20 Sep

duizendknoop

Duizendknoop - a shawl design by La Visch Designs

Duizendknoop: A shallow, triangle scarf, knit sideways. This design features a simple garter stitch body. The triangle edging, so reminiscent of the leaves of the Duizendknoop (Persicaria perfoliata), is knitted on at the same time. Worked at a loose gauge, Duizendknoop is a lovely and airy layering piece.

While written for a single skein of fingering weight yarn, this pattern can easily be adjusted for different amounts and weights of yarn. Instructions for the lace border are both written and charted.


Price: € 5,95 add to basket

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Difficulty level
This pattern features a garter stitch body with a lace edging worked simultaneously. Stitches used include knit, purl, k2tog, skp, kfb, m1 and yo. This pattern is suitable for the intermediate knitter.

Sizes and finished measurements
Finished dimensions of the sample shawl: 195 cm (76 ¾ inches) along the upper edge and a depth of 39 cm (15 ¼ inches), measured after blocking. Make the shawl larger by working more sections of the body pattern.

Pattern details

  • Duizendknoop is written for a gauge of approx. 18 sts / 22 rows = 10 cm (4 inches) over garter stitch, measured after blocking. Gauge is however not critical in this design.
  • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie)
  • Digital PDF has 5 pages (letter size)

Materials

  • 1 skein of Sock Marl by Dutch Wool Diva (50% Wool, 50% alpaca 400 m (437 yds) / 100 g) in “Kelp”. Substitute any fingering weight yarn in a semi-solid color for a similar result.
  • Size 4 mm (US 6) / 80 cm (32 inches) circular needles
  • Yarn needle
  • 1 stitch marker
03 Sep

tutorial: chainless starting double crochet (csdc)

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Usually, when beginning a new row or round in a crochet project, we start with a chain 2 or chain 3 to replace the first double crochet (dc) stitch. However, a chain of stitches is much skinnier than a regular double crochet, which makes it quite visible in the resulting piece. Also, it can be hard to tension the chain just so that it exactly matches the height of the dc stitches. This can make the edge of the piece (when worked flat) less neat than desired. Fortunately, there is a solution for this: the chainless starting double crochet stitch or csdc for short.

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch DesignsThis is the perfect way to make a starting stitch that more closely resembles both the height and thickness of a regular dc stitch. Please note though, that this method is best suited for continuing in the same color yarn. When changing the yarn color, using a standing double crochet stitch instead is advised. For this, I will also make a tutorial soon!

In this post, I will show you how to work the chainless starting double crochet stitch when worked flat. Notes on how to do this when working in the round can be found below the step by step instructions.

How to work a chainless starting double crochet stitch step by step

1. To start the csdc stitch, pull up the loop on your hook approx. to the height of a regular double crochet stitch.

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Hold the elongated loop in place on your hook with your finger….

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. … and twist the hook counter clockwise down towards you, wrapping the lengthened loop around your hook. You now have the original loop around your hook as well as an extra double strand.

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Now we will continue making a double crochet as we would normally do. First, yarn over…

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

5. …. and pull it through the double strand on your hook. Treat it as the first 2 loops on the hook as you would while working a regular double crochet stitch.

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

6. Again yarn over…

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

7. …. And pull it through the remaining the 2 loops on the hook to complete the stitch.

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

And that’s it! Now you’re ready to continue your pattern in the other stitches of the row or round.

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Working a chainless starting double crochet stitch in the round

Using a csdc stitch when working in the round is basically the same as when working flat. The main difference is of course that in projects worked in the round, the last stitch has to be joined with the first one of the round by using a slip stitch (sl st).

This makes the process as follows:
1. Slip stitch in the top of the first stitch of the round.
2. Work the chainless starting double crochet stitch as described above.
3. Work the rest of the round.
4. Join in the round by working a slip stitch into the top of the csdc as you would with a regular dc stitch.

Other chainless starting stitches?

Not all projects are worked in double crochet of course. Fortunately, it’s really easy to also use this technique to replace the starting chains for taller stitches like the treble crochet stitch, double treble crochet stitch etc. The main thing to keep in mind is that you need
1. To pull up a loop in step 1 as described above to match the height of the intended stitch.
2. Adjust the number of wraps (step 3 as described in the csdc step by step instructions above) to match the number of “loops on the hook” with those from the intended stitch. Each wrap hereby represents 2 loops.

This technique lends itself less well for stitches shorter than the double crochet. But then, for those is the starting chain also less of a problem in looks.

27 Aug

prinses

Prinses - a shawl design by La Visch Designs

Prinses is a simple yet stylish triangular shawl knit sideways in garter stitch on the bias. A great way to let that lovely variegated hand dyed yarn shine! With its construction in sections and flexible sizing, it’s perfect for making the most of the amount of available yarn. You can also use a different yarn for every section to stash bust some odds and ends of fingering weight yarn.

The pattern contains fully written out instructions as well as helpful notes on the amount of yarn needed for each section.


Price: € 5,95 add to basket

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Difficulty level
Stitches used include knit, k2tog, kfb and elongated versions of these stitches. This pattern is suitable for the advanced beginner.

Sizes and finished measurements
Finished dimensions of the sample shawl, using 344 m (374 yds) / 100 g of yarn: 161 cm (63 ½ inches) along the upper edge and a depth of 45 cm (17 ¾ inches), measured after blocking. Make the shawl larger by working more sections of the body pattern.

Pattern details

  • Prinses is written for a gauge of approx. 14 sts / 28 rows = 10 cm (4 inches) over garter stitch, measured after blocking. Gauge is however not critical in this design.
  • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie)
  • Digital PDF has 4 pages (letter size)

Materials

  • For the shawl as shown 1 skein of Eternity Ranch Yarns Sparkle Sock was used (92% Merino, 8% Metallic; 344 m (374 yds) / 100 g) in February Princess Cinderella. The flexible sizing of this design also makes larger shawls possible requiring up to 516 m (561 yds) / 150 g of Eternity Ranch Yarns Sparkle Sock.
  • Size 4 mm (US 6) / 80 cm (32 inches) circular needles
  • Yarn needle
  • 2 stitch markers to indicate the 3 edge stitches on each side (optional)
  • 1 locking stitch marker to indicate the RS of the work (optional)

12 Aug

humdrum

Humdrum - a design by La Visch Designs

Humdrum is a straightforward hat with a brim in rick-rack rib and a simple stockinette body. The perfect project for that one special skein of sock yarn. Due to the amount of stockinette stitch, Humdrum makes for wonderful mindless knitting. A wonderful plain hat to both knit and wear!

This pattern contains instructions for a range of children and adult sizes. Humdrum is completely seamless and knitted from the bottom up.


Price: € 4,50 add to basket

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Difficulty level
Humdrum is worked in the round starting at the brim. Rick rack ribbing is worked, stitches are increased around, and the body of the hat is worked in stockinette. Next, the stitches are decreased for the crown. Stitches used in this design include knit, purl, k2tog, and the M1 increase. This pattern is suitable for the advanced beginner to intermediate knitter.

Size and finished measurements
Preemie (Newborn, Baby, Toddler, Child) {Adult S, M, L} with a circumference of approx. 27 (33, 38.5, 43.5, 47) {50.5, 55.5, 57.5} cm or 10 ½ (13, 15 ¼, 17, 18 ½) {19 ¾, 21 ¾, 22 ½} inches in the brim of the hat.

When choosing your hat size, please choose one that is 2.5-5 cm (1-2 inches) smaller than the actual head circumference of the intended wearer.

Pattern details

    • Gauge: 26 sts / 36 rounds = 10 cm (4 inch) over stockinette after blocking.
    • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie).
    • Digital PDF has 4 pages (letter size).

Materials

  • Scheepjes Invicta Extra [75% wool, 25% nylon; 210 m (230 yds) / 50 g] in the following amounts: 44 (63, 91, 122, 156) {197, 240, 266} m or 48 (68, 100, 134, 172) {217, 263, 293} yds / 11 (15, 22, 30, 37) {47, 57, 64} g. Substitute any fingering weight yarn for a similar result.
  • Knitting needles in your preferred style for small circumference knitting in the round in the following size (or to match gauge): Size 3 mm (US #2 1/2)
  • Yarn needle
  • 7 stitch markers
  • 1 differently colored end-of-round stitch marker
07 Aug

blocking an asymmetrical shawl

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Don’t you just love those asymmetrical shawls that are knit on the bias? I know I do! They are just the perfect shape to wear as a scarf, but without the bulk on the tails that regular rectangular scarves usually have. I’ve been getting questions about how to block such a shawl though, so I thought to make a photo tutorial about it.

In this tutorial, I will be showing you how I blocked my Scuba shawl. Scuba has a lovely scalloped edge, that is realized purely by pulling the bottom edge into points during blocking.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

What is blocking?

Before we go into details, it’s good to get clear what I mean exactly with “blocking”. Blocking is nothing more than shaping your knit or crochet pieces when moist or wet. These can be finished items or components to be sewn together. By blocking them, you can not only even out stitches, but also bring the item to the intended dimensions. The latter of course within reason!

For a sweater or sweater components blocking usually is nothing more than washing the item(s) and patting them gently into shape. Lace shawls, on the other hand, benefit from a rather vigorous blocking by pinning it stretched out as much as possible. After the piece has dried, it will hold its shape until the next washing.

Please note, that not all fibers are suited for the magic of blocking. Only natural fibers like wool, alpaca, cotton etc. as well as some viscose fibers can be blocked.
On synthetics, like acrylic, the process of wet-blocking as described in this post has virtually no effect at all. Acrylics can be blocked (“killed”) by applying heat through steam blocking or ironing, but that’s an entirely different process.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Materials needed

Since the subject of this post is the blocking off a shawl, I go for a vigorous blocking using pins. I used the following materials:

  • Blocking mats, these are usually foam mats that hold pins well. Think for example of insulation mats, mats for yoga or play tiles for children.
  • Pins, I use regular pins, but other folks sometimes prefer stainless steel T pins.
  • Wool wash.
  • A towel large enough to comfortably hold your project.

How to block an asymmetrical shawl step by step

1. First I filled the sink with some lukewarm water and added a dash of wool wash. I made sure to let the shawl rest for about 10-15 minutes to make sure the wool was completely saturated with water.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Next, rinse the wool well. Don’t use cold water for this, as “shocking” warm wool like that may cause it to felt. If your yarn bleeds dye a bit, you can add a splash of vinegar to the rinse water to help fix it. After rinsing, gently squeeze excess water out of your project. Don’t wring it! This may damage the fibers, causing breakage.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Spread out your towel and place the shawl on top of it.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Fold the second half of the towel over your shawl and roll it up like a sausage. Squeeze the roll well to transfer most of the wetness from the shawl to the towel. With bigger projects, I find it helps to actually stand a bit on it.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

5. Spread out your blocking mats to the size needed for your project. I prefer to do that in my work room because it can be closed off against “helping” cats.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

6. Spread out your shawl on the blocking mats in roughly the shape you want to block it in.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

7. Start by pinning the 2 outer corners. You can stretch the upper edge of the shawl out for this, but don’t stretch it to the max., we still need some slack in the fabric to accommodate stretching it out in other directions.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

8. Next, pin the entire upper edge of the shawl in a smooth curve, using approx. 1 pin every 2.5 cm (2 inches). You can, of course, pin the upper edge in a straight line, but I find a slightly curved edge sits better on the neck and shoulders.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

9. Now we pull down the bottom point and pin it to the mats. Again, don’t stretch it to the max. yet!

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

10. Now pull every other point on the left side down and pin it in a curve. At this point, you can still keep some slack in the fabric of the shawl.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

11. Next, we move to the right side of the shawl and pull and pin it down somewhere in the middle.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

12. After this, we pin down other points of the edge of the shawl on the right side.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

13. Back to the left bottom edge! Now I’m pinning the points I skipped previously, adjusting the pins already there where needed, to achieve a smooth curve.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

14. Following this, I continue pinning the right edge again, making sure to keep the same distance between pins as on the left side. I placed the weight on the blocking mat to keep it from buckling under the tension I’m putting the shawl under.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

15. Finally, I go over the entire bottom edge again, making sure to pull it out to the max and keeping the edge in a smooth curve. I needed more weights to keep the mats in place!

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

And there you have it: a beautifully blocked Scuba shawl!

19 Jul

scuba

Scuba by La Visch Designs

Scuba is a simple yet stylish triangular shawl knit sideways on the bias. The combination of garter stitch and simple lace makes it a perfect choice for that skein of gradient yarn with long color runs. With its generous size of 195 cm (76 ¾ inches) along the upper edge and a depth of 61 cm (24 inches), it is perfect to wear as an elegant scarf.

The pattern contains both fully written out as well as charted instructions for the lace section.


Price: € 5,95 add to basket

Create your own Ebook! Purchase any 4 patterns and receive the 5th one for free. No code necessary, just put 5 patterns in your cart and the price of the lowest priced pattern will be automatically deducted from the total.


Difficulty level
Stitches used include knit, yo, k2tog, kfb and a centered double decrease. This pattern is suitable for the intermediate knitter.

Sizes and finished measurements
Finished dimensions of the sample shawl: 195 cm (76 ¾ inches) along the upper edge and a depth of 61 cm (24 inches), measured after blocking.

The shawl can be made larger by adding more repeats of the garter stitch and/or by working more repeats of the lace section. This will, of course, increase the amount of yarn needed.

Pattern details

  • Scuba is written for a gauge of approx. 14 sts / 20 rows = 10 cm (4 inches) over garter stitch, measured after blocking. Gauge is however not critical in this design.
  • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie)
  • Digital PDF has 4 pages (letter size)

Materials

  • Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektyarn (100% wool; 560 m (612 yds) / 140 g) in blue-green. Substitute any fingering weight yarn with long color runs for a similar result.
  • Size 4 mm (US 6) / 80 cm (32 inches) circular needles
  • Yarn needle
30 Jun

pink monarda

Pink Monarda - a design by La Visch Designs

Pink Monarda is a shawl in 2 sizes, designed to use that skein of speckled yarn you just couldn’t resist. The shawl pictured is size L. In this design, it is paired with the lovely flower lace border in a contrasting solid color. Go wild with the color combinations!

This shawl is knitted from the top-down in one piece, starting at the neck edge with a garter tab. The patterning in the edging is worked on both right and wrong side rows. The instructions for the edging are provided charted and written out.


Price: € 5,95 add to basket

Create your own Ebook! Purchase any 4 patterns and receive the 5th one for free. No code necessary, just put 5 patterns in your cart and the price of the lowest priced pattern will be automatically deducted from the total.


Difficulty level
Patterning in the edging of the shawl is on both RS and WS rows. Stitches used include knit, purl, skp, k2tog and yo. This pattern is suitable for the intermediate to advanced knitter.

Sizes and finished measurements
Size S (L): Wingspan of 145 (185) cm (57 (73) inches) and a depth of 70 (86) cm (27 ½ (34) inches), measured after blocking.

Pattern details

  • Pink Monarda is written for a gauge of approx. 13 sts / 24 rows = 10 cm (4 inches) over stockinette, measured after blocking. Gauge is however not critical in this design.
  • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie)
  • Digital PDF has 4 pages in the English version and 5 pages in the Dutch version (letter size)

Materials

21 Jun

dyeing cotton with onion skins

Dyeing cotton with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

After I finished dyeing the skeins of wool in my recent onion skin wool dyeing experiment, quite a potent dye baths were left over. A shame, of course, to let it go to waste. I decided that dyeing cotton with onion skins was in order! Fortunately, I have some, that has been lingering in my stash for years.

This cotton yarn is an unbleached coned yarn, that I originally bought for dishcloths and such. It turned out a tad too thin for that though, so it has been lingering in the stash ever since. I perfect candidate for some dye experimentation!

Dyeing cotton with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Materials

In this experiment, I did not have to prepare the dye baths themselves because I used the leftover ones from my wool dyeing experiment. Also, I decided not to mordant the cotton yarn, despite the fact that I read that plant or cellulose fibers are more challenging to dye than protein based fibers like wool or silk. I also read, that there was no need to mordant cotton with onion skin dye. So I decided to take the plunge and go ahead without!

I used the following materials:

  • Cotton yarn, 4 skeins of 100 g each
  • Detergent (without enzymes)
  • Yellow onion skin dye bath (second dye bath)
  • Red onion skin dye bath (second dye bath)
  • Rubber gloves, stainless steel spoons
  • Water
  • A way to heat the pots, I just used my stove

a. Washing the cotton

1. First as explained in this post I skeined up the yarn.

Dyeing cotton with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Next, I washed the cotton yarn to remove any lanolin, spin oil or other debris still present on on it. You can’t see it in this picture, but my washing water turned yellow! A very needed wash it appeared…

Dyeing cotton with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

b. Dyeing cotton with onion skins

1. In the case your yarn has dried before getting to this step, you have to soak it first in  water again. In wet yarn dye distributes itself much more uniformly. About half an hour of soaking is usually enough. If the yarn is still slightly wet, you can skip to step 2.

2. In each of the dye baths, I have put 2 skeins of cotton and made sure to completely submerge all yarn. The picture below shows the yellow onion bath on top and the red onion skin one on the bottom half.

Dyeing cotton with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. I let the cotton simmer for about an hour in the dye bath. Next, I let it cool down in the dye bath overnight. The picture below shows how the cotton looked next morning.

Dyeing cotton with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Rinse the yarn off with lukewarm water, add a dash of vinegar kitchen to fix the color. Rinse as long as necessary until the water runs clear. Remember to put on rubber gloves, if you do not want to stain your hands! Then you can squeeze the water out of the dyed yarn and hang to dry.

And this is how my cotton looks like after it has completely dried up:

Dyeing cotton with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

On the left 2 skeins of red onion skins on un mordanted cotton, and on the right yellow onion skins on again 2 skeins of un mordanted cotton. The red onion dyed yarn is now some sort of brownish cream. The yellow onion dyed yarn turned a pinkish cream. All in all, not a very dramatic difference.

I must admit being a tad disappointed with the result of my dyeing cotton with onion skins experiment. These colors give me unpleasant associations with old underwear, the type of color that, makes me look like I just crawled from underneath a rock. Was it because I used a second dye bath? An unbleached yarn? Or perhaps because I didn’t mordant the cotton beforehand?

I really don’t know. One thing is sure though: there will be a next experiment sometime in the future overdyeing this cotton!

14 Jun

tutorial: knit rick rack rib in the round

Knit rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

I’ve written it before in this tutorial on how to knit the rick rack rib flat: sometimes a less boring finishing of a project than plain old 2×2 rib is just what the doctor ordered. In this post, I’m going to show you how to knit rick rack rib in the round.

As with the flat worked version of this stitch, the characteristic zig-zag texture is obtained by the knitting the stitches in a different order than they appear on the needle. Rick rack rib worked in the round is knitted as a multiple of 3 stitches.  The main difference with the flat worked version is, of course, that there are no WS rows when working the round.

In short, the instructions for this stitch worked in the round consist of the following 2 rounds:

Round 1: *Purl 1, skip the first stitch, knit in the back loop of the second stitch (do not slip this stitch off the needle), knit into the front loop of the first stitch and now slip both knitted stitches of the needle; repeat from * to end of the round.

Round 2: *Purl 1, skip the first stitch, knit in the front loop of the second stitch (do not slip this stitch off the needle), knit into the front loop of the first stitch and now slip both knitted stitches from the needle; repeat from * to end of the round.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 to the desired height.

How to knit rick rack rib in the round step by step

Round 1
1. Purl 1 stitch.

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Skip the first stitch and insert your needle int the second stitch on the needle in the back loop.

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Wrap the yarn around the needle as usual…

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. … and pull through to complete knitting this stitch. Do not slip this stitch off the left-hand needle just yet!

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

5. Knit into the front loop of the first stitch that you skipped in step 2.

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

6. Then slip both knitted stitches from the needle. Do you see how the 2 stitches combined slant to the left?

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

7. Repeat steps 1 to 6 the end of the round.

Round 2
8. Purl 1 stitch.

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

9. Skip the first stitch and insert the needle as if to knit in the second stitch on the left-hand needle. This can be a tad fiddly!

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

10. Twist the right-hand needle so that is behind the left-hand needle and wrap the yarn around.

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

11. Next pull the yarn through, but do not slip this stitch off the needle just yet!

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

12. Knit the first stitch that you skipped in step 9….

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

13. ….then slip both knitted stitches from the needle. The 2 knitted stitches combined in this round produce a right-slanting result!

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

14. Repeat steps 8 to 13 to the end of the round. And this is how to knit rick rack rib in the round!

On the outside of the work, it will look something like this:

Rick rack rib in the round - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

In case your project ends with rick-rack rib, you can bind-off after row 2 by binding off in purl 1, knit 2 pattern.

05 Jun

dyeing wool with onion skins

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

I read that onion skins, both the red and the yellow variety can be used to dye wool or other protein based fibers pretty well. I’m very curious on the colors this will give and have therefore spent the last couple of months saving onion skins. I want to try out dyeing wool with onion skins!

Gathering yellow onion skins proved to be not that much of a problem. Red ones, on the other hand, were, because we appear not to be that much into eating red onions. Anyway, onion skins were saved and I’m ready to tell and show you what I did!

Materials

Collecting the required materials is obviously an important step. In my experiment, I wanted to use yellow and red onion skins in separate dye baths to see what differences in color that would yield. To make this possible I collected the papery, outer skins of the onions. I stored these in two separate paper bags, one for each color. It’s important to store the skins in a breathing container, otherwise, any moisture still in the skins may cause everything to mold.

Also, mordanting also has an impact on the resulting color, so in each dye bath, I wanted to have 1 mordanted and 1 non-mordanted skein of yarn.

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

To make this possible I used the following materials:

  • Wool yarn, 4 balls of 50 g each
  • Pieces of waste yarn to tie up the wool into skeins
  • Detergent (without enzymes)
  • 33 g yellow onion skins (for dyeing 100 g of wool)
  • 33 g red onion skins (for dyeing 100 g of wool)
  • A mordant, I used my leftover mordanting solution from my madder dye experiment
  • 2 stainless steel pots
  • A sieve
  • Rubber gloves, stainless steel spoons
  • Water
  • A way to heat the pots, I just used my stove

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

a. Washing the wool

First as explained in this post I skeined up the yarn and washed it to remove any lanolin, spin oil or other debris still present on the yarn.

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs
b. Mordanting

Mordanting of the wool is usually required with natural dyeing to ensure that the wool fibers are all opened up so that the dye can penetrate into the fiber. With onion skin dyeing this is however not really needed. Mordanting does have an impact on the resulting color though.

This is the reason I mordanted 2 of my 4 skeins of wool with an alum mordant. As written above, I used the leftover mordanting solution from my madder dye experiment. This time though, I didn’t leave it overnight at room temperature, but let it simmer on the stove for an hour.

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

c. Preparing the dye baths

1. An important step in dyeing wool with onion skins is of course preparing the dye baths. For each of the dye baths, I put 33 g of onion skins in the pot together with 2 L of water. This I let simmer on the stove for an hour.

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. After the full hour had passed, I used the sieve to separate the onion skins from the dye bath. The colored liquid was then returned to the pot, minus the onion skins.

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Here you see a picture of the resulting dyeing solutions. It’s a tad hard to see because it’s just so dark, but the yellow onion one is a dark orange. The red onion skin dye is a dark red.

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

d. Dyeing the yarn

4. In the case your yarn has dried before getting to this step, you have to soak it first in water again. In wet wool, dye distributes itself much more uniformly. About half an hour of soaking is usually enough. If the wool is still slightly wet, you can skip to the next step of this tutorial.

5. In each of the dye baths, I have put a skein of mordanted wool as well as a non-mordanted one. I made sure to completely submerge all wool. The picture below shows the yellow onion bath on top and the red onion skin one on the bottom half.

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

6. I let the wool simmer for about an hour in the dye bath. Next, I let it cool down in the dye bath overnight. The picture below shows how the wool looked next morning. Do you see how dark the red onion skin dye bath and the yarn in it (bottom part of the picture) has become?

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

7. Rinse the wool off with lukewarm water. Rinse as long as necessary until the water runs clear. Remember to put on rubber gloves, if you do not want to stain your hands! In this picture, only the yellow onion skin dyed yarn is shown.

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

8. Then you can squeeze the water out of the dyed wool and hang to dry.

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

And this is my result from dyeing wool with onion skins, after the skeins of yarn have completely dried:

Dyeing wool with onion skins - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

From left to right: red onion skins on non-mordanted wool, red onion skins on mordanted wool, yellow onion skins on non-mordanted wool and on the far right yellow onion skins on mordanted wool.

The mordanted colors are more bright than the non-mordanted ones. It really surprised me though, that red onion skins give green yarn!