Friday, April 4, 2014

dyeing rope for crafting

In the spring and summer, I try to put down my knitting for a while and work on a few warm weather projects. Rope is one of my favorite materials because it is cheap and readily available at the hardware store, even in bright colors.
clothesline dyed with blue food coloring and neon yellow acid dye

I have a lot of jewelry ideas right now that will use rope, but I want some color variation that I can't get at the store, so before I start working on these rope crafts, I am going to dye some rope.

 The type of rope you use is the most important thing to pay attention to. In order for the dye to set, you need to use nylon rope or a nylon blend.

1. Nylon/poly 1/4" braided clothesline - this will not dye completely, the result is a sporty 2 tone look that is very unique. You can also find this rope in 100% nylon.

2. Nylon Paracord - I have only come across nylon paracord, so if you have some that is unmarked, it is worth a try. I have knotted the cord tightly to create a pattern where the original color is left in some places.

3. Chinese knotting cord - this is from the craft store, it is a tight braided rope that looks a lot like very thin paracord. I want this to be totally saturated with the black dye, so i wound it around my fingers into a loose skein and secured the ends together. Tying the ends around the skein will leave dashes of the original color.

4. Nylon Mason Line - mason line in neon colors is fun, but to get a yellow and black rope, I folded 8 yards in half a few times, then tied a knot every few inches where the dye will not soak in.


Any other type of nylon rope will work as well

To color the rope, you will need acid dye or food coloring. Here are 5 different kinds of dye that will color your rope.

A. Rit Dye - This is an easy to find brand, but not the best choice if you only need an acid dye. Rit is made to color multiple materials, so some color will wash out. If you use this, follow the instructions for dying wool on the label. You will need to add vinegar to the dyebath.

B. Aljo acid dyes - I just got a bunch of these because they are made locally and are available in bulk. This is what commercial companies use. In the package there is a dye powder, you will need to add an acid, such as vinegar, to the dyebath to set the color.

C. Country Classic dyes - This is what I am using on my rope. This dye comes in about 50 colors and is pre mixed so nothing needs to be added to the dyebath other than this powder. The black color (raven) is true black, unlike Rit or food coloring dyes.

D. Food Coloring - Food coloring will dye nylon, and it can give great unique results. You will need to add an acid to the dyebath  and cook on medium heat for the dye to set. This is the easiest dye to get, but the hardest to predict. Don't expect the color to look the same as it does on thee label.

E. Jaquard acid dye - I get these at the art store, it is hobby quality and comparable in price to Country Classics. I have found that the colors are hard to predict and are often different than the colors on the label. You need to add an acid to the dyebath in order for the dye to set.


With my dye color and rope picked out, I heated my dyepot until the water was simmering. You will get the best results by following the instructions on the dye package or these instructions for dyeing nylon with food coloring. DO NOT USE DYE IN A POT THAT YOU USE TO COOK.

After about 15 minutes, all but the paracord is black, so I take out the other ropes and leae the paracord in the dyebath with some extra color added for another 15 m.

The ropes are then put into a NON FOOD Tupperware and are rinsed.

As the ropes are untied, the original colors come through.

The tie dyed mason line is more interesting than plain neon colors.

The paracord looks great when wrapped around a bigger rope.

You can see how the blended rope takes dye differently than the other ropes.

I will be posting more pictures projects for rope as I make more colors. So come back and visit to see some solid  colored clothesline and bright colors that can be used to make jewelry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Feather Flame Pattern

Feather Flame is a chevron patterned scarf knit on the bias.  It has a scalloped edge and a slight curve that makes it easy to wear. The stitch pattern can be scaled to fit any gauge and yarn weight. Self  striping sock yarn gives definition to the waves of the flame stitch pattern.

Instructions are given in both chart and written form. Difficulty is intermediate, you need to know about increasing and decreasing using a few techniques but all are explained in the pattern. 

Yarn: 1 skein Lion Brand, Sock-Ease Prints, 438 yards (401 meters) shown in Red Hot,
or any fingering or sock weight yarn.

Needles: Size 6 (4mm) straight needles.

Gauge: 24 stitches and 32 rows in a 4 x 4” (10 x 10cm) square in pattern stitch.

Other Materials: Row counter, sewing needle, stitch holder.

Finished size: Approx 60 x 8” (152 x 20 cm)


You could definitely use any wight yarn with this pattern and change the number of repeats to get the  width you desire, striping sock yarn just happens to be a great way to show off the flame stitch pattern without using multiple colors to create stripes. That said, the pattern still looks nice in solids.

I hope you'll give it a try. The pattern is now on sale in my ravelry store or you can buy it here, use coupon code spring14 to get a 50% discount for the rest of March.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring sale

I'm having a 50% off sale on 4 of my favorite spring friendly designs in my ravelry store. Easy is a kids and adult shrug that's super simple to make (one piece, 2 seams). Midnight blazer is my spring workwear, it is warm enough to wear as a coat when spring weather isn't quite here and it is perfect for over air conditioned offices. It also takes a weekend to make. Drop top is a basic cotton sweater with a modern drop sleeve and shaping in the shoulders. Finally, Spellbound is my personal favorite. I wear this crop top everywhere, it works for the day, the night, the beach, or anywhere. It also includes a non cropped version for those who aren't into the cropped trend.

There's really something for everyone here including the kids, so check it out. Remember to use coupon code spring14 when you check out. I'm going to go get more yarn to make another spellbound now, periwinkle or hot pink?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Crazy Stripe

The last few weeks have been really busy for me with outside work coming in, but I have been spending all of my free time watching netflix swatching some really interesting patterns. Usually I design knits with overall shape in mind, not lace or cables and complex textures. To make things interesting, I decided to look at Missoni style textiles. None of these are copies of commercial knits, their machines do things that hands can't, but in studying the technology , I have come up with my own new ideas.

Here are some of the stitch patterns that I have made using stripes. each pattern is worked with one color per row, yet they look a lot like stranded motifs. the advantage is that there aren't any messy loops on the wrong side, making them great for shawls, wraps, and blankets.

1. This is how the idea started, extend chevrons vertically, lobes will form.

2. Put lobes on the lobes and it will look even cooler.

3-4. Alter the pattern slightly to try to flatten the fabric.

5. Garter stitch makes everything fit together perfectly and lay flat. I amgoing to make an afghan in this pattern and I am working on a wrap with this as well.

These look super hard to knit, but in reality, they are just glorified chevron patterns with increases and decreases - no harder to knit than any other stitch pattern.

1-2. I am looking at ways to make deeper chevrons, you can expect a  detailed post about the number of increases and decreases to make all sorts of chevron patterns as soon as I have time to knit examples. #2 has waves along the chevrons as well.

3. This is a border pattern. It looks cool, but it has short rows in addition to incs and decs. Ain't nobody got time for that.

4. Lobes - loving these lobes. They are easy. You'll see these in a scarf design.

1. I am working on a triangular shawl and thought this would be a good border.

2.  Yet againn, everything lies flatter in garter stitch.

3-4. These are center and corner experiments for the shawl. I am feeling very good about it right now and the pattern should be ready in august.


That's what I have been knitting these days. For now, I am keeping my technique secret until I release the patterns. It's difficult to write because they should be chartable, but most are not due to the change in stitch count from row to row. Maybe I will need test knitters next month. Any interest?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

love season

If you actually follow this blog, you may have noticed that there haven't been a lot of posts lately. With all of the design projects that I am taking on, there just isn't a lot of personal crafting going on here.

I did just get a new computer, which means that I can edit video again and not worry about the health of my laptop. This weekend has been dedicated entirely to re-skinning, modifying, and prettifying my OS.

After making a custom screensaver in flash (that's an idea for a tutorial, hmm), I decided to post it up here and let everyone know that I am still alive.

It looks like this gif:




This is the download link for the file. It will run on Windows operating systems with Flash and doesn't have any malicious code in it. You can trust me - I am terrible at programming stuff.

Oh, and leave a comment if you want to see a gif to screensaver tutorial in the future.

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