4. Learn to dye.
This weekend I took a self-striping sock yarn dying class at my friend's shop, Yarns Forever. Well, really at her home dying studio in her basement. It was so nice of her to have us to her house, so we wouldn't make such a mess in the shop! We had such a wonderful time. Here are some pictures. Please forgive me as they are quite horrible. I forgot my camera at home, and had to take pictures on my cell phone camera. Thank goodness for technology! We did take pics on my friend's camera, but I can't seem to access her flickr for the last few days.
We tried several different methods of measuring out the 2 yards needed for self-striping sock yarn. I did the wooden peg board method, there was also the swift method, and pictured below is the chair/doornob method. :)
Here is a picture of my sock yarn soaking in a water, vinegar and soap solution before we will begin dying it.
Here is a picture of the dye choices we had. We had ten colors to choose from.
My friend is demonstrating how to mix dye solutions. She uses the Country Classic dyes.
Here are my color choices: tomato, slate blue, cornflower blue and evergreen.
Here is a picture of my handpainting in progress. You can see that I have already applied tomato and some slate blue. The tomato may appear to get more pink. That is because there was some confusion about what dye color I had picked out. This is an important lesson for anyone who wants to dye. What the dye color looks like before it is processed with heat may look very different from the final color after processing. Everyone was remarking that the tomato was actually pink and that we took from the wrong color jar. So I ended up getting pink to finish up the tomato section. We figured out that we were right all along once we started applying the pink dye because it looked different once it was applied to the yarn. The mistake is fine with me because the two of us who did this blended the pink back into the tomato and it looks quite pretty. I also learned how to better manage the application of the color such that you do not waste color (and see it run down the drain when you wash the skeins after processing).
Here is the "cooking" of the skein in a steam bath. We steamed it for 30 minutes while we ate lunch from Frodo's Pizza (yum yum!).
Here is my finished colorway, after processing and a quickie cooling in an ice bath.
Here is a class picture of our final work. Ignore our icky hair and fashion choices. It is best to dress shabbily while dying. You do NOT want to dye your good clothes! Everyone did such beautiful colors.
Since I had to run some errands on the way home, some of the pink/red stained the slate blue sections of the yarn. This is because the skein was still wet and I believe the pink/red had excess dye in the yarn. It is alright, cause it still looks cool to me. Below is my final ball of yarn. It is kind of messy, as I had to wind it by hand since it was a bit tangled. It is very important to consistently wind the yarn on the peg boards, to get less crisscrossing/tangling in your yarn.
I call this colorway "Dark Opal" because it reminds me of the fire in my dark opal jewelry that I bought in New Zealand. The colors turn out paler and less intense in these pictures then they are in person.
If any of my blogland friends and readers out there have suggestions on favorite dyes, favorite natural yarn sources, and any other dying advice, please share! I would love to dye some more sock yarn for my friends. I would especially love any recommendations as to undyed yarn that is a beautiful merino sock yarn, like KPPM or Socks that Rock. I just love merino like crazy.
In other great news, my mom was able to buy some Alaskan Alpaca Yarn from one of her coworkers. She has a coworker who raises aplaca back home in Alaska. My mom bought the yarn for such a steal that I can't publish the price because my mom's other coworkers might find out. But since my mom showed early interest and committed to buying early, she got a bargain. My mom bought it in four colors: brown, grey, cream and beige. Now I will have to knit her a scarf and my dad a hat with two of the colors. She has even already claimed the brown color(boohoo! my favorite), but I don't mind. I am just excited that she bought it for us and that she will be able to wear such an exotic fiber, because it only has a little wool in it. My mom has allergies to wool that is not highly processed. And there is nothing better than supporting a small local farmer! My mom says she is another good Pennsylvania girl like herself!
Still waiting for my Socks that Rock kit. And my February sock exchange kit. I hope something comes today. That would be awesome.