Recently several customers have asked how to handle various situations with yarns–with topics ranging from yarn care to knitting questions. One of The Fibre Studio employees suggested this would be a great blog post because the answers may be apropos to other customers or fiber artists. Hence, Unraveled: Fiber Q&A–a blog series dedicated to unraveling some of the mysteries and challenges faced by our customers and readers–was born. We hope these topics prove useful on your fiber journey.
Question 1: When knitting or crocheting a natural, undyed, or light-colored yarn with a brightly-hued yarn, how do I keep the darker yarn color from bleeding into the lighter yarn?
Answer 1: Colorfastness is the term used in the dyeing of textile materials, meaning resistance of the material’s color to fading or running. Bleeding is usually caused when the yarn color was not set during the dyeing process. Many dyers–not The Fibre Studio, of course–save a bit of processing time by not setting the yarn and waiting for the soaking tub to run completely clear before beginning the drying and skeining process.
If you have experienced this with a manufacturer and you have more of their yarn, you can set the yarn (animal fibers and acid dyes) yourself by soaking the skein in a plastic, glass, or other non-reactive container with water and vinegar (1 gallon water to 1/3 cup vinegar ratio is about right) for 20-30 minutes. Remove the yarn, rinse out this solution, and if the water runs clear, the color is set. Of course, this is extra work and customers should NOT have to do this. However, it is worth the extra work to not have your hands, needles, project, and clothing ruined by a yarn whose colorfastness was not ensured in process. Plant fibers dyed with natural or sodium-based yarns must be set a different
Question 2: When I knit a bouclé, the pretty loops are flattened and aren’t as noticeable as they were in the shop sample I saw. Why?
Answer 2: By definition, the act of creating a knit stitch is creating a smooth flat stitch. These stitches are soft to the touch and allow integrated pattern to be easily seen. If your goal is the opposite–you want fluffy, bumpy stitches–simply purl the bouclé on the right side/pattern rows. Don’t knit. The yarn’s loops and bumps just jump out at you and make your yarn and pattern detail pop!
Until next time, peaceful stitching, y’all!