It’s not until I start dyeing yarn again that I remember how much I love it. Dyeing yarn is both thrilling and relaxing all at once. It’s a wonderful feeling to be lost in time, watching magic happen right in front of your eyes.

Getting everything ready takes a while, I spend ages tying my skeins a bunch of times so they don’t get tangled, soak my wool (or not, depending on what I’m doing), warm the water, plan colours and mix dye.

Finally, when you’re ready, things start to happen quickly and the real fun starts as yarn is dipped in colour and the colour starts to ooze into the wool.

I still think of myself as a novice dyer. An “experimental” dyer. I wonder if that feeling ever goes away. No matter how much I plan to make a particular colour, I’m never sure how it’s going to turn out. Fortunately so far, my experiments have all had happy endings. Mind you, dyeing might be a bit like having babies – you’re totally smitten with your wee bundle no matter what!

This week I’ve managed to dye two lots of wool for sweaters for me. They’re both aran weight and there was rather a lot of wool to squeeze into my dye pot.

I’m going to knit Alicia Plummer’s In Stillness sweater with the tawny-grey colourway. It’s a reasonably simple garment and I think it’ll be able to tolerate a small degree of variegated yarn. I was shooting for a beige-lilac but as I started to get colour onto the yarn I decided I wanted grey undertones rather than yellow, so took a slightly different direction and added a grey wash to get an ashy, neutral look.

At first I wasn’t sure it had worked. The darker grey’s are quite different to the copper tones and I worried it would look odd knitted up. But, as it dried it mellowed and lightened and I started to absolutely love it. I’m still to knit it up but it’s rolled into a beautiful ball, the colours seem to be fairly evenly dispersed through the yarn and I can’t wait to get it on the needles …

The second batch I dyed had me scared silly.

The yarn is absolutely gorgeous, fresh from the sheep, Black Hills aran yarn. It’s springy and rustic and I was so nervous to add colour to it. Plus, I felt a bit guilty. It was such a great cream colour. 

But, I can’t wear a cream sweater with (or even without) small children around so I resolved to do my best and decided to keep it simple. Just two tones of blue – a teal and an inky blue. I’m casting on Shannon Cook’s Antrorse sweater and with the textured detail down the front and around the yoke I decided I needed a gently tonal yarn. 

Won’t this blue be lovely? It’s rich and warm. I’m picturing it with my dark indigo jeans and my long brown boots – finished off with a beautiful shawl thrown around my neck and a cute hat pulled down over my ears. Ooh I can’t wait! 

I’ve got one more batch to go. I’ve bought some undyed Polwarth yarn for my dautghter and it is deliciously soft. She’s requested “purply-pink” and chose this pinky sample for me to aim for.

Wish me luck!

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