I have been doing some more custom dyeing for New Era Fiber Mill this week. This week’s order was a good example of a few ways the customer communicates their color request to me. It seemed like an interesting idea for sharing here. I have been dyeing animal fibers professionally for about 16 years now. I am self taught and began my education by reading everything I could find on color theory. I found that color mixing principles for artists like painters and such were useful to a point. Working with pigments is similar, but the medium of watercolors is a closer match than say for oils or pastels. This is because dyes are translucent rather than opaque. They allow the fiber color to show through and effect the final color. Like mixing watercolors, you use less dye rather than adding white, to create light colors on the fiber.
After studying color mixing I wanted to learn more about different fibers and how they react to dyes. In my search for information I came across a book or two on spinning which also helped me further understand the way a yarn is spun and how that effects the dyeing too. It was slim pickings finding materials.
So next I began researching dyes and picked Sabraset dyes because of their unique qualities. They are highly rated for light fastness and color fastness. They also have very nice range of mixing primaries, both warm and cool, plus a few other colors that are handy for mixing vibrant colors like violet, turquoise, and a wonderful true black. Then I was ready to start hands on exploration.
I knew I wanted to know how to accurately reproduce colors so I learned how to use formulas and create colors that I wanted. I invented spreadsheets in excel to keep records and do the math for me when I was ready to work on mixing batches of colors. I have found hex color tools handy for exploring proportions of hues and depths of shade and saturation. These are really helpful for pale muted colors to give a starting point for mixing. Then you can tweak it to get what you are going for.
Anyway, so here’s what I mean. Sometimes I am given a swatch of yarn, fabric, paint chip, etc. and I find this the most helpful. It’s easier to discern from a physical object what color they are aiming for. Digital images and even prints can be off. I was given a yarn sample for this one.
For this batch of fiber the customer just requested “sea foam green” without a color sample included. That means it’s up to dyer interpretation. So here’s what I think sea foam green looks like. :-)
This is a batch of hand painted yarn that I was given a printed out digital image of the colors they wanted. So not only do I have to interpret from a printout, as you can see the yarn in the picture has been re-skeined which rearranges the colors. Sometimes it can be hard to discern what is actually in there. I saw mainly a dark peacock type blue, a brighter turquoise blue, and some medium jade/tealish greens as the main colors. So here is what I did and I hope they will like it.
I guess I’ve gone on long enough about that for now. I have a knitting update too. I may have cast on something new despite my pledge for project monogamy to my afghan. I have made some more pieces for it but to be fair there are extenuating circumstances for the new project. I will elaborate a bit.
More years ago than I can remember I knit a scarf in a lovely dark green hand dyed skein of Manos Del’ Uraguay in the above stitch pattern. I ended up giving it to my oldest son one winter night when he was leaving my house to drive his motorcycle home. It was pretty cold and I insisted that wool was definitely needed. ;-) Well, recently his girlfriend messaged me very upset that it had inadvertently been clobbered in the wash. She felt terrible and asked if I could make a new one. What can a knitter/mother do in such a situation? Stash diving commenced immediately and I found the PERFECT yarn marinating in there and waiting for such a special knit as this. The yarn is some hand spun created by my second daughter and gifted to me, from some hand dyed fiber I bought for her at a festival I was vending at probably back in 2007 or so. I believe it’s a wool/alpaca/silk blend. I am quite charmed by it. :-)
How are you all doing today? We are getting through alright here. We are excited to report that we found actual toilet paper for sale in Kroger on Thursday! We were allowed to purchase two packages. My faith in civilization was restored just a little bit. LOL!
So, lots going on here at home to share with you this week. First of all we were notified that Jerry’s truck damage from the tornado was deemed a total loss. We thought it was going to be repaired all this time but the repair shop discovered after they began working on it that nearly everything was worse than they could determine at first. Mostly it was due to glass, probably not the glass from his truck but flying in the atmosphere. There was a huge debris ball and I suspect that was the culprit. Fortunately his truck was worth more than the payoff so we were able to get a replacement. He decided to go with something a bit different. He likes it a lot. It has a pretty awesome sound system!
I have made some progress on my Honeydew Lace Square fingering weight edition. I have five more rounds of the inner border and then it’s on to the edging.
We are trying to make the best use of our time during this quarantine/safer-at-home time. Jerry has been out in the shop a lot in the last week. He did a lot of tidying, re-arranging and de-cluttering. After that he got back to work on a big batch of Yarn Boxes that were all ready for sanding. We have some available on the website now if you were planning to pick up one at a festival this spring.
I have not been idle either. I have been cooking and baking more lately as is evidenced by the bread baking above. I have also been out at the dye pots a couple of times this week. New Era Fiber Mill has been keeping my busy (gainful employment which is appreciated more than ever about now). Here’s a batch I did the other day using my new work space, which I love, BTW. Did I mention my husband is amazing? Because he is. <3
Okay, stay well, and safe everyone! Make good use of your time and search for the silver lining! There is always something to be thankful for.
I have finally got a bit of time when I am not at the end of a long day of work to catch up on my blog.
After returning from Greencastle, I had to get straight to work at my dyepots. As I may have mentioned earlier, I had quite a large amount of fiber to dye for the mill, about 130#, plus I ordered 450# of yarn to dye for my own inventory. That is pretty much all that has been happening here.
I got the fiber done first so I could get their stuff back to them asap. My yarn order arrived on the same day i finished to fiber so no rest for the weary, yet. This week I dyed the yarn and was so happy to put up my pots for awhile on Friday. I started labeling yesterday.
I have needless to say made zero progress on my knitting since I couldn’t even manage to get much reading done at the end of the day, much less do anything that required muscle movements. I do however have a couple pictures of where I was when I last touched them two weeks ago.
My Carolan above, and I am afraid I will have to do some investigating when I return to it since I have no clue where I left off in the chart.
The onesie is nearing completion with only the bottom shaping on one side and the sleeves to go.
I also took a few of my dyeing this week. I dyed almost 1500 skeins in 3 days, so this is only a small sampling. I don’t want to bore you. 😉
These are the reds I did on Friday and below is what I could get in the frame of the buckets of already dried yarn. There are many more that are not shown.
I will try to get back to posting more when this is all done and I start traveling again. My next event is Shepherd’s Harvest in Minnesota on Mother’s Day weekend.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you that I am going to Chicago with Jerry this coming Tuesday for a mini vacation. We have only done this maybe three times in our 30 years of marriage and I am looking forward to it very much. We are going two nights to a concert and then to spend a night at my third daughter’s. Their new baby is due soon and it would be a nice bonus if baby was born by then.
I will try to get in at least one update while I am on my much needed break. Take care!