Mar 30, 2016

Trust the Process

Where were we? Inigo Montoya would say, “Let me Explain.  No, there is too much, let me sum up.”
We sourced fleece, had it spun into yarn, and then set about dyeing it in cjkoho Design’s studio.  (For the longer version, look at Monday's post.)

Carla and I talked about the colors we wanted, and decided on a palatte of kettle dyed semi-solids to go along with the natural grey and dark brown.  We thought six colors that worked with each other would be perfect.  The natural colors would round that out and we’d have a full spectrum to knit with.
I’m going to be honest here.  With the tie dye that Princess Monkey Toes has made for her scholarship fundraiser, we’ve purchased dyes, mixed them up, and dyed according to the directions.  She did a pretty great job of things, and her mom and I felt proud to help her achieve so much last summer.  She made beautiful items that sold across the country and she was able to send a girl to MichFest with her earnings.  (There are still a few pieces in my etsy shop if the thought of spring and tie dye has you looking for a fresh piece for your wardrobe.)

This, my friends, is not how professional fiber artists roll.

There is a PROCESS.

There is mixing.

Dark blue does not come right out of the powder, it is CREATED by the fiber artist by mixing just the right amount of this, with the right amount of that.

Much like with knitting, where we swatch to see if we like a stitch pattern, in dyeing there is sampling too.  Carla carefully measures and mixes and drops just a touch of color on a filter to see if it matches her expectations.

I kid you not, folks.  She is particular about her colors.   Do you see the slight differences in the reds here?
None of them met her expectations.   We started all over again when these didn’t work out.
Once the colors were determined, Carla used her formulas to measure just the right amount of dye for the number of skeins we planned to dye.  I wouldn’t be that far off in comparing her to a scientist at this point.  The yarn is soaked, raised to a certain temperature, color added, heat added, then it needs to cool, be rinsed and washed, and dried, and put into skeins.

It is a very precise and labor intensive process.

Those of you who know me personally, know that I’m not especially patient.  I pushed the process a bit and put the kettles out on the porch to cool in the cold February afternoon.  Carla rolled her eyes a bit at me, but allowed me to feed my impatient curiosity at seeing the yarn in its final state.

After the end of three long days on our feet, here is what we ended up with.

You can see that we’ve got a few more than the six colors we intended.

Carla tells me that part of the magic of dyeing is in what happens in the dye pot.  In spite of her meticulous measuring and our sampling, the dye absorbs and attaches to fiber in unique ways.  Some of the colors, while not what we expected were colors we fell in love with, so we kept them.

We will have this lovely yarn at Yarn Con on Friday (that's only a couple of days from now!!) and (if there is any left) at the Spring Ann Arbor Fiber Expo April 9-10.  Come out and see me!

If you’ve been paying attention, you know the next part is pattern support.  I’ll tell you more about that next time.

P.S.  Pattern updates are happening soon!  Now's your chance to grab previously published patterns at a lower rate.

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