These past few weeks have been very fun for me in terms of fibre dyeing. I've been busy slowly stocking the shop with new colourways and new yarn bases to make the most of the Christmas season - the perfect excuse to play with fluff.
Since the yarn part of my business is still quite new, I don't usually dye more than one skein the same colour at once, but I keep good notes to make sure I can repeat colourways in the future (hint hint). In my dye sessions I came up with a few new colourways that I'm very smitten with. Allow me to introduce you to them.
I've always had a soft spot for singles yarns. I just love their soft structure, and it reminds me a lot of hand spun yarn for some reason (I've always been very partial to hand spun singles).
Needless to say, when I got my hands on this new base I just had to play with it.
For this base I decided to stick to semi-solids, for no particular reason. I love red, so that was naturally my first choice to dye, and "Sangria" was born. To achieve the depth you see in the picture, with different shades and tints, I had to kettle dye it in three different phases. It's definitely more work, but so worth it! Click here to see the listing for this yarn.
Next was "Emerald City." I have a special obsession with teal, and have been wanting to create the perfect shade for a while. I really, really like how this turned out. The photo shows the colour as a bit more on the blue side, but it's really a tad more green. It's beautiful to my eyes and I hope you agree with me! Here is the link for the Emerald City singles superwash merino yarn.
Now, an only child:
Merino/Silk Sock Yarn (one-of-a-kind).
This colourway has an interesting story. A while back, I was looking for a yarn/fibre supplier and there was a company I was interested in purchasing from, but they didn't do samples for prospective customers; basically, if I wanted to find out whether I liked their fibre, I'd have to order a full skein of each base I wanted to try (they were nice enough to allow me to order at wholesale prices, though). This merino/silk was one of the yarns I ordered.
When I dyed it the first time, I was still very much in the beginning of my dyeing adventure. I played around with some dye mixtures, hand painted the skein, and was happy... until it dried. If you're a beginner dyer, always keep this rule in mind: colours will always appear deeper when wet. When it started drying, I wasn't too keen on what I achieved. I still listed it in my shop (silly me). After there were no takers, I decided I'd overdye this skein when inspiration struck. Took me a while, but one day I just looked at it and knew what to do.
What you see above is the end result! Bright, happy colours that make my goth heart sing. Unfortunately I don't have the "before" photos handy, but I can look them up if anyone's interested.
In case you're wondering how I name my colourways, it depends on my mood and source of inspiration, but in this case it was the yellow/green neon that made me think of fireflies (and exactly where the light is located on their bodies).
What is the best way to present a hand dyed yarn with different colour sections? Is it to show it with the original dye blocks, or is prettier reskeined? (If you're unfamiliar with the term, that's when the skein is wound into a ball and then skeined again.)
I actually asked my Facebook and Instagram followers a while ago about this, and opinions were quite literally divided - roughly half liked yarn with the colour blocks intact, others preferred the reskeined look. Since there's no way to please everyone and I only had one skein, curiosity got the best of me and I decided on the latter. I wanted to see how the colours looked all jumbled!
If you're selling your hand dyed yarn and wonder about the same, maybe taking photos of the yarn before and after reskeining and showing both in your shop images can be a sort of compromise. Or, maybe dye more than one skein and sell them both ways, and see what your customers prefer.
"Firefly Butt" has been sold in the meantime, which makes me a very happy dyer.
Do I like, or don't I?
I just mentioned a dye job I didn't love that I managed to turn around, but what happens when you're unsure of your results? That's a harder nut to crack for me.
These two superwash BFL braids below give me a lot of mixed feelings. Believe it or not, I used the exact same colours dyeing each, but look at how different they came out! Proof that good note taking doesn't always guarantee the same results (especially with wool tops/roving).
My intention was to create a colourway that reminded me of Autumn. I saw a picture of stunning fallen maple leaves in various stages of transformation and used that as inspiration. I planned for each colour I wanted to recreate and went to work.
Now, before I go ahead, look at the image below. See how the colours are mostly warm, with pops of turquoise and green? That was a successful "Fallen Leaves" dye job, such as I imagined it. Incidentally, it was also my first attempt. This is a great example of how differently yarn and fibre dye, to my great frustration...
I haven't listed the BFL braids in my shop because I'm just not sure about them. The image on the right is quite nice, so that one will probably be available, but the muted one I might just card into a batt with other colours and see what happens.
Just when I was getting ready to throw in the towel...
...This happened. By suggestion of Nicole of Frost Yarn I decided to stop dyeing fibre on the pot and try a roasting pan instead. I bought a rather expensive pan that can go in the over as well as the hob, but I stopped moaning about how much I spent once I saw how this lovely came out.
I named it Fruit Loops, but in hindsight it should have been M&Ms. Ah, well. I'm just so happy with the colour saturation and control the roasting pan gave me. Take note: it's not always your technique, sometimes it's the materials you're using. There are no "muddy" dye spots, I can see each section clear and beautifully... Love!
Fruit Loops superwash BFL top is currently available in my shop.
That's it from me on this post, I hope you enjoyed following my dyeing shenanigans. As per usual, if you have any questions, I am happy to help. Feel free to message me or leave a comment in the section below with your thoughts/comments.
If you're in the States, happy Thanksgiving to you!