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What’s so faux about this painted yarn?

I didn’t use paint! Nope. What did I use?

Permanent markers!

On a recent episode of The Martha Stewart Show she made a “tie-dye” t-shirt with a technique using Sharpie Markers and rubbing alcohol (see it here). My creativity lightbulb went off! “Can I do that on yarn?” The answer is YES!

I have Bic brand permanent markers instead of Sharpie, but they worked just fine. When I finished the yarn, the colors I chose looked so good together. Then I realized I used a Bic Color Collection set of markers. They were made to go together! There was no way I could mess up the color combinations.

So, following Martha’s directions, with slight variations, I made my first “painted” warp.

Wrap a piece of cardboard parchment paper. I wrapped one of my 2 year old’s books like a present (it was the perfect size and no harm came to it!), waxy side out. I did also slip a piece of paper towel under the yarn, to absorb any excess color. Heaven for bid, Eric Carle’s “From Head to Toe” be ruined! Doesn’t the paper towel look pretty too?

Wrap white 10/2 perle cotton around the covered book as many time as necessary to get the length of yarn you want. I wrapped about 35 times.

Start coloring! Color in 1″ – 2″ sections with slight gaps of white showing between each color. Stop after every few colors and add a few drops of alcohol at the edges of the colors. I found the colors blended better when the ink was still wet. Tip: I didn’t have an eyedropper, but a cotton swab dipped in the alcohol and dabbed on the yarn worked just fine.

Unwrap the yarn and let it dry after you’ve finished having fun coloring, and it is will be fun. (Your fingers might get a little stained at this part.)

Put the yarn in a small bowl filled with white vinegar to set the color. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, rinse, put it in a small bowl with clean water (no soap) and let it sit for 10 more minutes, rinse. (You may want to repeat the rinsing process until the water in the bowl is clear. Although, I did not because I was too impatient to see the end results.)

Remove the excess water by rolling the yarn in paper towel.

Heat set it. I threw my yarn in the dryer in a lingere bag, but you could use an iron on a work surface that you don’t mind getting a little ink on, like an old towel or sheet.

Once it was heat set, I only noticed a small amount of color on my fingers, but I think that is because I used red. You know how red is! And, I only rinsed it in water once.

So there you have it; a faux “painted warp”. It will be fun to weave something with it! What do you think? If you give it a try, please do let me know how it turns out.

warp, weave, be happy! ~Jennifer