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Dye! Dye! April 11, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in dyeing, Etsy.
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Okso…I guess I should really get with the crafty pictures. I haven’t updated my crafty blog with anything decent in eons. (I mean, I guess I could cut myself some slack seeing as I have a newborn and all, but, well, you know how I am.)

First a couple of the yarn blanks I’ve bought have come in. I found these two skeins of Patons Kroy for a ridiculously good price on eBay so I sniped them. Even with the shipping they’re half of the retail cost. Sure, not sustainable as far as supply goes, but it’ll give me more to practice with.

Kroy Sock Yarn

Then there’s this. I had a moment of eBay Glassy-Eyed Stupidity when I came across this 3.25 pound cone of “sock yarn” that had only been bid up to $15. I sniped it right at the end and got it for $25, around $33 with shipping. It wasn’t until after I had won the auction that I noticed the one teensy sentence I missed: “Use 2 strands on the Knitting Machine.” It wasn’t the knitting machine bit, that’s fine, it’s the “use 2 strands” bit. Uh oh. THE CONE IS SINGLE PLY!

Giant Cone!

Giant Cone!

Ah, shit. I’m not sure what to do with it. It arrived yesterday and it’s not bad at all, not the softest (though I’m hoping it’ll soften if I wash it) and the single ply is durable so at least it’s not useless and falling apart. But, but! 15,600 yards of it! Fifteen thousand! Agh!

I talked to Joy about my conundrum and I’ve decided to do one of two things:

1. Measure it out in 400-yard increments and ply it on the spinning wheel, then dye two skeins at a time for sock-worthy yardage;

or

2. Dye it as-is and sell lace weight.

I’m not sure how I’m going to measure it out accurately as I have pretty primitive tools (such as an 18-inch long piece of cardboard I use to measure yards, heh). I was thinking I might wrap out a 100-yard skein and weigh it, then measure out larger skeins by weighing them on the ball winder spindle as I wind and ply from the ball. In any case I’m going to pull a bunch of 20-yard skeins off of it and see if I can ply them, then wash and dye those skeins to see how they come out. As Joy said, “If you try it out and don’t like it, you can always sell it.” Oh, yeah. She’s so s-m-r-t! In any case it wasn’t a huge investment so I’ll look at it as a good opportunity for learning.

Must. Learn. To. Read. Descriptions… The. Whole. Description.

The sun rose on Wednesday and this is what it looked like out my front door…

Yarn Drying

So far, so good, it’s now technically Friday and I’ve got Friday’s skein cooking in the dye pot. Here’s what I’ve accomplished thus far.

First I pulled out what I had left of my Bartlett Yarns (a Maine company) fisherman’s wool. It’s a great yarn, slightly rustic so it’s not as soft as merino, it still smells faintly sheepy and hasn’t been treated so it’s perfect for things like diaper soakers. Their skeins are also humongous, 210 yards worsted to heavy worsted weight. I really like this yarn, it would also be fantastic for winter stuff like hats and mittens.

Monday 4/7

Monday 4/7

Monday 4/7

You can see where I had an oopsie – it was tied too tightly and the dye didn’t penetrate. In subsequent skeins I untied the existing knots and loosely retied the skein with bits of acrylic yarn. Even though technically it’s a mistake I think it’ll look really neat in the knitted fabric.

Tuesday 4/8

Tuesday 4/8

Tuesday 4/8

I’m focusing on getting really nice variegated nearly-solid colors. I find I prefer yarns that have an undulating range of one color family rather than lots of contrasting colors as you never know how they’ll pool in your project.

Wednesday 4/9

Wednesday 4/9

Wednesday 4/9

With this one I was counting on the purple to have more of a blue base, but the blue I added to the purple was too blue. I’ll temper it with something darker next time. Not all one color, but pretty neat nonetheless.

Thursday 4/10

Thursday 4/10

Thursday 4/10

I really like this skein. It’s Misti Alpaca Suri Silk, 80% baby suri alpaca and 20% silk. It feels super soft and sleek. I had ordered some blanks of this just for kicks to see how it would dye up and now I have half a mind to order a bunch more to dye for a specific project for myself like a shawl or something (and I don’t even wear shawls!). The colors are more luminous due to the sheen of the silk.

I couldn’t resist putting the Bartletts together for a little group shot. Family reunion!

My Hand Dyed Yarns

Tonight I threw a skein of Dale of Norway Baby Ull into the pot and I’ll see how it dyes up. I love the Baby Ull, I’ve been working on that baby afghan out of it and it is wonderfully soft and shows great stitch definition. Best of all it’s superwash (though I’d probably still hand wash it anyway). It comes in a ton of great colors but variegated would be awesome so I’m trying it out.

On the agenda soon are those mini skeins of Elann Baby Cashmere, a 60% baby alpaca / 30% merino / 10% cashmere blend. It’s really lovely stuff and I’m curious to see how it’ll dye. Aren’t they cute?

Baby Skeinlets

More to come!

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