Thursday, May 8, 2008

Retreat Adventures continued...Dyeing to get at it!

Saturday morning proved to be a bit overcast, much cooler than our arrival, but heading full blast into color as we began our dyeing day with Rita! She gave us a little overview, reminding us to be safe and careful, some general inspirational tips and books to look over. This is when the various types of learning styles become apparent. The listen, or read and analyze folks began to do just that. The less patient, jump in and try it types did just that! Me...well, I had done some dyeing before, so I wanted to start right away.

Rita had pre-knit some blanks for us on her knitting machine, so that we could dye in a different way. This was great, since it was my first blog experiment, I had a chance to try again with more vivid color! I had brought my own pale green silk and wool blend lace weight that I had pre-knit just for this purpose. Boy, how I love getting clearance prices on a less desirable color...what a great opportunity for over dyeing and twice the fun since it will have a second life in my knitting! I love that.

Much of the yarn that we dyed was sock yarn. This is a great way to experiment with patterns and colorways. Not only is it a manageable amount of yarn to work with, but it can easily be used almost regardless of color choices or experimental methods. It is so interesting to me, seeing the choices and varieties that are used when a huge array of colors are available. Some people gravitate to their favorite colors and combinations and others are like kids in the candy shop grabbing up everything that looks exciting. I tend to choose a color that grabs me and become inspired by adding bits of other colors for new combinations as I go.

Looking at the drying rack gave us inspiration for future projects and insight into what variety was available. I am guilty of finding that one skein of yarn that has fabulous colors and feels great, but may not be ideal for my project. The colors may pool, based on the repeats, or may even muddy out of the picture when combined in small knit stitches. I am not saying that all yarn should have a purpose before it is dyed, but it helps to try a good variety to understand what the options will be. Some of my less dramatic colorways seemed a bit wimpy on the rack next to the wonderful peacocks that surrounded them. But when I got them alone and twisted them or held them open, I could see new potential for the closer or further repeats or the skein that was neutral with a couple of surprises dotted into them. I am anxious to see who they grow up to be once on my needles.

There are so many things to consider when dyeing yarn. The project, the colors and the combinations are just a few. But it is not necessary to get caught up in this all of the time. Sometimes the sheer pleasure of experimenting will produce an outcome that you could have never planned. Nor may you always repeat, if you are like me and react to color and just keep painting or over-dyeing until it looks right and neglect to keep notes! I leave that organization up to the professionals who need to repeat their results.


Rita Petteys said...

Linda - I love this blog post and your perspective about the process, the class, and the end results. Thank you so much for your blog and your previous feedback! I love the pictures!

Harriet said...

Your yarn looks lovely! It was a really good time with spectacular results, if I do say so myself.

Kim said...

I don't think I remember seeing the yarn in the first picture. It is gorgeous! Great Job!