out of Alice’s hands, twisting and weaving together. In no time at all, there is a rope ladder made out of yarn.
“Well, I suppose this is goodbye.. This time!” Says Alice as she starts to climb.
An image of Penelope appears in the sky. “Good job, Alice! You learned to spin your way home! Now have many fiber adventures!”
“I will!” And with that, Alice climbs home.
Fiber Club members from all over the globe will use the included fibers from our April Fiber of the Month Club Box to help Alice SPIN her way back home. To see all the different ways members have used the fibers, check out our Ravelry Group here or on social media with #paradisefibers. I will show you one possible way you can spin the fibers in this month’s box, and walk you through a no fuss, Easter inspired, nylon dyeing tutorial using Food Coloring! But first let’s take a look at the contents in our April Fiber of The Month Club Box and some of our members unboxings/testimonials.
NOT A MEMBER OF OUR FIBER CLUB? SIGN UP TODAY TO RECEIVE CURATED BOXES LIKE THIS EVERY SINGLE MONTH! AS A MEMBER YOU SAVE 10% ON ALL SPINNING FIBER ON OUR WEBSITE WHILE ENROLLED. GET OUT OF THAT CREATIVE RUT AND SIGN UP TODAY. FIND OUT MORE.
Through the Looking GlassClick to view slideshow.
Members received 3 ounces of an exclusive Cashmere Tonal Blend we call Through the Looking Glass! This blend is ultra soft and made of Superfine 18.5 micron Merino Top, De-haired white Cashmere Top, Grade A. Mulberry Silk Top, and Faux Cashmere(nylon that’s been stretched super thin to mimic Cashmere) 50/15/25/10. This blend was designed to highlight classic Alice blue, with streaks of Rust and Purple, contrasting and dancing upon a creamy white Cashmere Canvas. To say this fiber is luxurious is an understatement. When spun from the fold, the colors in this blend will stay in place and your yarn will have a lovely color striping effect. When spun from the top your yarn will be a beautiful light heather purple/blue/grey that almost seems to change color in the light. You could even strip the colors from the blend and spin them in any particular order.
Members also received 3 oz. of our stark white Faux Angora to compliment the Through the Looking Glass. Faux Angora is a curious (and curiouser!) man-made fiber that consists of various types of nylon produced to mimic the weightlessness and halo of Angora Rabbit Fiber. This fiber takes dye brilliantly! We suggest using our country classics dye, or you could try out our food coloring recipe below. Spinning this fiber fine and plying onto itself will result in a very strong and fine yarn suitable for projects requiring a nice halo. You could even spin this fiber and ply it onto the Through the Looking glass blend for added stretch and contrast.
Here are what members are saying about our April Box/Creating.
Dyeing Nylon with Food Coloring
If you’re like me, you will seriously hesitate before dyeing the stark white Faux Angora fiber. The bright white color of this fiber is so beautiful; I can think of a multitude of projects it would be perfect for. However, the fiber also begs to be dyed! Being such a bright white color, your dye will soak up brilliantly. Resulting in a strikingly saturated hue. You can use Country Classics Dye to dye this fiber as well as many other nylon and protein based fibers including silk. I will show you how I used an Easter inspired method, because Easter egg dyes are heavily discounted after Easter. I chose to breathe life into the faux Angora by creating a multi colored, speckled skein I call the Mad Tea Party. I spun the Faux Angora first as a medium single and plied onto itself creating a bulkier yarn to show off the dye nicely. Here’s what you will need:
Food coloring. I chose to use NEON colors and Black. Any Easter Egg dyeing kit or food coloring packs will work from your local grocery store. I used a paper towel and put a drop of each color on it to see what the color might look like on the skein.
A dash of vinegar, dish soap, and a dish to soak your skein in. I used Tupperware with a leak proof lid that I purchased from Costco to soak my skein. I filled the dish with warm water, a drop of dish soap and a splash of vinegar. I let my skein soak for about 15 minutes. Do not rinse the skein after soaking.
I squeezed out any excess water and rolled my skein in a towel so the skein was damp but not wet. Then I un-skeined the yarn and placed it in a dish.
In no particular order I splattered various colors on top of the skein, flipped the skein over, and splattered more throughout. Careful not to squeeze the containers of dye to hard or you will end up with a mess. The goal here is to sprinkle different colors all over the skein without saturating the skein in too much dye. This may cause the colors to mud together.
Once I was happy with the amount of dye on the skein I covered the dish with saran wrap and set the dish in the sun for 15-30 minutes. I rinsed the skein in warm water until the water ran clear and set my skein outside to dry. I got interesting results!
Food coloring is an affordable and hassle free way to dye Synthetic and Protein based fibers alike. Did you dye your Faux Angora in this months box? Share your creations in our Fiber Club Ravelry Thread on Ravelry here or in the comments section below!
I did not dye the Through the Looking Glass blend, but I did spin a single with it, as well as a two ply yarn and I am very pleased with how this fiber spun up. It almost has an opalescent glow to it when held in different light. The top photo is my skein and the bottom is a skein a club member created. Aren’t they beautiful!?
Another club member even spun the Through the Looking Glass as a single and plied it onto a single of the Faux Angora. Here are the results.
One member suggested the two yarns would look beautiful knit in a Brioche application. I couldn’t agree more!
Both of these fibers are beautiful on their own, although something magical happens when you spin the two together. The contrast of the opal/grey/blue/purple in the Through the Looking Glass Blend against the stark white of the Angora is breathtaking. Immediately after I spun the two fibers I thought of another way I could have spun them. I’d like to share another idea, however, that a friend of mine inspired me to think of when she showed me a knitting project she was working on called,
This pattern requires you to hold two strands of yarn together, one a very thin mohair that you make loops with and the other an Aran weight yarn in a solid or variegated color. Immediately I thought how nice it would be to spin the faux Angora very fine and ply on itself to act as the mohair skein in this project, and spin the Cashmere blend an Aran weight, plied or un-plied. You could even dye the Angora a color to match the Cashmere blend. A soft purple, blue, brown, or even grey.
If you’re inspired by our April Fiber Club box you can purchase more of the fibers below! Sign up for our fiber club today so you don’t miss out on our monthly curated boxes of fiber fun!
CLICK HERE to purchase our Through the Looking Glass Blend
CLICK HERE to purchase our Faux Angora