Late last year, Tara and I joined the Ely Weaver's Guild: a group of women who meet once a month to have lunch and talk about weaving, knitting, spinning - all things fiber. There is usually a show-and-tell portion of the meeting (which can be quite educational in and of itself) and then there are occasional workshops.
Last Monday they hosted a yarn dying workshop. Hot diggity!
Colleen, the leader of the workshop, ordered "sock blanks" for us from knitpicks . Sock blanks? Yes, that's what I said too, when I first heard that term. Now I know: a sock blank a long piece of fabric knitted from two lengths of un-dyed yarn knitted. Once you dye the fabric, you can unwind the yarn into two balls and then knit a pair of matching socks. You can look here if you want a better idea of what I am trying to describe.
The workshop was held upstairs at the Ely Community Center, and everything was set up and ready to go when we arrived. Colleen and her helpers had set up tables that were covered with newspaper and plastic, and there were dyes mixed and ready for us to play with.
I chose to use blue and purple . . .
Others were less monochromatic:
Once we applied the dye, we covered our blanks completely in plastic and smooshed everything around to make sure that the yarn was saturated.
Then we were done!
Well, except for setting the dye, which we still had to take care of at home.
To set the dye, we needed to use heat - either an oven, steam, or microwave. Just as I was thinking "great, what a mess," Tara said, "why don't we go back to my house and use my microwave?" Naturally, I jumped on that offer. Trust me when I tell you that wet, microwaving wool does not smell very good at all. After we set the dye, we washed the yarn with Dawn, rinsed it, and left it to air dry in Tara's laundry room.
I had a great time at the workshop - it was especially nice to have something fun and creative to do after the whole thing with Daisy. I am not sure yet what I will do with my yarn. Socks seems like a natural choice, but I have already knit a pair in a similar color. Plus it might be nice to have something a little more visible - like a scarf - so that others are more likely to see the pretty colors.
I doubt that I am going to start dying my own yarn on a regular basis - probably the only reason I enjoyed this so much was that someone else did all of the dirty work. But I am glad to have experimented with the process. Thank you Colleen, Tara and everyone else who helps to make the Weaver's Guild so much fun!