Tag Archive: how to

Silk Scarf Dyeing


Here’s a quick tutorial I put together on my recently learned method of dyeing silk chiffon scarves. –

A Typical Day at the Dyes

I’ve been dyeing lots and lots of yarn lately. And I do mean a lot. Between the thirty-odd skeins for Knitting With Jane, my Aunt’s visit, and getting in fall stock. . . yes. You get the idea. So, here is what a typical day of dyeing might looks like for me.

First Fiber Fair!

Or “Extreme Excitement.” Take your pick. Yep, I’ve got an invitation to send some yarns up to a fiber and yarn fair in Winterset, IA this March. I’ve picked out a pile from both my Etsy stores, and hopefully I’ll be able to get them tagged and sent in the next couple days. Meanwhile, if you want to grab something in one of my stores, grab it quick, because I’m hoping no yarns will come back from the fair.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the yarns. I’m just really ready to start dyeing more, and experiment with new yarn bases and all that jazz. (Yep, short interest span. That’s me.) And stuff needs to sell before I buy more yarns. It’s a horrible fact of life.

Dyeing Wool

Beginner’s Series: Wool – Part 5

Wool is one of the easiest fibers to dye. It responds readily to Kool-Aid, commercial dyes, natural (plant- or animal-derived) dyes, and even food coloring.

There are dozens of different ways to color wool, and, as I’ve only tried a few of them, I can’t give you detailed tutorials for everything, but here are some of the ones that have helped me along and given me some really great results. I use Jacquard Acid Dyes for most of my dyeing, with the odd natural dye thrown in. The Jacquards are really nice because the only chemical you need to set the color is vinegar!


If you’re a knitter you have probably heard the term “kettle-dyed” before. It pretty much means that the yarn will be mostly the same color, with a slight shift in intensity in some areas. This is achieved by cooking the yarn (or wool roving) in a pot of dye solution. The actual process will vary depending on what kind of dye you use.

Beginner’s Series: Wool

Hello, everyone! There’s going to be a second Beginner Series on Maiden Yarn.

I’ll be focusing in on wool types and working with fleece. I’ll go into picking the right type of wool to use and how to choose a raw fleece, wash it, prepare it, and dye it. I’m so excited about these new posts. It’s a lot to cover in one week, but we’ll have a good time.

Posts start September 9th.

As always, these articles are intended to be wildly helpful, so please, don’t hesitate to leave a comment if something needs clarification or elaboration. These are for you and others who love learning. Share your knowledge.

Drafting, Plying, and a Balanced Yarn

Beginner’s Info: Part 7

There are two different things meant by “drafting.”

“Pre-drafting” is loosening up the fibers before you spin so you’ll get a nice, airy, easy-to-work-with yarn. Here is a good video on fluffing up the fibers in a roving.

Regular “drafting” refers to how you handle the fibers that are being spun.

Drafting While Spinning

Here is a great text/image rundown on the main types of drafting while spinning. There are also videos down the side, but it’s kind of hard to see what she’s doing.

I also found these videos for long draw and short draw on wheel. Short draw is easier, in my opinion, although I love long draw. The short draw video doesn’t have any audio besides the background music, so you can mute it if you wish. The text gives a pretty good explanation, but I want to give another here.

Yarn: The Creation 2

Beginner’s Info: Part 6

This is the wheel version of spinning tutorials. You can find the drop spindle one here.

Let’s Go

If you learned on a drop spindle you’ll already have the basics of spinning down. All you’ll have to do is learn to operate the foot pedal while moving your hands.

However, if you decided to go for the big stuff first you’ll want a little more background.

The following videos are helpful for both complete beginners and drop spindlers. It’ll let you get a feel for how a wheel works.

The Videos

This is one from Paradise Fibers. It is the second half of a two-part series on setting up and using a Lendrum wheel. Lots of good things are covered, and you can get a feel for how a single drive band works.

Yarn: The Creation

Beginner’s Info: Part 3

This is the drop spindle version of spinning tutorials. The wheel version will be coming soon.

Time To Begin

Alright, you’ve got your spindle, some sort of wool, and a whole lot of excitement. Now you need a piece of pre-made yarn (commercial will do) about two to two-and-a-half feet long. Plain yarn is best. Don’t go for the fancy boucle or eyelash. Just some scrap yarn you have laying around. Alright, got it in your hand? This is your “leader” yarn. It is what makes it possible to easily begin the act of spinning. It’s what you’ll be attaching your fiber to and dangling your spindle from. In short, it’s your friend.

If you happen to be feeling ultra crafty and coordinated today, (or if you simply can’t wait long enough to go find yarn) the first tutorial below shows how to begin without a leader yarn.

So You Want To Spin?

Beginner’s Info: Part 1

So you want to learn to spin? Good for you. You’re about to be initiated into the wonderful craft of spinning. Or, to turn it into its most basic process, the art of taking a handful of something and making into gorgeous yarns.

If you’re interested in spinning, chances are you’ve at least seen a spinning wheel before. Maybe you watched someone at a Living History demonstration, or perhaps you have a friend who keeps babbling on about their wonderful wheel, or maybe (like me) you picked up a magazine and got sucked into a world of color and texture. However you developed the interest you want to get started. So now is the time for me to stop telling you how much fun you’ll have and give you some hard facts.

What is spinning?

Spinning is putting twist into something to make it form a new, stronger shape. You can spin with three blades of grass and your fingers. You can spin with long strips of fabric and a heavy rock. You can spin with your hair and a messed up curler. But none of these are the cool ways to do it.

If you want to begin spinning, you’re going to need three things. Something to spin into yarn, something with which to spin that thing into yarn, and something to tell you how to do it.


A rather wonderful idea has hit me, and I’m so excited about it! This coming Monday I plan to begin posting useful links and tutorials for beginning spinners. When I first began spinning I had to run all over the Internet to find how-to’s and videos of demonstrations. These lists will put lots of that information in one easy-to-get-to place.

I’ll cover drop spindling, wheel spinning, fiber types, drafting, spinning balanced yarn, and a few of my favorite places to buy fiber. I may even compile links on dyeing and some of the rarer forms of spinning, such as Great Wheel, tahkli, and charka. This is going to be tool I wish I had had when I began. I can hardly wait to get started!