I took two classes from Tracy Schuh of Wool 'n Weave Fiber Arts Studio. Each class made two skeins of yarn and since I had a few dollars to spend, I bought two more skeins to dye.
Please note that the skeins pictured were not my own. This process was so messy that it was easier to concentrate on finishing my yarn, then photograph other students' work in progress. Although I love my own yarn, I would not want to take credit for the fun color ways that others created.
To start with, the skeins were placed on plastic wrap. We then learned how to mix the Aljo dyes. These dyes are professional grade and very concentrated, so they result in brilliant hues.
Then we began to sponge the dye onto the yarn, being careful to turn the skeins over to make sure we were saturating the entire area.
Our next chore (I call it a chore because it was the most difficult part of the process for me!) was to enclose the skein in the plastic wrap. Now we were ready to heat set the dye by either microwaving or steaming. Microwaving was much faster but since we only had one microwave on site, the queue waiting their turn was a little daunting. So I opted to steam the first four skeins. Since I was attending both classes, I was able to work during the lunch hour to finish steaming my yarns.
Once the dye is heat set, the yarn is rinsed and set out to dry.
Now, since we kept blowing the circuit in the 4-H building we were in, I was not certain that all my skeins steamed for the full amount of time required. So, rather than rinse my yarn immediately, I bagged them up and placed them inside my van, in the direct sun. After mentioning to the teacher, she admitted that she's often bagged her yarn in black plastic and set them on blacktop for a full day to heat set the dye. I was pleased that, on my own, I figured out a legitimate way to further the setting process.
Once I got home, I opened my little packages and thoroughly rinsed the yarn out in my laundry room's utility sink. I hung them to drip dry, using a fan to speed the process up a bit, and voila . . .
Drum roll, please. The results of my hard, somewhat messy labors is . . .
Six skeins (enough for 3 pairs of socks) of my own hand-dyed yarn. In no way are they perfect, with little dribbles of miscellaneous colors mixed in but they are my own special blends. The blue/green/yellow skeins were my first attempt, with the tropical orange/pink blend being the last set I dyed. The blue/purple/pink blend was an attempt to use up some leftover dye from other students' work, while still getting a pleasing colorway.
Once they are completely dry (which should be very soon), I'll be winding them up into center-pull balls.
My next challenge, to finish up a few UFO's and some gifts that are due in June BEFORE casting on with some of this yarn.
Or my Shepherd's Harvest Stash Enhancement Acquisitions . . . more on those later.