Monday, July 24, 2017

Adventures in Dyeing

I'm currently home sick from work with bronchitis, so what better time to make some tea, pull up a comfy chair, wear pajamas, and type up a blog post?

Okay, so I might be loopy from my medicine, but let's hope that adds that extra sparkle to my words.

Since January, I have been playing with pots and pans, my oven, my stove, my yarn, and acid. No, not that acid. Acid dyes!

My first skein turned out... let's just say I thought it was neat at the time, though hindsight is 20/20. It was awful. Just awful.

I'm glad I stuck with it, though, because each skein I dyed got better and better. From Disney character influences (Hades, Maleficent, Ariel, and more) to fantasy ideas (Mermaids, Faeries, and Dragons, oh my!), I began to realize the work and mindset dyeing required to make visions reality. Even more than that, it takes patience and money. Over $500 later between types of yarn and colors of dye, I had a pretty good booklet going of what acids became what color when mix a certain way and yaddita yaddita. I'm a stickler for note-taking.

After lots more of trial and error,  I even got speckles to work out! Turns out I just need to sprinkle that stuff like the magic pixie dust it is, make sure not to have too much water, and whamo. You got your speckles... or, in my case, blood splatters. 

What I learned from these adventures is that you can't give up. Look at my top photo and now my bottom photos... this took four months of dyeing off and on (when I get the chance between commissions and my day job), notes, and keeping a sense of adventure when dyeing. It's true that no two skeins are alike, even if you meticulously weight your dye and water amounts, get the same temperatures and baking times, and all other sorts of details. 

For some, this may seem like a whole lot of work for nothing, but what I've learned is that each skein I've dyed has a little extra sparkle because of what I was thinking when I was creating it. Batch dyes can be so ho-hum, but individual, truly individual, works aren't just a reflection of the effort you put in, but the piece of soul you add as the special ingredient. My skeins will never be the same as yours, and that's just the way it should be.

Party on, dyers!

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