October 22, 2007

Dyeing Yarn

We all know how I feel about WhiteWillow, my fav yarn dyer in the world. And if you were unsure about my feelings, hopefully that cleared things up. Her color choices are so yummy and inspiring. It sounds silly of my to write it, but when I see the mixture of colors in her yarns, it makes me want to do things. For example, my recent purchases of Autumn Oak, River Rock and Campfire Girl in combination make me want to go out into the woods, set up camp and make some S'mores while cuddling with the hubby. (Did I forget to mention that I added another skein to the order? I am an addict.)

They also make me wish I was that talented. As you all know, I will be attending SAFF at the end of this month. What you may or may not know is that I will also be attending the Color Your Fiber From Your Own Backyard Plants workshop to appease this urge. And in order to NOT look like a complete doof, I have been reading up a little on "dyeing." Very little, actually it's more like hoping to absorb it through osmosis by being near blogs, books and the internet.

The more I find out, the more confused I become. It seems to me that dyers have been split into mainly two camps. The Kool-Aid camp vs. The Professional camp (composed of acid dyers and the like). And now it seems that I will have a third choice of natural dyes come end of this month. Having no previous experience with dyeing, with the possible exception of tye-dyed t-shirts in the 4th grade, a creeping sense of panic is starting to hit me. What if I don't have a sense of taste? What if I make ugly yarn? Is there such thing as yarn color copyrighting?

Now, I did purchase some "blank" sock yarn from the-never-to-be-mentioned-ever-again-online-yarn-shop to play with after I attended the SAFF workshop. I am supa-excited about learning to dye yarn from a pro. Hands on seems to be the best way to learn and reduce my panic. That, however, is not for another 5 days-5 days for my panic to run a muck. So what still of the other methods?

I also subscribe to a little publication call Knitter's Review. In August, they posted an article about Louet's Hand-Dyed Sock Kit. (I believe it is an acid dye?) It looks tempting and would seem to produce beautiful results, but thoroughly complicated and costly. Less costly than other start up kits, but keep in mind, with all my recent yarn purchases cost is a concern. Also, I would like to continue living in my house and not on the streets. The cats would not do well in streets at all; they're indoor cats they'd never make it.

I have seen (and printed) instructions for kool-aid dying which products some brilliant colors, is cheap and does have that whole "for dummies" concept going for it. Although, I'm not completely enthused about for some reason. Perhaps I'd like it more in the summer, when I tend to pick out more retina-searing colors.

So, I am imploring for the opinions of my internet friends. You would not lead me astray, would you? My questions are these (feel free to answer as few or as many as you like): What is the best way to go about learning to yarn (sock) yarn? Did one method work better for you than another method? What was the biggest challenge with dyeing your yarns? And where did you hide the ugly skeins you made?


evilsciencechick said...

I too am taking a dying class at SAFF (not the same one you are, though). After that, I already have some Jacquard dyes and natural yarn to play with. Yay!

Emily said...

Best way to learn: Just do it! Best method: I prefer acid dyes over Koolade, better colors, no fading (have not tried natural). Where to hide: don't hide it--overdye it! Have fun!

elizabeth said...

I'm in the same class! Saturday, 2-5? Yay!

As for your questions - best method to use depends on the desired results; best way to learn is by doing - trial and error all the way; biggest challenge is getting the right proportion of dye to yarn/fiber so you have enough saturation without waste; and I hide my ugly skeins by not posting them on the internet! Ha!