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 A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ordering three skeins of sock yarn in the same colorway, even if hand dyed, leads one to expect a certain minimum consistency.  So, the real work of dyeing, as opposed to just having fun with color on little skeins, has begun.

Here I’m beginning to paint of skeins of  . . . oh, what shall I call it?  Red’n’orange’n’yellow for now. I’ve put on pure scarlet at the end of skeins and am now adding a mix of scarlet plus some yellow dye.

 Lie still and relax

A lot of rubbing and massaging is involved in getting reasonably smooth color transitions.

All done!

Here they are all done, with the reference skeinlette closest to you. Not an exact match, but reasonably close. There are three skeins for Main Street Yarns and one for my Etsy shop, and that’ll be updated this week with lots of new stuff. I’ll keep you posted.  After the dye is applied, the skeins are sprayed with vinegar, wrapped up tightly in plastic, then steamed, cooled, and washed.

I’m also trying another technique, that gives rather more random results. For this, the yarn is put into a shallow vinegar and water bath that is brought up to temp,  then the dye is poured onto the yarn.  Each pour is simmered until the color is exhausted, then a  new pour can be added if desired.  For this skein, I poured the light blue first, then the dark. This bath had a lot of vinegar in it and I didn’t move the yarn around after the dye was poured in, so the stripes are pretty distinct.

Striped spaghetti

This skein only had chartreuse poured on it, but the yarn was smooshed around as the dye was added, so it got more diffused. Also, the bath had less vinegar, so the dye struck more slowly.

Chartreuse in the pot

Fun, eh?

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The yarn is here, the yarn is here!

Yarny goodness

The postal person stealthily put it on my porch, and there it was when I opened to door to walk up the driveway to check the mail.  I know what I’m doing tomorrow  . . .

Meanwhile,

Trying to blend in

the giant skein of overdyed blue finally dried, and taking advice from the commenters, I decided to test the limits of the All-Powerful Reeling Machine and see if it could hold all 1200 yards of yarn. It was doing well, but then the yarn got a bit tangled in one of the wire loops holding the skeiner together and it frayed rather severely. I went ahead and broke it off and started a second ball.

Taking the air

Here they are, enjoying the sun on what is likely to be the last warm day of the year.

Would a standard sized ball winder be able to hold about 1200 yards of fingering weight yarn  (11 ounces) in one ball? Having dyed this lovely,  continuous, knot-free skein, I’d hate to have to break it.

When a weaver says, “I’m destashing, would you like to come get stuff before I take it to the Goodwill?” always say yes. Fellow member of  Seaview Weavers Heather did just that, and not only did I get some nice fabric, but I seriously scored in the yarn department.  Among other goodies, a two pound cone of blue-grey fingering weight alpaca, which promptly set me thinking about knitted shawls.  The pattern I decided on for the first one is the Seascape Shawl from Fiber Trends, but I wanted the yarn to be bluer, not so grey. 

 Cone o’yarn

Here’s the cone, after winding off a shawl’s worth of yarn. Good thing it was on the floor, or I’d be suffering from Blue Lung Disease from inhaling all those particles!

 While I pondered colors I knitted a sample in a lace pattern I’d been wanting to try,  bound off, gave it a cursory wash, then threw it in the dye pot with about a 1/4 t. of turquoise stock solution and glug of vinegar.  About 45 minutes later

 Exhausted!

it was cooling in an exhausted dyebath.  Not really the way you are supposed to do it, but it’s just a sample, right? Once it was pinned out and all dry

All dry

it was a teal color — lovely, but not what I had in mind for the shawl.  I wound off more small skeins and overdyed them with different colors.

Overdyed skeins

From left: Sky Blue, Red, and Purple.

The purple is a lovely dark shade.  The red is very interesting.  There are blue undertones and a dark red halo.  I’ll do something with this that involves grapes, I think, as it reminds me of the bloom that is on the outside of dark unwashed grapes. And the blue on the left is just what I wanted!  In the jar, the Sky Blue stock solution looked like it might be too close in color to the yarn, but somehow it intensified only the blue and not the grey.  I just love it.

I washed the  large skein, made more stock solution, simmered, and let it rest.

Shawl yarn

My husband peered into the pot on top of the stove and asked, “Blue spaghetti again?” Yup.

In other news, Sandy managed to figure out what the Mystery Object is, although both Bonnie and Syne had good ideas. It’s a fake pregnancy — my daughter is playing the very pregnant charcter Edna Louise in her school’s production of Come Back to Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy DeanLisa may have Grossman’s Gams, but I have Bear’s Belly.

So nice!

Cally at t’katch — the Language of Weaving tagged me for the Nice Award, which just thrills me no end! Thank you, Cally. Not only do you have a marvelous site, but you’ve spurred me to learn how to put in image in my sidebar.

With the award comes great responsibility: “This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded, please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award.”

I’m taking it on myself to decide that I can’t award it to anyone who I know has already gotten it, so that takes Bonnie and Syne out of the list of possibles.  So, I tag:

Lisa, at The Tsarina Tsays.  Lisa is sort of the godmother of my blog, since a mutual online acquantance mentioned she had started one, I started reading it, then clicked on her WordPress button and found out that I could do it too.  Since then, we’ve posted lots of comments on each others blogs, had a busy non-blog correspondance, and even gone yarn shopping together in New York.  Lisa is an inspiration to knitters everywhere, and a sock designer that, well, blows my socks off!  And, she was kind enough to suggest that I ask her yarn supplier,

Jennifer at NYS Farm — updates  if she could point me to sources for undyed yarn.  Jennifer not only offered to sell to me from her supply, but  has been incredibly generous with information about dyeing.  Plus,  she knows the finer points of chicken butchering (and a whole lot more) , and she wrote a brilliant set of rules regarding garage sales.

Cathy-Cate at Hither and Yarn has great flower photos, knits and posts about lovely projects, and even has free knitting patterns.

I really enjoy stopping in at Theresa’s Tales of a Keyboard Biologist. She has the sweetest baby, and anyone who manages to knit while nursing gets a gold star in my book.

Lene at DancesWithWool takes me to the far north of Finland and shares the beauty that surrounds her as well as her amazing knitting.

Allan at Panabasis finds marvelous images and posts them with inimitable commentary. It’s always a treat when there is something new up.

And last,  but certainly not least (no one here is least) Stephanie, AKA The Yarn Harlot  who wittily, passionately, and generously tells us all about Knitting, Life, and Everything Else.