It was a warmish day today with no wind. A perfect day for dyeing yarns. We've put in some lace and fingering weights this year, hoping to move past the current fascination with bulky and chunky yarns. Alpaca and mohair are such dense fibers and are sufficiently expensive that a bulky weight is overkill--like a bulky silk or bulky weight cashmere. We're hoping that knitters will put a strand of our light and vividly colored yarn with their neutral wools and cottons.
We started with our favorites--hand paints. Our challenges this year are to be more organized and specific about how we produce a color combination so we can reproduce it, and to give names to our colorways. (I had to find out what colorway means on Yarnplayer's blog to be able to use that word...I feel kind of smart for using it now.)
In progress is the combo that we're calling "Thistle". It echoes the colors of the Canadian thistles that infest our fields and ditch banks. It's a hideous weed with spikes and stickers, but it's a very pretty weed when in bloom, just before I spray it and kill it with 2-4-D. It's shown hanging to dry alongside some solid colored lilac yarn.
My daughter put together some nice combinations as well, using pinks and raspberry colors along with some yellow and orange here and there. We've named one "Autumn Sunset" and the other "Passion Punch", named after her favorite flavor of sherbet. She made it by splattering the yarn with color. She also splattered the walls, curtains and floor in my wool barn, so "Passion Punch" will be with us for a long, long time.
We also did some solids we named "Bubble Gum" and "Red Hot". My sister Cookie, painted one that we're calling "Tutti Fruitti" by splattering red, orange and teal on white yarn in quite a controlled fashion and completely avoiding the walls. We thought we may have to overdye the batch because it looked a little odd, but after steaming, it turned out really good. We have another day planned tomorrow to work on greens and blues.
I read in a magazine about using a knitting machine to quickly knit a "blank" of undyed yarn and then hand paint it to create a non-repeating yarn. I tried that for the first time last year and liked the results, but I used one color that didn't mesh with the rest of the color progression. I tried a small sample again today and I'm excited to do more. I used a white yarn and progressively dyed from red to orange to yellow. Because the yarn is already knitted, when it's dry, I'll unravel it, skein it and it will be fabulous as a non-repeater against a black or perhaps brown background. The color blocks will be yards long, rather than inches or feet long. I'd like to do some autumn colors this way and knit some garments with leaf patterns and perhaps some twining cables to imitate the fall foliage. Muted greens, oranges, yellows, browns and reds...I'm actually salivating.
The wind has come up since we came in and it's getting cold quickly. We'll see how we fare tomorrow. After I post good pictures of dye lots I'll need loads of help putting names with them.
Just a quick shot at the very end of our little helpers. Mr. Alf, the guard cat turned nurse maid, was looking after the little ones this afternoon. Cheeseman was kicked out of the barn for disturbing the peace. "Passion Punch" footprints tell the tale.