Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Question of Dyeing

I have spent the last couple of days taking photos of yarn and fiber and listing the yarn and fiber on etsy. The most frustrating part of the process for me is getting the photos to accurately show the colors in the yarn. I also don't think that I am very good at color description. I need to amass a collection of color words that describe the myriad shades of blue, green, purple, red, and brown which occur when I dye.

I am always amazed when dyeing to see how different fibers and yarns take up the dye differently. Below is an example of the colorway "Island in the Sun" on superwash wool roving.

Below is a picture of the same colorway, using the exact same dyes on Shetland wool roving. The colors are much more muted on this wool then they are on the superwash wool.

I think the constant surprise is one of the reasons I enjoy dyeing so much. This constant surprise can also be a source of stress when trying to create a colorway that you can see in your mind, but can't quite seem to translate using dye powders. But it's always fun, and sometimes the colors that emerge might not be the exact color I am looking for, but I will make a color that I can use in another way. Then the issue becomes making sure to write down exactly what steps I have taken to reach that particular color (including the 1/16 of something I added at the end, just to see what would happen). Anyone who knows me well knows that I am more of a happy accident kind of person than a let's keep precise records kind of person. It's not that I don't keep records, it's that I have an issue with preciseness.

I also had a case of the vapors yesterday and had to take to my bed. Sometimes life gets too overwhelming and I find it necessary to retreat to bed with a good book (or in this case, back episodes of Dr. Who), a cup of tea, a bit of good chocolate, and, of course, some knitting. When I do this, I shut the rest of the world out for a short time, and somehow the next day when I get up, life seems a bit more easy to cope with.

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