Before I start (and I'm sure most of you understand) this blog is about dyeing not dying. It's only one letter but that 'e' makes all the difference!
Last Wednesday Michelle from Woolly Wumpkins spent the day at the show helping me to dye some yarn I had bought in April. While at the Wonderwool, Michelle showed me a variety of different dyes and I chose the colour I wanted. It took us a while to recuperate from the show but last week we were finally ready to dye!
We didn't use quite the same process as Michelle would normally use as there isn't a hob in the shop but by dint of lots of kettles of boiling water and a microwave we got there. It is absolutely fascinating to watch the alchemy of dyeing. Well technically it's chemistry, not alchemy, but it appears almost magical so I think alchemy fits better.
The yarn I had to dye was shetland aran weight which I had bought ready spun and hanked but still with a little oil. If I'd just knitted it, it would have needed the oil removed but it was fine for dyeing. I began by soaking half in warm water with a little fairy liquid to get it ready for the dye bath and then we were off. The yarn was transferred one hank at a time into a dye bath containing citric acid and the woad coloured dye. It was soaked until I liked the colour and then transferred to a second dye bath to give it a little bit a difference in tone from one end of the hank to the other. As I want to make the yarn into a cable patterned garment, Michelle and I decided not to go for an obvious tonal effect, opting instead for more subtlety. After dyeing, the yarn was rinsed in the sink with a little hair conditioner and then hung out to dry.
The process of dyeing yarn is quite simple but I couldn't have achieved such a lovely batch of yarn without Michelle's help. Her eye for colour and experience at yarn dyeing means the colour take-up is pretty uniform across the hanks, something that a beginner wouldn't achieve any where near as easily.
I now have to keep telling myself that I don't have time to take up dyeing yarn in earnest and instead cast and knit myself a rather lovely jumper.
Welcome to our blog
Here we will share our experiences of running a local yarn shop in South Wales.