Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I am a thief

It’s true. I troll the around, looking for good stuff that I can pick up and make my own.
And the internet has the best stuff!

I need to make the stuff my own, because I have very clearly defined taste, and, I am, not quite abnormal, but…. Well, not quite normal either!

Take sock yarn. I like solids--if not best, close to best. Then self striping. Then single color, intentionally ‘uneven’ dying. --this is frequently labeled “hand dyed” but I recognize it is a specific hand dying technique. I have no doubt, any good hand dyer can, easily achieve full, even saturation of color! These hand dyed yarns have offer the pleasure of solids, with the added interest of shades and highlights of color.

Low down on my favorites are hand painted yarns. I love the colors in these yarns, I love them in the skein. But they just don’t do it for me knit up.
I often don’t like the way the colors spiral around. I HATE the way colors can pool. The high contrast, that is so often a feature of the best hand painted yarn, that is so wonderful in the skein, is often, to me, so so in the knitted product.

I know that not being WOW’d by Koigu or Cherry Tree Hill or other hand painted yarns, makes me unusually (I have a surprising amount of these yarns in my stash in spite of what I have just said, and I have knit and been gifted these yarn, and quite enjoyed them.) It’s just that, in general, they are not my first or even second choice for sock yarn.
So, getting back to being a thief.

Traveling round the Knitting Blogs ring, I saw some lovely yarn--red, red and red, a blaze of colors, a true red, with a deeper blue red, to a deeper still, wine red.
And the blogger,--I didn’t bookmark it, so its lost-- pointed out that she had some pastel yarn, (a solid pastel) that she didn’t like, and she overdyed it with red.

What an idea!
I am not big on hand dying, I suspect I could, with practice, become a skilled artist with color but, I have no driving desire stop knitting and to spend time hand dying--a skill all its own, and one that requires time and practice to be good at. Beside, there are so many skilled artisans already!

But simply overdying a so-so solid, intentionally mottling the color of the dye to make a new color, with interesting areas of high color saturation and some of low color saturation? Well that's an idea I can steal and make my own! That is something I can do!

So some solid blah beige, (Kroy sock yarn) got wound onto a nitty-noddy, (an antique one!) and the skeins went into the dye bath, and then into the microwave, and went from blah beige to rosy rouge!

The technique was simple enough. I presoaked the yarn in a acidulated water (I used sour salt/citric acid to acidulate the water) for about 5 minutes.
This pre soaking in acidulated water helps the yarn soak up color. It insures that if you pour the dye over the wet yarn, the dye will be absorbed almost immediately, where ever you pour, and will result in uneven uptake of color.

For the dye? I used 3 color tabs from an easter egg dye kit. These got dissolved in more acidulated water, which was then poured over the soaking yarn. The result is quite nice--not the candy pink the egg dye would turn an egg--the underlying beige toned down the color. And by just pouring the color on the yarn which had been primed by being in acidulated water, --I got spots of intense color, with softer tones in between.
Here is an undyed skien next to one of the dyed skiens (I dyed 2 of the 3 beige skeins I had)

So thank you, (who every you are!) for your wonderful idea.
And please, reader, feel free to steal this idea from me, and do it better.

NEXT-I will show you some of the wonderful colors I got last week from an extraordinary dyer master --these hand dyed yarns (mostly solid, with subtle gradiation of color) yarns will be used with some of my hand painted sock yarns to settle them down to simpler color schemes.
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