Thursday, 12 November 2015

Dabbling in color

So. Since I quit one of my jobs (the one where I left the house for 40+ hours a week, I'm still a mom, wife, etc) in the spring I've been wanting to do something with the crafts I know to bring in some money so that I didn't have to find another lab job. At least not right away.

I'm really enjoying being at home. My older daughter is in school and my younger in preschool so I have the house to myself. I've been trying to finish some things around the house that needed doing and I started making things.

I knew that people wouldn't pay me any reasonable wage to knit. I thought that perhaps I could do some needlefelting, but I just don't enjoy it to the degree that I would need to make enough to sell. Again, people were probably unlikely to pay me a reasonable wage for the fancier items because they take a while to make. I tried making smaller items, but couldn't really get behind it.

I started talking with a couple friend about dyeing yarn to sell. This was an idea I could get behind. I'm interested in gradient/ombre yarns and yarns with a longer color repeat. They have grand plans that sound great, but for now, I just want to start dyeing and selling and see how it goes without making it complex. It will hopefully get us some money to sink into bigger plans and give us some experience so the transition into those plans may go more easily.

My husband has been encouraging me to get dyeing and start by selling at a local meeting. I'm looking into the technicalities of selling at the meeting.

I've started dyeing up some yarn and have already learned lots.

I was able to make a rainbow and black skein for rainbow stripy socks...that are missing purple. This is my test to see how it would look knit up and figure out gauge. I plan to knit these into socks to use as an example. They are dyed to make matching, sport weight socks.

This is one of my favorites, but it doesn't look quite like it does in the picture. It is actually a light turquoise to a darker turquoise to a dusky blue to black. I'm thrilled with how it turned out!

Here is another gradient I did. The photo is more faithful to the colors. It is light pink to dark pink to a purplish color then dark to light gray.

Here's the trio of the latest batch. Rather than gradients, these have long color repeats. The purple and chartreuse has roughly 10 yard repeats as does the black and yellow. The third ball has 10 yards of gray and 5 yards each of purple and fuchsia. 

I think it looks very striking. My husband recommended these colors based on the colors I had chosen for a cowl I knit last spring.

These are the start of what I hope will become a successful yarn dyeing business with friends. Most of the above will be offered for sale.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Necessity is the mother...

A week or so ago, a friend posted a link to this gorgeous shawl:

Yes, that's a knit Maple leaf to use as a shawl.  The pattern is on Ravelry:

Most of you reading may think that this post will be about how I knit this gorgeous shawl and want to show it off, but not yet. I decided that I must knit this shawl. I set out about finding some appropriate yarn with which to knit this shawl, but stopped myself.  

As I got to thinking, I realized I have some Bare superwash wool (with 25% nylon, but that is less important for this project than some) from Knit Picks. I also have Jacquard acid dyes, so I set about to dye some yarn for this shawl. That way, with some luck, I could get exactly what I want.

The pattern calls for fingering, but says you can use sport and it will be more of a wrap. I'm good with that. It calls for 766-984 yards, so I dyed 4 skeins of the Bare, which will give me 1096 yards. This will also give me a bit extra for any shrinkage in the dyeing process.

The colors I used were fire red and brilliant yellow although, since I looked at the color in the tub rather than reading the label, I ended up with a bit of chartreuse in it as well. No matter how yellow it looks in the tub, chartreuse is actually a green. I noticed right away when sprinkling the powder on the yarn, so I stopped and got the actual yellow.

Here you can see the green. It wasn't tragic in this project as a bit of green in the leaves is OK. The yellow was rather chunky, so I added a bit extra. I put the red on both ends. This is before much mixing.

I wanted the yarn to be mostly red with some orange and perhaps a bit of yellow, so I made sure to mix them.

I put on the vinegar, made sure to mix it well, so I wouldn't get white spots and turned on the heat.

The hard part was waiting for it to finish and then waiting for it to dry.

The yellow turned out a bit more yellow than I had planned. I guess it needed more mixing, but I didn't want to have the red completely take over.  There were a few whitish spots, mostly around a couple of the ties, so I went back and painted those. 

They didn't turn out quite how I had envisioned, but I'm happy with the result. I hope it will look good in the shawl. 

The finished (almost dry) yarn. The red isn't as pink as it looks in the pictures. I need to figure out how to get more faithful pictures.

(almost) Time to cast on!