When I took my first oil painting class as a young teen, the teacher had us look at the work of 19th century Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh for inspiration. She made a special effort to point out the colors used and how Van Gogh placed colors side by side without blending, a technique I would later learn is quite a challenge to master!
Van Gogh’s color palette always amazes! In particular the rich blues and yellows he uses play off each other, bringing cool depth with the blues, and zingy warmth with the yellows. I particularly love his sunflower paintings. Who knew the color yellow could contain so much nuance and beauty?
For this tutorial, I decided to pull two shades of yellow from one of Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings: a rich honey mustard and a zippy, bright lemon yellow. These colors perfectly evoke the moment of summer we are in right now in the northern hemisphere. Sun flowers and black eyed Susans are blooming almost everywhere you look. The sun is bright and bringing golden warmth to the bodies of all who chose to play in its gorgeous light. I can think of no better way to show off these beautiful colors than to put them simply, side by side, just like Van Gogh would, without blending, to preserve their distinct personalities.
I selected Ivory, a beautiful blend of merino wool, royal alpaca, and silk, for this tutorial. Ivory’s fingering weight and slightly cool hand makes the perfect summer yarn. I love it for tops, but for this skein, I think I want to use it to make a crocheted baby bucket hat. Doesn’t that sound cute?
Loop a zip tie around the skein of yarn, if you are using it.
Soak the yarn in lukewarm water for about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare your dye.
Make sure to always protect yourself with gloves and a respirator whenever you work with dye in its powder form. A dust or surgical mask is not enough protection to safely work with dye powder!
Into one large cup, measure 1 gram FLUORESCENT YELLOW dye powder. Add ½ teaspoon of citric acid powder and top with hot water. Stir to dissolve.
Repeat the above with 1 gram of HONEY MUSTARD dye powder in the remaining large cup.
On a clean work surface, lay out a sheet of plastic wrap at least 12 inches longer than the skein of yarn.
Remove the skein from the soaking liquid, gently squeezing the excess liquid out of the yarn. You want the yarn to be slightly damp, but not sopping wet.
Place the skein in the center of the sheet of plastic wrap. You want a good sized border of plastic wrap all around the skein.
Pour the cup of HONEY MUSTARD liquid dye mix over one half of the skein. Use your gloved hands to work the dye into the yarn. This prevents any white spots from popping up on the yarn. Make sure your gloves are clean before moving to the next step.
Pour the cup of FLUORESCENT LEMON liquid dye mix over the opposite half of the skein. Use your gloved hands to work the dye into the yarn.
Wash your gloves once more.
Fold the bottom half of the plastic wrap over the skein of yarn.
Then fold the top half of the plastic wrap up over the yarn and overlapping the bottom part of plastic wrap you folded in the previous step.
Starting in the center and working out, smooth your hands over the yarn to press out any air that might be trapped within the yarn and the plastic.
Starting at one end, fold the extra plastic wrap on one end over the skein and towards the center of the skein. Continue to roll up the whole skein until you have a tightly rolled jelly roll. Press the end of the plastic wrap to seal.
Place the rolled up skein on a paper plate, or in the pot set up for steam setting.
Microwave the yarn on high power for about 4 minutes, or steam the yarn for 10 minutes.
Let the yarn cool completely before handling.
When the yarn is completely cool, carefully unwrap the plastic wrap package. You may need to use scissors to open the package. If you do, take special care to not clip any of the yarn in the process.
Rinse and dry the yarn as you normally would.
Enjoy your finished yarn! Make sure to tag us using #Knomadyarn so we can see all your fabulous projects.