Spring experiments

I’ve been captivated by spinning, carding, and dyeing videos on Youtube lately. Grace Shalom Hopkins has some beautiful, almost hypnotic time-lapse and sped-up demonstration videos where she cards art batts and shows spinning techniques. Chemknits has some interesting dyeing experiment videos, and I’ve been inspired to try my own experiments. In particular, I’ve wanted to try food-safe dyes, as they seem like a simple and straightforward way to play with technique. Since it’s Easter season, egg dye tablets are easily accessible and very cheap.

IMG_7803On sale at the grocery store, I picked up this little kit. I had a cake of the handspun Cheviot left over from my Brick sweater, and decided to donate it to the cause.

IMG_7805I thought I’d go for something of an ombre look, so I put my two tablets in the center of the moderately-tightly-wound cake, figuring that some would be absorbed by the interior of the cake and some would seep out into the water and saturate the bottom (or top) part a bit more.

IMG_7809In the dye bath, the yarn cooked on low for a little over an hour, then sat in the pot for another few hours to cool.

IMG_7811Once the yarn cooled, I drained and rinsed it, then pulled the cake apart a bit so it could dry completely. I was hoping for more purple, but the subtle changes in all that blue (particularly the sections that are so light they almost look like they didn’t absorb dye at all) are just gorgeous!

IMG_7814I ran the yarn through the wheel to tighten up the z-twist a little, then wound it into a hank. I’m quite pleased with the color combinations, and I’m particularly excited by how the randomly-spaced little stripes will line up! It’s not much of an ombre, but I like it a lot.

IMG_7821I had so much fun with this one that I thought I’d try the same technique to dye some roving, then spun it afterwards to get a different combination of colors. I love the look of a blended two-ply (is that technically a marl?), so I tried it out, and I’m pretty smitten. I think I’ll be dyeing roving rather than yarn from now on!

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2 thoughts on “Spring experiments

  1. Starlight is carrying Spincycle yarns, started as handspun and is now millspun but with that awesome handspun color ply action. I love that plying so much! I’ve only gotten to knit two skeins of actual handspun and they’re so nice that I can totally see how they’d ruin you for other yarn.

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    1. I still use commercially spun yarn, since I have so much of it, but it’s just so much more interesting to make it myself!

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