08 Feb

bichrome

Bichrome - a shawl design by La Visch Designs

In Bichrome you find a two-color garter stitch center triangle with a stunning two-color lace edge. Made using the lovely and rustic Elena base by Moeke Yarns, Bichrome is the perfect thing to throw on when there is a bit of chill in the air. Bichrome starts at the bottom corner of the center triangle and is increased until large enough. Bind off stitches for the top of the shawl, then pick up stitches along two edges of the triangle to work the border outwards.

Written and charted instructions included for the lace border.


Price: € 5,95 add to basket

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Difficulty level
Stitches used include knit, purl, yo, kfb, skp, a double decrease as well as knitting through the back loop. This pattern is suitable for the intermediate knitter.

Size and finished measurements
One size: Wingspan of 192 cm (76 ½ inch) and a depth of 88 cm (34 ¾ inch), measured after blocking.

Pattern details

  • Written for a gauge of 22 sts / 28 rows = 10 cm (4 inch) over body pattern in the center triangle after blocking. Gauge is not critical for this design, but a loose gauge is strongly advised.
  • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie).
  • Digital PDF has 4 pages (letter size).

Materials

  • Moeke Yarns Elena Single (100% wool; 330 m (361 yds) / 100 g) in the following colors and amounts: C1 – 355 m (388 yds) / 117 g in Gray, C2 – 341 m (373 yds) / 103 g in Natural. Please note that Moeke Yarns Elena is sold in varying put ups!
  • 4.5 mm (US #7 / 80 cm (32 inch) circular needles.
  • Yarn needle
  • 2 stitch markers to indicate the center stitch
  • 24 stitch markers (optional)
01 Feb

bloemenmeiske in ‘handwerken zonder grenzen’

Bloemenmeiske - a pattern by La Visch Designs

Bloemenmeiske is a sweet bonnet to keep your dearest little person warm and happy. This design not only has a lovely petal edging, but also a pretty flower detail at the back. It is available in 5 sizes, ranging from newborn to child. Using less than 100 g of DK-weight yarn for all sizes and less than 50 g for most sizes, this design is not only a great stash buster, but also the perfect last minute gift.

Handwerken Zonder Grenzen

I’m proud to tell you, that this design has been published in issue 199 of the Dutch magazine Handwerken Zonder Grenzen! You can order this issue in Dutch here.

This pattern is also available in both English and Dutch through La Visch Designs!

Bloemenmeiske by La Visch Designs in Handwerken Zonder Grenzen

18 Jan

dyeing with natural dyes: part 4 – dyeing!

Dyeing yarn with natural dyes - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

This post is part 4 in a series in which I tell you all about what is involved in dyeing wool with natural dyes. In the previous steps, we have already washed our wool, mordanted the yarn and prepared our dye bath. Now it is finally time to dye!

The steps to go through are as follows:

a. Washing the wool
b. Mordanting
c. Preparing the dye
d. Dyeing your wool

As with mordanting, you can dye either warm or cold. The end result may differ between the two methods, it is a matter of experimentation to see what you like best. The advantage of hot dyeing is, of course, that it is relatively fast. After about an hour in the hot dye bath you’ve already got result. However, it also uses much more energy. That’s why I’m using the cold dyeing method in this example.

d. Dyeing yarn!

1. In the case your mordanted yarn is dry, 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 step 2. If you intent to have a more random coverage, than by all means do not pre-soak your yarn of course! Freedom in variations is one of the nice things about dyeing yarn yourself.

Dyeing yarn with natural dyes - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Put the mordanted wool in the pot or pots with the dye bath. Fill if necessary with a little water to completely cover the wool. Stir gently if necessary to get the wool well into the dye bath.

Dyeing yarn with natural dyes - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Let the wool soak about 24 hours (or longer if desired) in the dye bath. An hour more or less does not matter very much. You can dye your skeins of wool in varying tints of the same color, by removing them after different numbers of hours in the dye bath.

Dyeing yarn with natural dyes - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. I have removed my skeins of wool after respectively 12, 16, 20 and 24 hours in the dye bath to see how the differences turn out. On the left is 12-hour in the dye bath, on the right is at the 24 hour mark.

Dyeing yarn with natural dyes - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Rinse the wool 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!

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

Dyeing yarn with natural dyes - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

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

Dyeing yarn with natural dyes - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

As you can see there is a difference between 12 and 24 hours in the dye bath. However, four hours between the skeins is apparently too short to see a lot of difference between successive skeins. Learned something!

The second dye bath

The above coral pink color I obtained by allowing my wool to soak in the first extract of the madder, the so-called first dye bath. To see if more pink shades were possible, I made a new dye bath containing the same madder by soaking them again for one day. In this dye batch I then soaked another mordanted skein of wool for 24 hours. And this lovely blush-colored yarn was the result:

Dyeing yarn with natural dyes - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Lots of fun to dye with plant-based dyes! I will definitely do this more often and am already saving up onion skins for my next natural dye project!

11 Jan

dyeing with natural dyes: part 3 – the dye bath

Dyeing with natural dyes - preparing the dye bath, a tutorial by La Visch Designs

This post is part 3 in a series about dyeing wool with natural dyes. This part is all about the various steps in preparing the dye bath.

The steps to go through are as follows:
a. Washing the wool
b. Mordanting
c. Preparing the dye
d. Dyeing your wool

Today we are going to make the dye bath! In this experiment I’m going to dye with madder. Below I want to tell you some more about this first.

Madder

Dyeing with natural dyes - preparing the dye bath, a tutorial by La Visch DesignsMadder (Rubia tinctorum) has been used as a dye for many thousands of years. The reason? It is one of the most light-resistant red dyes of natural origin. It was and is used for the coloring of textiles and leather. In the fifteenth century, the Netherlands was the main producer of the madder. Particularly in Zeeland there were many fields of madder plants in the 19th century. At least until synthetic dyes became available.

The plant is about 60-90 cm high and has small yellow flowers. Below ground are the rhizomes, which can go as deep as  50-100 cm. The roots are the part that is of interest for dyeing. Madder is harvested about three years after planting, because only then the roots are big enough. After drying, the roots are ground to small pieces or powder.

c. Making the dye bath

In order to dye  with madder root, you need about 25-50 g of powder per 100 g of wool. The precise amount depends upon the desired strength of the dye bath. For my wool (weighing in at 200 g dry weight) I will use a total of 80 g of madder powder. Here are the steps I followed:

1. Weigh your dye stuff, powdered madder root in my case.

Dyeing with natural dyes - preparing the dye bath, a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Put your dye stuff in an old bit of pantyhose or make a “tea bag” from it by other means. You want the dye stuff  in it to have adequate space to absorb moisture and to release its dye to the water. The dye stuff “tea bag” makes it easier later on to remove it out of your dye bath. It also has the great benefit of not having to remove any pieces or powder out of your wool.

Dyeing with natural dyes - preparing the dye bath, a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Put the dye bag in a glass jar and cover with boiling water. I understand that madder provides a brighter shade of red when using “hard” water. Do you have soft water? Then add some chalk in the form of calcium carbonate to your dye bath.

Dyeing with natural dyes - preparing the dye bath, a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Allow the dye bath to soak overnight. This is how mine looks after one night of patience:

Dyeing with natural dyes - preparing the dye bath, a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Now it’s finally time to dye! More on this in my next post.

04 Jan

dyeing with natural dyes: part 2 – mordanting

Dyeing with natural dyes - mordanting, a tutorial by La Visch Designs

This post about mordanting your fiber is part 2 in a series in which I tell you all about what is involved in dyeing wool with natural dyes. I guide you through the various steps and take you along with a natural dye experiment.

The steps to go through are as follows:

a. Washing the wool
b. Mordanting
c. Preparing the dye
d. Dyeing your wool

Today we are going to mordant the wool we washed in the previous step.

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. Without mordanting the dye adheres less well and the resulting color is less bright and colorfast.
There are several possible mordants: alum (potassium aluminum sulfate), chrome (potassium dichromate), copper sulfate, iron (ferrous sulfate), and tin (stannous chloride).

Each mordant has a different effect on the outcome of the dyeing process. Iron for example will “sadden” or darken colors, bringing out the green shades. Because alum is, when compared to the others, much less polluting and releases no harmful vapors during processing, I use it in this step-by-step guide.

1. The amount of mordanting agent to use depends on the quantity of wool that you want to dye. Typically, alum is used between 8% and 20% of the weight of the wool (dry weight!). I start at 15% and have 200 g of wool, therefore I use 30 g alum. (I know that the photograph shows 31 g, have corrected the weight after making the picture!)

Dyeing with natural dyes - mordanting, a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Tartaric acid (“cream of tartar”) is sometimes used as an additive when mordanting with alum. As I understand it, it can brighten the colors. Use at approx. 7% of the weight of fiber together with 8% alum. In this example, I however do not use it.

2. Dissolve the alum (and, possibly, tartaric acid) in a glass jar or stainless steel pan of boiling water. Use enough water to fully submerge your amount of wool.

Dyeing with natural dyes - mordanting, a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Add the wet wool to the pot. This may be immediately after washing. If your wool has dried between washing and mordanting, let it soak in water for about half an hour first. Adding dry wool to a mordanting or dye bath may cause streaks in your fiber.

Dyeing with natural dyes - mordanting, a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Many instructions for dyeing wool indicate to keep it all warm at the simmering point for more than an hour. That may indeed be the case, but you can also get good results if you let it cool completely and then allow to stand overnight. This cold mordanting takes more time, but much less energy and therefore has my preference.

4. After mordanting, the wool must be rinsed.

mordanting_4

5. Next you can directly proceed to dyeing the wool, or (if the timing is not quite right) hang your wool to dry. Once mordanted and dried, simply store the wool until you are ready to dye.

Dyeing with natural dyes - mordanting, a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Now it is time to proceed to the next step: preparing your dye bath. More on this in my next post!

28 Dec

pijl hat

Pijl Hat - a design by La Visch Designs

The Pijl hat is a lovely unisex hat with stranded color work. With only two colors, this hat knits up super quick. Due to the simple colorwork design, it is also a great first stranded project for anyone who has never attempted this technique before.

This pattern contains instructions for a whopping 9 sizes, ranging from Preemie to Adult Large. The Pijl hat is knit completely seamless and from the bottom up. The color work pattern for the body of the hat is in charted form only. All other instructions are in written form.


Price: € 4.50 add to basket

Create your own Ebook! Purchase any 4 patterns and receive a 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 k, p, k2tog and the M1 increase. This pattern is suitable for the intermediate knitter.

Size and finished measurements
Preemie (Newborn, 6M Baby, 12M Baby, Toddler) {Child, S, M, L} with resulting circumference of approx. 29 (36.5, 40, 43.5, 47.5) {51, 54.5, 54.5, 58} cm (11 ¾ (14 ½, 16, 17 ½, 19) {20 ¼, 21 ¾, 21 ¾, 23 ¼} inch) in the body of the hat.

When choosing your hat size, take 2.5-5 cm (1-2 inch) of negative ease into account.

Pattern details

  • Gauge: 22 sts / 24 rounds = 10 cm (4 inch) over stranded stockinette on larger needles.
  • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie).
  • Digital PDF has 4 pages (letter size).

Materials

  • Yarn: GGH Maxima [100% merino wool; 111 m (121 yds) / 50 g] in 2 colors:
    MC: 33 (52, 65, 77, 85) {106, 121, 138, 155} m (36 (56, 70, 85, 93) {114, 132, 150, 169} yds) – green in sample.
    CC: 22 (51, 56, 62, 67) {71, 113, 113, 120} m (24 (56, 61, 68, 73) {77, 123, 123, 131} yds) – blue in sample.
    Substitute any DK weight yarn for a similar result.
  • Knitting needles in your preferred style for small circumference knitting in the round in the following sizes (or to match gauge): Size 3.5 mm (US #4) and size 4 mm (US #6)
  • Yarn needle
  • 7 stitch markers
  • 1 differently colored end-of-round stitch marker
21 Dec

dyeing with natural dyes: part 1 – washing the wool

Dyeing with natural dyes part 1: washing the wool - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Dyeing wool with food coloring like Easter egg dyes is of course a lot of fun and very easy to do. Lately, however, the possibilities of natural dyes intrigue me. Think of onion skins, indigo, madder, annatto and logwood.

In order to get good results with natural dyes, more steps are required, than with food coloring. In this series of posts I will guide you through the various steps and take you along with a natural dye experiment. Before I proceed I must tell you that I am by no means an expert in this area. I’m only sharing what I have learned in my own experiments!

The steps to go through are as follows:

  1. Washing the wool
  2. Mordanting
  3. Preparing the dye bath
  4. Dyeing your wool

Today we are going to discuss the preparations with respect to washing the wool. Of course, it is also useful to know what materials are needed!

Materials

Collecting the required materials is obviously an important step. However, this step I haven’t included in the above overview, because what will be required depends very much on the choices made with respect to your natural dyes of choice.

Things you will however (almost) always need are:

  • Protein (animal-based) fibers, such as wool or silk or cellulose (plant-based) fibers, such as cotton, linen, or hemp. Man-made fibers like acrylics can’t be dyed this way!
  • Pieces of waste yarn to tie up your yarn into skeins.
  • Detergent (without enzymes).
  • The natural dyes or dye material.
  • A mordant like alum. This is used to help the dye adhere to the fiber and helps in achieving bright colours.
  • For warm dyeing: A stainless steel or enamelled pan which will not be used for cooking anymore.
  • For cold dyeing: Glass jars in the number or volume big enough for the amount of wool that you want to dye.
  • Old nylons or other material to make a “tea bag” for your dye material.
  • Rubber gloves, stainless steel spoons.

a. Washing the wool

If you buy wool yarn, you may be inclined to dye without washing it. There is however a chance that there is a reasonable amount of lanolin, spin oil or other debris still present on the yarn. This makes it difficult for the dye to penetrate well into the fiber. This in turn results in your wool having less vivid colors and being a less colorfast.
For best results, wash first is the motto.

Dyeing with natural dyes part 1: washing the wool - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

1. In this experiment I used Lettlopi, it is sold in the lovely put-up shown. However, when washing like this, the yarn will tangle beyond hope. Therefore it is wise to rewind first into skeins. I use my niddy noddy, but the yarn can of course also, for example, be wound around the back of a chair.

Dyeing with natural dyes part 1: washing the wool - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

And yes, I know that my niddy noddy isn’t used “correctly” in this picture. I prefer using it this way because I like the length of the skein it gives. Fortunately, there is no such thing as wool-police!

2. To ensure that the skeined yarn does not tangle, tie it together with some waste yarn in several places. Do not tie it too tight, this may prevent the dye from fully penetrating the wool in those spots. I do this as follows four places:

Dyeing with natural dyes part 1: washing the wool - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

The entire skein then looks like this:

Dyeing with natural dyes part 1: washing the wool - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Now we go on to the washing! Use water of at least 60 C or 140 F for best results. I use water as hot as it comes out of the tap. If this is not very hot in your case, add a splash of boiling water from the kettle or stove. Add a dash of detergent and then the wool. Use detergent without enzymes, since these would damage the wool. Strongly agitating the wet could felt it, but gentle stirring should not be a problem.

Allow the wool to stand for about 15 to 20 minutes, but don’t let it cool down completely. Any lanolin dissolved in the water could then precipitate again on the wool.

Dyeing with natural dyes part 1: washing the wool - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Now it’s time to rinse the wool with warm water. Do not rinse with cold water, a big difference in temperature from hot to cold can felt your wool!

Dyeing with natural dyes part 1: washing the wool - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

After rinsing it is time to proceed to the next step: mordanting the wool. More on this in my next post!

Dyeing with natural dyes part 1: washing the wool - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

14 Dec

tutorial: knitting the loopy bind-off

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

In this post I want to show you a variation of the i-cord BO: the loopy bind-off. With a regular i-cord BO you work directly over all stitches, binding them off. With the loopy bind-off loops of i-cord are made in between the stitches that are to be bound off. This does not only give a highly decorative edge, but is also a very elastic finishing. For this reason, this would be a nice BO to use on items like shawls, that have to be blocked quite aggressively for the best results.

Similar to regular i-cord (click here for the post about it!), this stitch can be knit over 3, 4 or 5 stitches. The more stitches, the fatter the resulting i-cord will be. The number of stitches also affects the loops in this bind-off: if you want to knit the i-cord for the loops over 3 stitches, you will need a multiple of 3 stitches to bind-off + that number minus 1 (ie 2 in this case).

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

To knit the loopy bind-off, you need a set of knitting needles, plus one extra needle in the same size. It can be worked on both the good and the wrong side of the work. In this example I’m binding off a small swatch in garter stitch.

The loopy bind-off step by step

1. Use the first 3 stitches on the left needle to knit regular i-cord. You can decide how long to make the cord, as long as it is equal for all loops. In this example I made cord with a length of 3.5 cm, which was 10 rows.

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

2. Next, hold the needle with the i-cord stitches parallel to the needle with the stitches to be bound off:

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

3. Insert the third needle into the first stitch on the front needle, then immediately also into the first stitch of the back needle. Wind the yarn around the needle as usual, pull the yarn through both stitches and then slip off the first stitch of both the front and back needle. This is really very similar to working a three-needle BO.

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

4. Repeat step 3 twice.

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

5. Next, slip the 3 newly knitted stitching back to the left hand needle.

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

6. Repeat steps 1 to 5 until 3 stitches remain on the left hand needle. Next, repeat steps 1 and 2 once more.

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

7. Work step 3 twice, you now have 2 stitches on the right hand needle.

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

8. Pass the first stitch over the second stitch, you now have 1 stitch remaining on the right hand needle.

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

9. Repeat step 3 once more, followed by 1 repetition of step 8. All stitches are now cast off, you can now cut the yarn and pull the tail through the last loop.

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

This is how the the loopy bind-off edge will look like on the right side of the work:

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

And this is how it looks on the wrong side of the work:

Knitting the loopy bind-off - a tutorial by La Visch Designs - www.lavisch.com

Depending on the desired effect you can use either the right or wrong side of this bind-off.

And that is all there is to it!

11 Dec

bloem

Bloem, a hat design by La Visch Designs

Bloem is a cute hat with stranded color work depicting little flowers. With only two colors, this hat knits up super quick and is a great first stranded project for anyone who has never attempted this technique before.

The Bloem hat pattern contains instructions for a whopping 9 sizes, ranging from Preemie to Adult Large. The Bloem hat is completely seamless and knitted from the bottom up. The color work pattern for the body of the hat is provided charted only. All other instructions are in written form.


Price: € 4.50 add to basket

Create your own Ebook! Purchase any 4 patterns and receive a 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
Bloem is seamless and knit in the round from the bottom up. This pattern involves following a color chart and working in stranded knitting. An alternative technique for creating the design is to duplicate stitch this design onto the hat after knitting.

Stitches used include knit, purl, k2tog and the M1 increase. This pattern is suitable for the intermediate knitter.

Size and finished measurements
Preemie (Newborn, 6M Baby, 12M Baby, Toddler) {Child, S, M, L} with resulting circumference of approx. 30 (37, 40.5, 44.5, 48.5) {51.5, 54, 55, 59} cm (11 ¾ (14 ½, 16, 17 ½, 19) {20 ¼, 21 ¼, 21 ¾, 23 ¼} inch) in the body of the hat.

When choosing your hat size, take 2.5-5 cm (1-2 inch) of negative ease into account.

Pattern details

    • Gauge: 22 sts / 24 rounds = 10 cm (4 inch) over stranded stockinette on larger needles.
    • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie).
    • Digital PDF has 4 pages (letter size).

Materials

    • Yarn: GGH Maxima [100% merino wool; 111 m (121 yds) / 50 g] in 2 colors:
      MC: 29 (49, 59, 68, 76) {93, 111, 121, 140) m (32 (54, 64, 75, 82) {102, 121, 131, 152} yds)
      CC: 40 (47, 47, 49, 49) {51, 60, 60, 62} m (44 (51, 51, 53, 53) {56, 65, 65, 68} yds)
      Substitute any DK weight yarn for a similar result.
    • Knitting needles in your preferred style for small circumference knitting in the round in the following sizes (or to match gauge): Size 3.5 mm (US #4) and size 4 mm (US #6)
    • Yarn needle
    • 7 stitch markers
    • 1 differently colored end-of-round stitch marker
11 Dec

robijn in ‘handwerken zonder grenzen’

Robijn by La Visch Designs

The Robijn lacy wrap is designed to give an extra bit of glamour to your outfit. Great for that special night out! Robijn can be made as a scarf or stole. The width and length are easily adjusted for further customization. This design is suitable for any drapey lace-weight or fingering-weight yarn.

 

Cover of Handwerken Zonder Grenzen 198

I’m proud to tell you, that this design has been published in issue 198 of the Dutch magazine Handwerken Zonder Grenzen! You can order this issue in Dutch here.

This pattern is also available in both English and Dutch through La Visch Designs!

Robijn - a design by La Visch Designs