Last week I got to learn about something new to me. Maria (the same Maria that is quilting her way through Living Large 2 and if you follow this blog, you have seen my links to her projects) had taken a class on it and passed that knowledge onto me.
When she offered to teach me, I immediately went to Ravelry to pick out all the sweaters that I wanted to knit this winter. I narrowed it down to two or three that I thought would look good with hand-dyed yarn. Maria said it didn’t take very long, so I figured I needed to be prepared with several projects. I also thought, because I knit sweaters, that I should be dying sweater quantities of yarn. I suppose that is a little like thinking that your very first quilt should be a queen size. Anyone else done anything like that?
Needless to say, Maria started me out with a few practice skeins. We soaked the skeins in water, while we thought about what colors we wanted to use. There are ten base colors that are mixed to form any number of colors. I thought it was really interesting to see what happened when different colors were mixed . . .
The color is then poured over the yarn, which is wrapped in Saran wrap.
Then it is put in a microwave and steamed.
After the yarn is cooled, then it was rinsed and hung out to dry. I found the drying process to be really long. The dry yarn looks nothing like the yarn when it is wet, so you really have no idea what color it will turn out. I was rather impatient about seeing what colors I would get.
I went for subtle color variations,
while Maria went for more pop. She was a little braver than I was, though she has done this a few more times than I have! I was actually nervous during the process. I began to rethink my yarn-dying ambitions and decided that I didn’t want to risk ruining a large quantity of yarn. I also realized why hand-dyed yarn is so expensive – this was more time-consuming than I thought!
Maria suggested that I over-dye some stash yarn that I no longer liked. That way, if I ruined it, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. I chose this ugly yellow-green yarn – and though I had enough for a sweater – I didn’t think I would use it as is.
I ended up with this. As soon as it was dry, I had to swatch it up so see how it looked. Much better I think!
My other skeins turned out like this ~
Now I just have to decide what to make with my goods from the day. It was an interesting process, but I don’t think I will be giving up quilting for yarn-dying any time soon! I will post pictures of how the finished projects done . . . someday . . . when I get them done.