Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Well, I Could Just Dye!

I'm not ashamed to admit it: I don't always "get" color. Every once in a while, I go on a dyeing kick, though and this is usually a time for me to fight my urge to pretend that I have anything remotely resembling a clue. My best bet is to either go with one solid color and revel in the beauty of the values that can result. Or go the other way and pick random colors with a haphazardness that would make the professional dyers cringe.

Too much thought, too much analyzing, or any references whatsoever to a color wheel will result in disaster. I have the same problems with choosing coordinating yarns. It's not that I don't have a little education in color theory. Did anyone happen to notice that I managed to use the word "value" in the first paragraph? Didja? Didja???? See...I have the technical knowledge. I just don't have the "eye." Best to not think about it too much. Best to let Hysterical Mind take over the process, just dump a bunch of colors in the pot and hope to sidestep disaster.

There was a third roving that made it to the crock pot last weekend. Jeanne commented that I seem to have pretty good luck with color when I use the crock pot method. And I have to say that the results here were pretty good for the most part. The colors were rich and took like magnets on every single fiber right down to those little whispies lurking in the bottom of the pot. In all honesty, though, the crock pot is really more about the amount of fiber than it is about the technique. The color you get is the color you see once the fiber is saturated, albeit a tiny bit darker due to its being wet and all. The use of the crock pot is more about neatness and having small fiber amounts than it is about color. Had I been working with larger amounts, I would have gone with the gi-normous lobster pot.

Having had reasonably good luck doing single colors in the wee, little crock, I decided to try some rainbow dyeing with a bit of Corriedale X Columbia that came in the box of fibery fun that Susie sent me. I've rainbow dyed many, many times since it speaks to my need for instant gratification and tendency to forget that I have something "in process." You soak the fiber in water and vinegar, dump a bit of dye over random sections, push it down with a spoon and walk away. No thinking, no nothing...you're done. Come back later and see how things turned out. And if you are using the crock pot, you don't even have to worry about how long it sits there...crock pots are born to just sit there.

I like that.

But, the crock pot didn't seem to like this methodology as much as I'd thought it might. In fact, its cramped quarters made the process something of a mess. Some parts took oodles of color, some were greedy and took more than one color, others rejected the dye out of hand without even giving it a chance. This wasn't really what I expected....




Tie Dye? Far out, man...
Oddly enough, I don't really hate it. In fact, I think it will spin up rather nicely. The thing about dyeing your own fiber is that you have to accept that it is only marginally within your control. Less so if you happen to be a Sheep with attentional issues who likes dumping dye on fiber then going off to watch cartoons or nap. If you happen to be this Sheep or one just like her, then you learn to live with things that are surprises. You call them "artistic" and "one of a kind." You embrace the flaws...
And, after repeating the process ten or twelve times in a row, you sometimes even learn a little something.
SA


21 comments:

Annie said...

I love it! It will be absolutely gorgeous spun up. Can't wait to see it!

Teri S. said...

I think the roving is kind of neat. Who knows, you might end up with a faux Fair Isle kind of yarn. I'm thinking socks. Do you have the Twisted Sisters Sock book? There are good pointers in there about spinning yarn like that (not that you necessarily need it, mind you). Some day, I'm gonna dye.

trek said...

Go Bob Ross and call them "happy accidents"!

Beth said...

I think that looks really cool! And it's going to look wonderful as yarn.

Julie said...

Okay. You have a color wheel, right? Or at least know what they look like? AVOID MIXING COLORS DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM EACH OTHER. (That would be green/red, yellow/purple, and blue/orange.) That's a disaster waiting to happen. (I can explain why if you really want to know - e-mail me.)

Otherwise, work with stuff that's next to each other on the wheel, like what you've got there - green/blue/purple. You're a brilliant colorist. Congratulations.

chris said...

It's lovely - I will have to give that a try on the roving I've been meaning to dye....

Alwen said...

I think it's purty!

Sheila said...

It is going to spin up beautifully!
If the whiter areas really bother you, use a little dish soap or Synthrapol in the water/vinegar pre-soak, if you aren't already. It'll help the fiber absorb the color more evenly...but I think the random absorption is pretty fun, too!

Lazuli said...

Oooh, it's blue! I bet it will look really, really pretty when spun!

Ronni said...

I love it. I wish I'd made it. I often find that the stuff I like best that I have dyed is the random stuff. One of my favorites was soaking fiber in lots of vinegar and water and then just dotting the fiber with dye powder (get a chopstick wet and then use it to pick up the powder if you haven't a mask or don't feel safe even with one) and then mushing it around. It was wild but it was also pretty. But then, I am half magpie.

catsmum said...

I think you're going to find that spins up be-ew-ti-fully [ and if you don't like the result it is SO my colours!!!! ]

Julie said...

I think your tie dye fiber looks great; like you meant to do it that way. :)

SheepsPyjamas said...

A dyer after my own heart -- my attempts to "manage" they dye process haven't exactly been failures, they just haven't done what I expected them to do. I've read a bunch of theory, and my best dye process: serendipity :*)

I, too, think it will make fab yarn -- keep the crock pot going!

Bobbi said...

I think it's pretty, I'm sure it will look lovely spun up!

Cursing Mama said...

I like it - have a feeling it will be totally beautiful once spun and knit. I also feel like you put a little more effort into it than you're letting on Ms. Sheepie.

Mia said...

oh yeah sheepie, I think that's gonna spin up awesome.. I love rovings like that... so fun to see what happens.

spin on!!

Amy Boogie said...

I think it will spin up beautifully. Dye is always fun when it's a little (or a lot) haphazard. :)

Lori said...

I definitely like it! It will spin up really cool!

Lorraine said...

Ditto, here. Love the colors and can't wait to see it spun up. Arrgh, you're adding things to my summer wish list, though. Note to self: buy a crock pot and do some more fiber dying.

Jeanne said...

Oh, I know that's going to be fantastic spun up. You'll be surprised. That's what I love about dyeing—the randomness of it!

But I must disagree somewhat with Julie (Samurai Knitter) about the color wheel. True, if you combine the two dyes together (red/green) you'll get blech, which is not on the official color wheel ;-). I just dyed some bandannas for an upcoming fiber fest. I guess it's technically tie-dye but it's more fold-and-dye than hippie swirly stuff. Anyway, one of my favorite happy accidents occurred when I juxtaposed scarlet with chartreuse and tangerine. Where the scarlet and chartreuse met, it produced an olivey-brown. It's really cool. I'll post pictures on my blog this week. So the caveat would be, they can be adjacent and overlapping, but not directly mixed.

I'm going to a dye-your-own-sock-yarn event this weekend and can hardly wait.

KrisSuthe said...

I think it's gorgeous! Can't wait to see it spun!