Friday, 25 May 2012

Nearly Instantaneous Sock Colours

 On Tuesday night we had a play day at the guild.  A few of us got together for a protein fibre/acid dye painting workshop.  We could bring either wound warps or yarns.  I brought 200 grams of sock yarn, enough for 2 pair of socks.   I had fun learning to paint skeins, which is more dabbing than actually painting, but did have fun making self striping sock yarn.

It was more of an experimental evening rather than leader led program.   The first skein I tried, I really wanted a bright green for bright green and black stripes.  I got a nice green, although it wasn't nearly as bright as I'd wanted.  I realized that I wasn't quite as prepared as I should have been.  Although I did swatch, I didn't have my stripe calculations worked out and as the workshop leader used certain numbers as examples, in the rush , those numbers stuck in my head.  As soon as I realized this, combined with my not quite bright enough green, my project changed to a colour wheel, which a single tertiary colour between the primaries.  The stripes won't be quite wide enough for my liking, but they'll be fun and colourful socks none the less.

The second skein of sock yarn I did was horribly rushed as people were cleaning up around me as I was painting.  It was a tad disconcerting although I understand that others were done and wanted to go home.   I'd wanted to lighten up the fuchsia dye but the water jug disappeared when I set it down for a second.  I went with the flow and my pink and black striped socks turned into red, burgandy and black striped socks.    While I steamed the sock packets for 40 minutes, longer than the 20 that was suggested, there was still a lot of dye run off.  In the end, I did a quick rinse and recooked each skein in a hot water/vinegar bath, which did the trick of absorbing the rest of the dye.

Painting the skeins was a lot of work.  First winding the ridiculously long skein, which I did using my warping board and then laying it out on plastic wrap.  Then applying the dye, wrapping it up, steaming it, letting it cool, unwrapping the skein,  rinsing it and in my case cooking it as second time to finish the dye setting process.   After all this is done, you have to put the long skein back on the warping board and wind it into regular skeins for aging (like fine wines some sock yarns are) or straight into cakes to use immediately.  That winding took a long time as I had to unwind a few yards and then wind them up.  In the end, my sweetie helped me which saved a lot of time. Note that the colourwheel skein is still in it's absurdly long state and not yet a normal skein.

A couple of hours in the evening for a project like this, when you haven't done it before isn't quite enough time and it really felt rushed toward the end of the evening.  I've got a whole slew of ideas for future projects though, which is exciting and so totally what I don't need in the project queue.  However the nice thing about dyeing is when other projects seem to weigh or bog down due to length, dyeing is pretty much an instantaneous gratification project and we all need those once in a while.


Leigh said...

Isn't it wonderful when something piques your creativity like this. Too bad you didn't have more time, but the colors are gorgeous anyway. I agree that painting skeins is a lot of work, but it is so much fun too.

Woolly Bits said...

the rushing was the same for our last workshop, it's very annoying for those who still work:( but the rainbow skein does look tempting, I'd like to see how it works out knitted up (don't envy you the winding though, with that long skein). and the red and black is nice too - I always have trouble fixing the black properly, a lot of run-off, even with longer fixing. and if I use less dye, it tends to end up charcoal instead of black:(