Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dye Up Some Stash!

Today I am dyeing a pound of BFL Ultra! to send to Karen Alfke, the designer who's patterns I carry on the website. She does the 2nd Nature Designs and the wonderful Unpatterns. I took a class from her at Stitches a couple of years ago and she kept pulling out green sweaters and yarns from her sample bag. She said, 'If it's green, I'm in!' and I recall thinking that one day I would dye up some green yarn and send it to her.

What better gift for a sweater knitter who loves Koigu, than BFL Ultra! -- so close in weight, but, of course, made of the luxurious and lustrous Blue Faced Leicester wool. So, that is what I am dyeing, in two 8-oz skeins which I am doing my best to make identical. I mixed up five different greens, plus two each of blue and yellow. All was going well, until at the end I decided to flick some dry dye powder over a band through the middle of the skeins. Yes, you can guess what happened ... a little too much dry powder here and there and a strange chemical reaction that may turn into 'art' as it steams. As I write, I have the big time steamer puffing away just outside the studio door, where I can get up and check the water level while the steam does it's magic. I am hoping it is magic, naturally, a sort of beautiful arty magic that I will be proud to send to Karen.

In the meantime, I thought I'd just grab those partial skeins of mystery yarn that seem to accumulate around the studio. Brilliant idea! Now I will have a little stash to add to my knitting in colors that I do not normally use. This is something I try to do when I dye a major project -- dye up a little stash with leftover dyes, sometimes mixed together, sometimes watered down to a pale shade. When I first began to dye, everything was heavily colored, deep and bright. As I have improved my technique and maybe added a little skill here and there, I find myself going for softer combinations, striving to separate delicate tones so that they do not become mud in the steaming process. Today I think I will come up with some nice bright tones. Can't wait to open all of those little colorful packages!

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