For the second year, I got to join my Mom’s Spinning/Weaving guild for their annual dye day at a member’s farm. (Bear with me, this is a catch-up posting from June.)
The weather was excellent (if hot), the dye baths bubbly, and the group was fantastic as always.
This year’s main dye experiment was to explore Greener Shades. I believe they got the starter kit of 9 shades:
Greener Shades are primarily heavy-metal free, non-toxic dyes (except their turquoise, which apparently contains copper because there’s no other way to get good turquoise). And although apparently dyes categorically cannot be labeled “organic” because they are not a finished product, these dyes comply with organic standards. So according to the Greener Shades website, if you dye your certified organically grown/processed yarns with these dyes, you can still call your end product “organic”.
We arrived a little late to the Dye Day extravaganza, so we shoved our skeins in the dyepots a little late, but even so, the colors came out as juicy and wonderful as could be wished. Everyone brings their own skeins, so you’ll see some of the variation in the images based on people’s various yarns. I brought KnitPicks Bare Bulky which I had around home intended for a different dye project.
One of the gals is a real stitch, and does a pair of underpants every year instead of a skein.
We look like a bunch of witches stirring our cauldrons, but I guess someone was overzealous in their stirring this year, one of the colors was a little felted. Hopefully it was not me, but I don’t know, I spent more time in charge of another pot which was fine, but I did take a stir on the problem pot.
After the Greener Shades experiment came the indigo dyebaths.
Indigo dyeing is a little different from other kinds of dye that I’ve experienced. The dyebath is a weird murky color, and it’s only on exposure to oxygen that the stuff turns blue. The depth of the color is determined by the number of dips, not the length of time it spends in the dyebath. I did two dips on a silk scarf, but I wish I had gone for a couple of additional dips because it’s very pale. It might even have to be a re-dye some day.
The last Dye Day project was the sock blank. I had two Sock Blanks from KnitPicks. I think we used Procion dyes that were in ketchup squeeze bottles, which was great for making squiggles.
I’ve got one sock nearly done from the yellow/blue/green colorway, and it’s come out marvelously. The colors come in frenetic little stripes. So far I’m calling this experiment a phenomenal success. But we’ll see how the other colorway comes out… it’s not as attractive as a blank!
The only thing I’m not really liking about the sock-blank process is that I don’t like to do 2 socks at a time, so I’ve got to wind a center-pull ball slowly as I knit along on the first sock.
This is because KnitPicks creates their sock blanks by knitting up the two strands together in a long scarf-like piece. They do that so you can create two identical socks because you’re dyeing them together. But then the knitting doesn’t work so well for devotees of one-at-a-time DPN sock knitters like me.
I think that means I either need a nostepinne to better control the 1 sock/1 ball creation (I finally broke down and rewound around a thick pen which I’m hoping will give me enough space to center-pull), or a second ball winder so that I can create two identical balls at once.
Until next time, keep those needles clicking!