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Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Lesson in Dyeing

I just got home from a tour of the Lorna's Laces studio which is just a few minutes from my house. (Yes, there were bargain basement-priced acquisitions!) It was very interesting to learn a little bit about Beth's approach and technique in comparison to what I learned from Tina at Sock Camp. There were a lot of differences, actually. Vinegar or no vinegar. Dish soap or no dish soap. Pre-soak or not.

The more I learn about dyeing from what I've been reading, seeing, and through first-hand experimentation, the more I realize that, aside from a few important details like making sure the dye is set by heating to a proper temperature for an appropriate amount of time, the rest is open to interpretation. Different things are going to work for different dyers and different yarn bases. There is a bit of magic involved, however. (Some may call it chemistry, but I prefer magic.)

I've been dyeing down in the craft dungeon for a while, and some good things have come out of the dyepot. There was the recent success I had by overdyeing Blue Moon Twisted in Falcon's Eye using various blues, greens, gray, and purple:

The other day, I decided I wanted to make the Bzzz Hat for Queen of Bees. After searching for the right colorway, I decided to make my own using some natural Malabrigo-like yarn I had stashed. I used two different golden-y yellow dye solutions to get this result, which I have named Honey Butter:

I'm on a bit of a tear at the moment, and I have a wildly unrealistic list of projects I'd like to accomplish. There are a bunch of warm weather items that I'd like to make before the snows set in again. This week I cast on my friend Bonne Marie's Chickami pattern. It would be finished if I hadn't done something so entirely stupid, not once, but twice. I missed a paragraph and leaped ahead in the pattern. Each time I made a different error because I skipped a different paragraph. Ugh. I'm using Cotton Fleece (which I had planned to use for a number of summer projects), and I am realizing that it is contributing to some pain in my right elbow and hand. Looks like I am going to have to alternate projects with some bouncier fibers. It's a good thing that my list of service projects, most of which will be wool, is as long as my list of personal projects, so I'll be able to switch back and forth.


cupcakefaerie said...

Such a beautiful yellow. Can't wait to see what other dyed beauties come out of the craft dungeon.

carey said...

wow!! i'm so jealous....Lorna's Laces must have been awesome! i can't wait to see the finished hat!

Bubbie Liz said...

Back to the charity knitting project idea, as my sister has just requested a brand new one, very close to home! She works at Illinois Masonic Hospital and they are in the process of setting up a hospice "care cart" with items to give to the patients in hospice care. First on the wish-list: lap blankets that can be given away to these patients. I'm going to suggest this to my LYS group at Close Knit in Evanston, and hope it spreads to other groups in the city.
PS Your dyeing is getting better and better and better!!

Linda said...

Some gorgeous colors are coming out of your craft dungeon! The yellow is fabulous.