Yarn School, Part Two. I’m Dye-ing!

lockersToday I’m recapping my amazing trip to Yarn School in Harveyville back in October.

Day Two = I’m Dye-ing!

On the first full day of Yarn School, we started in the Dye Lab. We had lockers stuffed with goodies, including what seemed like forty pounds of fiber, ranging from merino, 100% wool, Falkland and more. I was a bit overwhelmed because I had never tried to dye wool and I was certain I was going to mess it up.

Thankfully we had an amazing teacher, Adrian Bizilia from Hello Yarn (we also got some of her amazing hand-dyed fiber in our goody bag, hello!). Plus we had binders of information that we could take home when we decide to get crazy in our garages.

How’d this go? Let’s just say that I have a problem with measurements. I never lasted in Chemistry class and to this day I tend to “eyeball it” with recipes (which turn out very badly). I’m kind of a mess. I did the same at dye lab – but it came from an artsy place deep in my soul so I just went for it. That is typically my mantra in life, just close your eyes and go for it (not the best advice for driving though). I was pretty pleased with myself. Even the fiber that I thought was going to be a disaster actually wasn’t – it was kind of my favorite. My advice to you when you hand-dye? Just try it. Don’t panic.

dye timeThe first technique we tried was the crock pot technique. I will call this my “Crock Pot” fiber from now on. My goal with this was to mix all of the colors that I absolutely adore into one fiber. Not a lofty goal at all. I mixed bright red and deep purple hues, layering vermillion, purple, russet and cherry red. Then we turned the crock pot on low and cooked it.  I was officially having a Breaking Bad moment. I took a peek and it was glorious.

Then I got kind of too confident. And shit got real.

Bad idea. We next learned how to hand-paint yarn, a technique I much prefer. But Pookah got creative and mixed a bunch of random things, red, maybe some tan, some teal, a green? I was working off of an inspiration picture that I brought with me but when I applied the colors from it onto my yarn it looked like country western barf. I was not good at this, stick with simplicity Pookah. I named this fiber “Failure”. Turns out, this may be my favorite yarn of the bunch. After you cook it (microwave it, in our case), the colors are completely different. I just needed a bit more faith in myself. The name of the will stay as “Failure” – just because we need to realize that sometime beautiful things come from your mistakes.

The next two yarns were also hand-painted, but I was alot happier with them. One I called my “Brilliant Blues” goes from light to dark in an ombre effect. The next, what I called my “Pumpkin”, which literally included a dye color called pumpkin, transitioned burnt orange, scarlet, chestnut and golden yellow. This was the one I was most excited about.

Dye LabAfter we got all Breaking Bad and cooked our yarns, assistants laid them out to dry above the school gym, which was school central for us. All of our stinky, colorful yarns floating above our heads was something I will never forget (though I was so entranced I forgot to take a photo).

We then took a caravan to a local ranch full of alpacas, where we had a local meal of fresh garden tomato soup and salad and lunched with the alpacas. My friend Keena and I made friends with the locals (those sweet alpacas!).

alpaca dayHere, I made my next yarn purchase of the trip, some 100% alpaca loveliness, so pure that there’s still bits of hay in it. It’s so soft that I kind of just want to hug it and imagine those big, brown alpaca eyes.

After the alpaca trip, I got to watch other spin yarn on their wheels and be completely intimated. Tomorrow I would – quite literally – take one for a spin. In the meantime, I practiced my drop spindle, learned how to use the hand carding machine, and admired all of our dyed fiber hanging from the gymnasium rafters.

Speaking of, here is a picture of my hand-dyed yarn! Look at all of the pretty colors! From left to right: Pumpkin, Failure, Crock Pot, Brilliant Blues. Um, “I MADE THIS!!!,” she screamed – loudly.

fiber dyed

This day was exhausting, informative and full of color. I was covered in fiber and pretty darn happy about it. Next up, this spinster takes a wheel for a spin. Watch your fingers.

Interested in learning more about The Harveyville Project? Click that link, yo.



2 thoughts on “Yarn School, Part Two. I’m Dye-ing!

  1. Pingback: Yarn School, Part Three. Spinderella | i like to make things with my hands

  2. Pingback: Spinnin’ & Grinnin’ | i like to make things with my hands

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