This past weekend was the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. If you have never been to a fiber festival as the name implies, it is all about Sheep! There are different sheep breeds to see, sheep shearing, newborn lambs, sheep herding, spinning, felting, hooking, braiding, sewing and Dying! A lot of wool and a lot of sheep! In case you are a little sheeped out, there was abit of other fibers thrown in; alpaca, angora rabbit and goat.
The sisters, a friend and I signed up for a sock yarn dying class!! So fun!! It is really a very simple process, but you do need some special equipment. Like dye and large syringes and a large place to spread the yarn out. The yarn above is one that Mandy and I collaborated on. We did not have a plan, no rhyme or reason, just picked a color when we needed it and had fun!
This is how we dyed the yarn, already knit up in a "blank". Yarn can be dyed either way, knitted or un-knitted. The reasons it is sometimes knitted is it is easier to handle when wet and it is easier to visualize when dying. The blank has been figured so the width is approximately one round of an average sock. This blank was dyed by our friend Shauna, she was going for a plaid affect.
I painted this one. We named it "Monet", which was exactly the affect I was going for! A watercolor melding of my favorite colors!
When I say painted, we used large plastic syringes (the kind you use to give horses and cows medicine) to put the dye on the yarn. That way we were able to literally draw anything we wanted. The dye did soak in and blend a bit. If you wanted a really precise line, there was a thickener added to the dye that you then painted on. (In the first picture, I painted green circles on the blank! Fun!)
This one is Mandy's. You probably guessed that. Who else is obsessed red, white and blue?!
I also painted this one. You can see I used the thickened dye to paint stripes. I have always been sad there is not more sock yarn that has wide stripes, so I made my own! Unfortunately, we did not get pictures of Becky's dyed blank. Of course, she choose to do various shades of green.
It is fascinating to see the yarn going through it's different fazes and see how it changes. First it is a boring white, then a crazy striped, zig-zagged length, then wound in a skein it looks totally different and knit up I am sure it will completely different again!! We will be sure to keep you posted!