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Seven tips for would be yarn dyers

My carefully laid plans for this last week were blown out of the water before the week even began, thanks to that spicy skein of Autumn-rich hand dyed wool.

That yummy skein of yarn was fortunate enough to be included in an Etsy email sent to about eleventy bazillion people early this week.

Apparently, knitters are a little, umm, yarn obsessed?  (You know I’m talking about me you!)

And as a result, I’ve finished dyeing batch #2 of that colorway today … and might be working on batch #3 on Monday.

I’m not complaining – I’ve loved every minute of this – but here are seven things to think about if you have a secret hankering to dye yarn:

  1. Dyeing is hot, steamy work – which can be a little bit miserable during late Summer blazing temperatures in a non-air conditioned house.
  2. Playing with colors is two parts fun to one part science to one part problem solving.  If you hated high school and college chemistry with a blinding passion, this might not be for you (I absolutely loved chemistry and at one point was majoring in it).
  3. Dyeing is super messy work.  Don’t wear anything to dye in that you have a strong emotional attachment to.
  4. The spin cycle of your washing machine was made JUST for spinning out the last drops of water from your freshly dyed, washed and rinsed skeins of yarn.  Sheer brilliance.
  5. The actual dyeing part of … dyeing yarn … is pretty easy.  Then comes drying, untangling (see that messy part above), reskeining, twisting into a skein or winding into a cake, labelling. I think the latter is much harder than the actual dyeing!
  6. The spin cycle of your washing machine was made JUST for spinning out the last drops of water from your freshly dyed, washed and rinsed skeins of yarn.  Sheer brilliance.
  7. Cats seem to have an inexplicable obsession with yarn.  I’ve been pretty lucky with my two kitties – I think they’re so bored with yarn that they don’t often notice any new yarn.  But, if you have kitties who aren’t bored yet, you’ll need to take precautions.  🙂
A bonus tip:  all that lugging, winding, skeining, etc. is a great upper arm workout.  I will be spending the rest of my night with a bottle of motrin, a movie, and some knitting.
{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Summer September 7, 2011, 4:59 PM

    Oh, congrats! Lovely fall colors. By the way…the blog looks great.

  • brenda September 7, 2011, 9:50 PM

    Thank you, Summer! Hope you’re doing well and staying cool? xo

  • Penny Kehus September 30, 2011, 7:33 AM

    You’ve done your inspiring job to getting me onto my yarn dyeing. I have the yarn, and supplies, and the love of chemistry to finally take the plunge! (And experience at fabric dyeing and tie dyeing to know the mess involved)

  • brenda September 30, 2011, 5:19 PM

    Penny, you would do awesomely! With your chemistry and lab knowledge/experience, wow, I can’t wait to see what you come up with! Email me any time with questions (that is, if I can be any help at all!)!

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