Sunday, May 13, 2007

What a great day at Shepherd's Harvest

The weather was perfect, the classes were fun and the vendors were . . . well, let's just say my self-control was tested to the limits.

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.

8 comments:

Sheepish Annie said...

Sounds like the perfect day! And your yarn came out beautifully. Nice job!

limedragon :-: Harriet said...

Hmm, I think we were in the same class, Saturday morning?

Valkryie Knit This said...

Wow! Those are some pretty colors!

Rani said...

The colors are so pretty! This will be so fun to knit up! Hope you had fun and a great mother's day. I wonder if "guinifer" made it through the fair and stayed faithful to her 'no new yarn" promise!!!

Guinifer said...

Your yarn turned out just dynamite! Glad you had a nice day!

Ellen said...

Hmm, you know the May meeting of the MN Knitter's Guild is a sock yarn exchange, right? That orange/pink is just fabulous!

Tracey Schuh Wool'n Weave Fiber Arts said...

Wow! Thank you so much for the great pictures and comments! I'm so happy to see you had fun at the festival and enjoyed your time in my classes. Your skeins came out great, and colors are fabulous. Anyone wanting to come to the studio for dye time or class just let me know... we always have fun! Tracey Schuh Wool'n Weave Fiber Arts Studio Abrams WI 54101 920-826-5970 Tracey_Schuh@hotmail.com

Tonyia said...

I LOVE the pink/purple/blue, but I have a real soft spot for anything with yellow. You did a great job.