avocado dyed necklace. (a tutorial)

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This is the story of both how I made a really sweet necklace and of a pretty phenomenal donut that I ate while doing it. The necklace was a last minute Christmas present that I made for my 18 month old daughter Faye and the donut was a pistachio and meyer lemon delight from Chicago’s own donut kings, Do-Rite Donuts, that I happened to grab the morning that I shot this tutorial. It is a love story on both accounts.

For complete instructions on making your own necklace scroll down past the photos! Dyeing instructions come first, then more photos, then necklace making instructions, and then still more photos. Sorry, no instructions could be given for finding, making or enjoying your own donut. This was a gift from the universe and I trust that the universe will bring you your own tasty treat to enjoy it as your heart dictates. 


Gathering your supplies…

For materials, you will need…

  • 5 yards of plain, undyed cotton yarn or twine (preferably unbleached although the one I used was just a cone of cheap, cotton all-purpose twine that was definitely bleached and the color from the avocado still came through nicely)
  • the skins and pits from two avocados, cleaned.
  • a ph neutral dish detergent (I use Ecover)
  • all-purpose sewing thread in a color that matches your dyed yarn
  • 6-8 little bells or small wood beads
  • Optional: this recipe for wood polish that I love from Crunchybetty.com

For tools…

  • a small pot (should be one you don’t plan to use for cooking, I picked mine up at a thrift shop for a few dollars)
  • a thermometer
  • a spoon or tongs (also should not be something you plan to cook with again)
  • a cup measure
  • a medium sized bowl (ideally also not one used for food)
  • rubber gloves (You will notice that I neglected to wear mine for these photos. Hard to work a camera in wet rubber gloves. But you should wear yours!)
  •  a crochet hook (mine was a size L but use whatever size gives you a nice looking chain stitch with your yarn)
  • a sewing needle

You will also need…

  • a good, hot mug of coffee/tea or a glass of wine
  • a tasty snack
  • a few hours of time all to yourself to do your dyeing and an hour or so to make up the necklace

Let’s get started…

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Dyeing the yarn…

Start by washing your yarn: Pop your yarn into a bowl of warm water with a drop of mild laundry detergent or ph neutral dish soap. Swish it around and let it soak a bit before rinsing it thoroughly. This helps remove any residue left over from the manufacturing process.

Next, prep your dye bath: Make sure your avocado pits and skins are nice and clean then put them into your pot along with 4 cups of water. Bring the water temperature up to 180 degrees and hold it there, using your thermometer to monitor the pot every few minutes, for one hour. After which you can remove and discard your avocado parts.

Once your bath is ready: (rubber gloves on for this part!) Run some hot water from the sink into your bowl and submerge your yarn for a few minutes, stirring it around to get it completely saturated. After 2-3 minutes, move your yarn from the water to the dye pot. Discard the water.

Submerge the yarn in the dye bath keeping the temperature in the pot steady at 180 degrees. Stir the yarn gently every few minutes until it reaches the color depth that you want, keeping in mind that the shade you see on the wet fiber will appear much lighter once it dries. When the color is right, carefully transfer your yarn back to the empty bowl and rinse it under warm water in the sink. (Alternately, you can turn off the heat under the dye pot and let the bath cool before removing the yarn. This will deepen and help lock in your color.) Let the bowl fill up and add a drop of your ph neutral dish washing liquid, agitating your fiber under the water to release any extra dye. Rinse the yarn until the soap is gone and the water runs clear. Hang the yarn to dry or lay it out on an old towel. Yay! You’re done with this part! Now try to resist the urge to start dyeing everything lovely shades of pink.

On to phase two…

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Making your necklace…

  1. Make a slip knot around your crochet hook and work in chain stitch until your necklace measures 36″ or however long you want it to be. Tie the ends together. Here is an awesomely clear tutorial on this simple process from Anniescatalog.com.
  2. If you are using unfinished wood beads and want to spruce them up a bit rub each bead with a tiny bit of natural wood polish. Like this one from Crunchybetty.com. I scent mine with vanilla and cedarwood essential oils. It smells so good I just want to polish everything!
  3. Using a needle and thread sew your bells or beads onto the chain in whatever arrangement pleases you.
  4. There is no step four. You’re done already. Enjoy!

(I originally made Faye one with bells and myself one with beads but she prefers the bead version now that the holidays are over and not everything has a jingle bell on it. She also likes wearing the version that I accidentally made too short. One can never have enough accessories, or so she tells me.)

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xo, e.

 

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