I had a little “dye-up” over the weekend. Hit by a sudden urge to make some colour I grabbed my remaining undyed yarn or in one case, blah, pale coloured yarn and heated up my pots.
Still fairly haphazard in my approach, arriving at these colourways took a fair bit of playing around. In fact, I really didn’t have a plan at all when I started and I wrote absolutely nothing down (it never actually crossed my mind) so these are truly one-off’s never to be repeated.
I’m feeling quite split about me, precision and dyeing. I absolutely loved my very technical colour experiments and it’s useful to be able to eye them up and remind myself what proportions make certain colours but, a big part of what I love about dyeing is the unexpected and the freedom to just “make”. It might be nice to be able to repeat colourways again if I fall in love with them but then again, I kind of like that I can’t. It makes me happy that each one is unique and I love the idea of approaching my dye pots with a completely clean slate each time.
These skeins were first out of the pot. Starting life as a fairly bland light brown onion colour they took a fair bit of messing about to end up these rather delicious rich rhurbarb shades of red and olive.
In the process they taught me several things. Firstly, if you add colours willy-nilly you’ll eventually arrive at rust coloured yarn. Secondly, you can indeed start to felt yarn when you’re dyeing if you fiddle and squeeze it too much. This DK (organic) yarn is a bit stuffed cos it got a bit felted but I think it might be destined to be a little vest so hopefully it’ll not matter.
Faced with a pot of teal dye and not wanting to waste it I was struck with the idea of throwing a whole cake of yarn in just as it was. It so happened that a fat cake of chunky yarn was sitting by my side when I had that very thought, so in it went. Of course it wanted to float so I held it under the water with a heavy jar. After what seemed like forever (but was probably more like half an hour) I lifted it out. Sure enough, I’d achieved a gradient-like effect with the yarn slowly fading to white at the centre. It’s a bit blotchy all the way through so its not as smooth a gradient as it could be but it’s pretty fun.
I’m wondering what to knit with it? Maybe some sort of wrap. It looks to me like it wants to be angular with slip stitches …
Dyeing does seem to flow better the longer you spend doing it. At least, that’s how it is for me. This last skein dyed as if by magic. It’s about 50g of soft merino 4ply left over from knitting a baby cardigan at least 7 years ago, maybe 10. You can see the different effect dye has on superwash wool as opposed to the non-superwash wool in my first picture. The colours are much more vibrant and electric. This aspect of superwash wool has me in a bit of a pickle. I’d rather use non-superwash wool because it is less processed but I think doing so means I’d end up with more muted colourways. Lovely but not necessarily what I’m always after. I’m wondering whether a silk blend would offer some glossiness? Clearly I’ll have to experiment and see.
As to this colourway, at one point I found myself rubbing portions of it inside the empty yellow dye jar to get brilliant glimmers of gold. See, techniques like that don’t really lend themselves to being repeatable!
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