Monday, June 12, 2006

Lots of dyeing

Now that I finally found my camera cord, I can share a few more goodies. Look what I got in the mail! Six weeks ago I signed up for Dye-O-Rama, a swap where everyone exchanges hand dyed yarn. I signed up for this in the middle of selling my house and packing because I am certifiably insane, but that should be abundantly clear by now. Anyway, the lovely Kate of k8knits sent this amazing package that you see to the left. Not one but two skeins of the most gorgeous colorways and a skein of the softest handspun I have ever come across. I kept holding it up to my cheek and petting it. Seriously.

The moment I saw the handspun, I knew exactly what to do with it. A friend of mine is going through chemo and had lamented the lousy choice in hats, and this happened to be exactly her colors. I started knitting once I rummaged through boxes and found my Denise needles, but soon found that there just wasn't enough for a full hat. No problem - this was a great excuse to go to my first Portland yarn store! After a quick check with Google, I drove off to Abundant Yarn in search of something with similar tones, something hopefully just as soft. I found many yarns that matched well, but nothing came close to the feel of this handspun. Finally, I spied some Jo Sharp Silkroad, gave it a feel, and smiled. Silk and cashmere would be just perfect, and the color worked wonderfully. Made up a roomy hat (she likes larger hats) with a rolled brim and gave it to her yesterday. She told me it feels like a "head hug" :-).

Today was the last day to send off dyed yarn, so last night I found my dye and yarn, waited until the boys were asleep, then laid everything out. I mixed colors (a Frankenstein mix of Rit dyes in brown and black, Dudley Easter egg colors in blue, orange, green and yellow, and KoolAid mix in blue) until everything looked about what I wanted, then tested what they'd look like by dipping bits of paper towel in each cup and laying that down in front of the cup (the colors were so dark, it was hard to tell them apart otherwise as well). The Dudley colors were very, very bright and vibrant, and I wanted muted and deep, so I added brown and black until they looked more sedate. Then I started painting the soaked yarn, bit by bit. Then I wrapped the yarn in plastic wrap, coiled it up, and set it onto a steamer rack in a large canning pot. The yarn steamed merrily for half an hour, then cooled with the lid on until it was just barely warm. I rinsed the yarn carefully, then laid it out on a rack in our dryer and set it to air dry with a bit of warm air to help things along. Took over an hour, but it finally dried properly. I was really happy with the end result. The yarn - Wool2Dye4 Supersock - really opened up and did beautiful things once dyed. I'm completely hooked - yarn dying is soooo much fun!

Then I skeined it up by hand. Took a long, long time to wind the yarn around the top of a box. Must. Get. Swift. My skein wasn't quite as tidy or pretty as many I've seen, but it didn't come out too badly. I tiptoed out across the wet grass to take a picture, since the colors went so nicely with the little tree out off the patio in our new house. Any excuse to walk outside in my very own back yard :-) Took a close up as well, just because. I love this colorway. Hope my dye pal likes it, too!