Yarn, Colors, and Friends

This past Saturday I went to my first ever yarn dyeing class.  I have been itching (not dying, avoiding bad puns here) to do this for a long time.  In the last few months as a part of my knitty, fiber-loving journey I decided that this was the next stop.  As I watched podcasts and explored the many and wonderful online shops that sell hand-dyed yarn and saw all the amazing colorways and creative and intriguing names I knew that this was something I wanted to do.

My lovely pussy-hat wearing and proofreading friend Jen knew Sonya, owner of City Stitch Yarn Shoppe  who teaches a variety of classes and she arranged one to teach us how to dye.  Jen and I were joined by our friend Maggie Orr.  Maggie is a designer on Ravelry with numerous beautiful patterns both free and paid.  You can find her patterns on her Maggie Menzel page.

The day of the class was beautiful day and only a 30 minute drive to the location (music blasting).  Sonia, our teacher, was the ideal instructor, full of experience, sound information, and with a personality that kept things both calm and fun.

While the skeins of undyed yarn (100% Merino) were soaking in hot water on the stove to prep them for taking dye, we chose our colors.  Since we were working as a group we had to agree on 5 colors between us.  We settled on Gunmetal Grey, Teal, Orange, Purple, and Dark Blue.

Sonia had set up a screen laying over plastic containers for each of us.  When the skeins were ready each of us laid ours in a long oval donut on the screen just over the containers. We needed to work while the yarn was still hot so each of us began selecting the colors which were in squirt bottles, like the ketchup bottles you would see at a diner, and began applying the colors.  We would apply a color here or there, another color, step back and contemplate the look and then chose which color was needed next.  Once we were satisfied with the look, we carefully flipped the skein over and repeated the process on the other side.   We checked for sections that had not been reached by the dye and “filled in the blanks” with more color.

Once we were happy with our products we carefully squeezed the yarn with our fingers to help lightly blend colors that were adjacent to each other.

The next step took us to the sink to rinse our yarn with hot water until it ran clear.

Then Sonia said, “This is the part where the neighbors look at you funny”.  We all trooped outside and, right on a busy street, swung our brilliant lassos of yarn to spin out as much of the moisture as possible.

Jen, who lives near the shop, offered to take them all home to hang and dry and bring them back to the shop for skeining before Wednesday Knit Night.

We were all so excited to begin dyeing that none of us thought to take pictures of the class.  But we did capture the end results.

Here is a pic of mine in the drying stage:

handdyed

Now keeping in mind that, while we each chose different colors to work with, we were still drawing from the same pool of 5 colors.  Here are each of our works in the skein:

3skeinsI love how the very different results show the creativity and personality of each one of us.  So amazing the endless variety and artistry that each of us can create.

We, of course, had a great time selecting fitting names for our colorways. The top skein is my “Galaxy Dust” since it has a darker tone but with pops of color.  The middle skein is Maggie’s, it hinted at a green pool inhabited by goldfish.  This became “Koi Dreaming”.  Jen’s with its deep blues, greens,  and grays made us think of the colors of the deep ocean.  So it was christened “Mariana Trench”.

After bringing it home I caked it up and then knit up a small swatch to see how the colorway knit up.  This was my result:

cake

This lighting is not ideal, but I can say I’m really pleased with how this is working up.  It is a fingering weight yarn, but has no nylon, so I will not be making socks with this one.  I’m considering a Space-themed shawl to touch on both the name of this colorway as well as my recent shawl knitting streak.  But I’m going to sit and admire it for a while before deciding just what it should become.

I’m really looking forward to digging deeper into the art of yarn dyeing and exploring the variety of colorways that can be created.  To that end I’ve purchased :dyeingbook

I can’t wait to read, learn and experiment.  Soon I expect to see strands of color hanging from my back porch as they dry.  Oh, the joy.

In other News:

For those of you who enjoyed Yarn, Spring, and All Good Things and are wondering how our chicks are doing.  I am happy to report that they all seem to be thriving.  They have graduated from brooder to coop but have not yet made their first foray outside.  I check on them regularly and while I hope they will become more accustomed to my presence, right now I am still a big, scary monster, it seems.

Things are greening up around the homestead and I’ve been doing a roll call of herbs to see what has come back this year. So far Oregano, Thyme, Lemon Balm, and Mint have shown themselves.  I’m considering what will be revived or added to the herb garden.  Today I potted Basil, Cilantro, and sowed some German Chamomile for tea.  There will definitely be other additions, but I am still choosing just what those will be.

Since I’m still reveling in the joy of the creative process my wish for you is that you will thoroughly enjoy whatever creative outlet you claim as your own.

Peace,

Jamye

 

 

Yarn, Spring, and All Good Things

Any day yarn arrives in the mail is a good day.darngood

Any day baby chicks come home with you for your first flock is a good day.

chicks

Any day you can spend time with two of the cutest boys on the planet is a good day.

cute

I have had a seriously, extravagantly, perhaps unfairly good day.

Forgive me for reveling, but everyone deserves a day like that from time to time.  I’m grateful for the ones that come my way. Continue reading “Yarn, Spring, and All Good Things”

One for the Road

I’m not that monogamous.  But only when it comes to books and knitting, my husband doesn’t have a thing to worry about.couple

Many knitters refer to themselves as being Monogamous–sticking to one project until its completion or

NOT Monogamous–having a variety of project on the needles at the same time.

I fall firmly in the second camp when it comes to this. Continue reading “One for the Road”

Comfort Food or Comfort Yarn?

Do you think you can jinx yourself?  Is it really a bad idea to say something like, “Wow, I’ve had a really good week so far”?  Will disaster inevitably ensue?disaster

Once, when I worked in a hospital, I commented, “It’s pretty quiet tonight” One of the nurses glared at me and joking/not joking said, “You better knock on wood!!”.

Where is this going?  Couple things:

1) I keep a running list of blog ideas in a notebook for future use. One of them was the concept of comfort yarn instead of comfort food.

2) Recently I was thinking how healthy I’ve been and that I didn’t remember the last time I had been sick. Soooooooo, guess who got sick this week?  Sigh.

I felt it coming on Thursday night.  “Take extra Vitamin C”, I said.  “Get some extra sleep”, I said.  “You’ll be fine”, I said.  Yeah.  Didn’t exactly work out like that. Continue reading “Comfort Food or Comfort Yarn?”

Yarn Buying: Bloodsport

 

oldlady
You look cold!

Say the word “knitting ” and many people immediately conjure up the image of a sweet little grandmother contentedly creating hats, gloves, scarves and socks to the rhythm of her rocking chair.  No one within her family will be cold and likely, few people within a 2 mile radius of her house will be either.

However, most people who knit AND spend anytime online see the rising resurgence of knitting as a passion. Continue reading “Yarn Buying: Bloodsport”

For the Journey

 

Toward the end of every year I genuinely look forward to writing up a list of New Year’s Resolutions.  I’m odd like that. I’m ok with being odd like that.  I think I enjoy it for a couple of reasons:

1) I LOVE learning new things. There is always some new art or skill I want to learn and the list is a promise to myself that this year I will be learning something that I have been itching to try.

2) Also, my resolutions list has a bucket list quality to it, since I include things like the tattoo that I want to add or the trip I want to take. Again, something I really want to do.  So, even though my list may or may not include the ever-present “lose 10 pounds” or “organize the garage” they are deposited in with a plethora of things that delight my soul so they don’t seem as daunting or dreadful. Continue reading “For the Journey”

Doing the Continental

Although Fred and Ginger pull it off beautifully:

But my fellow knitters are aware that what I mean  is Continental style knitting.  I have always knit English style or “throwing” as it is called, in which the yarn is wrapped or “thrown” around the needle before pulling it through to the front.  In Continental style the needle goes through and “picks” the yarn from the other side to bring it forward.  It sounds like a small variation, but there is a decided difference in speed and form. Continue reading “Doing the Continental”