Black and blue, beep-beep
Hello, I'm not feeling very clever today

How'd you do that?

Deirdre left a comment on yesterday's post:

I've been loving all your hand-dyed yarns, and am wondering how you're dyeing them? Big vats of colour? Squirt bottles?

Excited by what I learned at the dyeing workshop that Kate, Ali and I took at Old Maiden Aunt Yarns in Scotland, I was completely energized by the girls' enthusiasm! Project Spectrum came along at exactly the right time, providing both direction and focus for my ongoing exploration.

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At this point, it's mostly all fun and games. I am having a blast playing around and experimenting with color and fiber. That said, I've been trying hard to document and record while playing -- not something I've ever been good at -- because at the heart of it, I'm also learning. 

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Right now, given my current set-up and equipment, immersion techniques work best. (The lapse in my documentation is evident right >< here in that the most useful photos of my red-dyed yarn are not readily available... and I'm just going to trust that I took them in the first place, and can find them... I'm 99% sure.) All of the reds I dyed in May were dyed using this method; some were over-dyed and/or tie-dyed.

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A pot full of dye is hard to resist! I put a rubberband around a skein of white yarn and threw it in to see what would happen...

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And put some more rubber bands on a hank of already-red yarn and threw that in, too!

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 Naturally, since I'm mostly set up for immersion dyeing, I was hand-painting by June!

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Mostly, these were done by pour-and-smoosh. My test skeins are small, but I believe I had a couple of these sort of draped in and out of containers each with a different concentration of dye.

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For hank above, I laid it out on some large pieces of plastic wrap. I poured and smooshed chartreuse on one end, emerald on the other; orange along one side; navy along the other. It was all wrapped up in plastic wrap and then steamed on the stovetop. The steaming could also be done in a dye-dedicated microwave or crockpot, but I don't have either.

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I continued the pour-smoosh-and-steam method for the blue test skeins, playing a bit with value and hue.

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I reverted to immersion, time, and over-dye techniques for the "blue" finish skein. I also continued to play with value and hue, resulting in a failure in the "blue" department but pretty much a winner in every other way! For this hank, I threw the whole thing into a bath of burgundy-tinted orange; after a few minutes, I pulled out one end, leaving the rest in the pot. I mixed "a little" black with navy blue (this might have worked better had I used sky blue) and then over-dyed half the hank in this solution.

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Because this is all rather seat-of-the-pants and sometimes my idea changes in the time it takes to pick up the yarn and put it in the pot... There was more navy-black dye than required for the amount of fiber, and that's when I threw in a skein of green Galway to soak up the rest.

I can't believe it's going to be August on Monday!!! We'll be in the pink, which I'm sort of dreading, but I'm going to MAKE IT WORK!




Pour and smoosh. Such technical terms today.


I like seat-of-the-pants experimenting and remember, pink is just red treading softly.


You have been immersing yourself in good dye technique and every thing you do is exciting to see. Plus, you've learned so much! Don't forget there is a whole spectrum of pink. You'll figure out something wonderful.


Yay, dye! It's most fun (for me, and probably for you too) when it's an intuitive process. It's just as much fun to get a surprising success as it is an unexpected disaster. For the disasters, you get to figure out how to make them work and they turn into successes!


what fun! and i love that bumper sticker too... haven't seen it, but it's a good one.


Beautiful skeins, Vicki...what fun. I've never tried, but gosh, you make it seem so easy!

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