Monthly Archives: May 2012

Welcome to my laboratory

Memorial Day weekend almost couldn’t have been more perfect from a weather perspective.  We had some rain on Saturday morning but it cleared up before noon and was a pleasant, warm day. Days like this don’t happen often, especially not when we are home and can enjoy the weather in our modern clothes (you know, not the normal, Civil War era ones) so for once I decided I HAD to take advantage.

The previous weekend I made a pilgrimage to several area yarn shops I’d not yet visited and at the last, Main Street Yarn in Hartford, I purchased a few skeins of undyed sock yarn.  Since I’ve started spinning, I’ve dabbled a bit in dying as well, but thus far I’ve really only tried kettle dying.  Hand painted yarns are some of my favorites and a technique I have wanted to try so I figured this would be a fun way to get  my feet wet. Combine that with my ever growing EBI, I decided to wind off some mini skeins and see what I could do. With weather so cooperative as we were having, I decided I had to set myself up outside and play a bit.

My Outdoor Laboratory

Mr.Me set up our nasty old card table on the back porch and I fired up the side burner on my grill to heat the water for mixing colors and eventually steaming my skeins.   Armed with 5 mini skeins and a rainbow of Wilton’s Icing Gels, I mixed, I matched, I painted, I splotched and I ended up with these:

The top and bottom skeins I used the same three colors (Pink, Teal & Violet) but applied them differently.  The bottom I used squeeze bottles and applied color in large areas, allowing them to run together to create additional colors along the way.  For the top skein, I used paint brushes to apply the colors for a more variegated look.  I like the visual difference for the two different methods even though the end result is 2 similarly colored skeins.

Next is the green.  For this one I used a single color (Juniper, I believe) but split the dye into three pots, one lightened with a bit of white, one darkened with a bit of black and again used paint brushes to apply the colors. This one, it turns out, was a lesson in how the different dyes blend together.  I love how the black plus the green eded up reading almost purple in the end.  Can’t wait to see how this one knits up!

The third experiment was using some leftover pink, plus copper and lemon yellow.  Again, I used paint brushes to apply the color, layering dyes and varying
how much I saturated the colors.  Unfortunately the picture came out pretty overexposed. Probably should have fixed that because the depth of color in the finished skein is lovely!   It reminds me of one of those spectacular sunsets over the lake.

The weather started looking a little grim toward the end of my yarn science experiment so I decided to head back into the house for the actual cooking of the yarn step and since I had one skein left I opted to kettle dye with leftovers from the first several batches of color. Honestly, I don’t think I could duplicate this one if I tried! I poured my leftover pink, copper, yellow and teal into the pot and got burgundy! With some interesting flecks of green for interest.  I have no idea what kind of crazy science went into making this work but again, I love there results! Can’t wait to have more time and more good weather (along with, perhaps, some handspun to play with) to have another go.

Now I just need to wind my little skeins into cupcakes so I can add them to my EBI.  Progress is slow but steady. I am working my way toward 6 complete rows. It’s still sort of travel sized so I hauled the blanket along to our Memorial Day ceremonies and enjoyed some public knitting in the sun to cannon fire. Life is good.