Category Archives: Dyeing

T-Minus Ten

Almost time for the new store lift-off! =D Exciting, exciting. I’ve been getting photos imported and listing information all ready to roll. Official store opening happens tomorrow morning at ten-o-clock, EST. Hope to see you there! Let me know what you think.

Some sneak previews ~

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Forty Skeins of Yarn

Does anyone have a “get life to slow down” free card? I could use one. Things have been downright crazy around here, but I believe that God is working it all together for good.

Family members traveling, a family member dislocating a knee, yeah. It’s been pretty crazy.

So, I’ve decided to move the reopening of my yarn store back to June sometime. And (ready for this?) I’m keeping the name Maiden Yarn. It’s a good name, and it’s a name my customers know. At this point I’m thinking “Wildwood Fibers” will be a sub-brand for some extra special products I’ll be carrying. And don’t think this means the store won’t have some really neat additions and improvements! I’m still very excited.

In other news, I dyed forty-something skeins of yarn during the last two days for my friend at Annie and Co. That is a pile of yarn, y’all. I barely have room on my drying racks for all of it.

Yes, all the pictures for today are in black and white. My camera’s little electronic brain was so blown by the sheer gorgeousness of the tones, it flipped out and couldn’t portray them accurately. (And maybe I got a little filter-happy.)

So, the rest of May will be spent getting things ready for Maiden Yarn’s reopening in June, and having some friends come in from out of town for a mutual friend’s wedding. You can be expecting some pictures of the former (not the latter) in the weeks to come.

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Naming Things

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A huge part of what I do in my yarn and fiber business revolves around coming up with names. Names for yarn bases. Names for colorways. Names for special coupon codes or snazzy sales. This in itself can be exhausting (I can’t imagine what Adam went through – naming all those animals) but when you add in the fact that the name should be somewhat appealing, descriptive, and easy to remember and spell, you have a recipe for a lot of hyperactive tension.

For instance, shall we look at a sample?

This might look familiar. It’s that beautiful fluffy green roving I mentioned a couple posts ago.
Now, how to go about coming up with a name for it. First up, the first few things that pop into my head. Lemongrass. Leaf bud. (Which tangents into Twigs and Twiggy.) Cucumber. Silver veil.

What on . . . .? Where did silver come from? I think it snuck in there because of the softness of the green. Rather like dew drops.

Well, I already have a lemongrasss in my store, and it’s a much yellower green than this, so that’s out. Leaf bud just doesn’t have a nice, aesthetic sound to it to me. (Everyone has a different opinion on this, which is what makes names so personality-filled.) But I do like the idea of a leaf bud. Some other ideas coming from that might be “tender.” Now, I like tender. We’ll just file that away and keep skimming.

Twig sounds cute, but could create issues with people visualizing vegetable matter in the roving. Otherwise I’d go with something like “Tender Twig.” But “Tender Cucumber” just sounds weird.

Leaves. . .Tender. . . Spring. Spring is a good word, and we’re getting close to Spring, but to me “Spring” is a much lighter green than this roving. (Maybe it I just wasn’t so picky we’d have this figured out by now.) Rain! Rain makes things darker and carries a sort of silvery conotation to it.

The final name? (After several days of not thinking about it.) “Spring.” Although now that I’m thinking about it again, “Spring Rain” would be a nice one, but that would call for blue. Or even “Budding Leaves.” But! It’s named, and we’re going to leave it. (For the sake of my sanity.)

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I finally got this braid, and a couple others up in my store, so take a look and let me know what you think.

February Dyeing

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It’s been a busy week on the dyeing front around here – as evidenced by the growing pile of yarns and fibers to be photographed, the rapidly filling drying racks, and the ever-changing splotches of color on my hands. It’s not every profession that allows you to get away with blue and yellow streaks on your fingers. (Yes, I love my job, why do you ask?)

The biggest project has been a twenty-skein order from a local yarn store. Remember, the one that carries my merino/silk laceweights? We’re swapping out some current colorways and renewing some old favorites.

I’m a little concerned though. My supplier might be hiking the price on the laceweight yarn base, and that would mean hunting for a new yarn blend. I have a potential source in mind as backup, but we’ll wait and see.

And, in and around those twenty skeins, I’ve been doing a lot of fiber dyeing. I’ve got at least five batches of rovings ready to be photographed, and listed in the near future. I’m rather tickled about that. It’s been awhile since I brought in some new fibers.

Disappointment and Fiber

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I have once again been reminded that dyeing is a ridiculously emotional art-form for some of us. Maybe it’s the chemicals. Maybe its the wet wool fumes or knowing we eventually have to stop and make supper. Or maybe (like today) it’s because almost everything you touch goes wrong.

Notice I say “wrong”, not “hideous.” I have to admit that some of the colorways I came up with are not at all horrible. (Like the one pictured above. It’s beautiful!) They’re just not what I expected.

I’m sure overloading the schedule had a lot to do with the inevitable break down. Now that I’m using a shiny new method for measuring the dyes, (which lets me make things more than once!) developing a new set of colors is a very time consuming process. As much of a bother as it is to haul all the dye equipment out and put it away, I really need to start breaking a typical dye session into two days or more. One day for developing the colorways on a few select skeins, and then the next in actually dyeing the bulk of products.

Hey, anything that will keep me from trying to get through three or four pounds worth of dyeing in one afternoon. All new combinations, or trying to recreate non-documented colors. Yep. Stick a fork in me, I’m done. I didn’t make it past the first pound or so.

Ah well. Tomorrow is another day. And I rather like how this one turned out, even thought it was supposed to be blue with green hints. (Too much yellow, you think?)

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Spring Scarf

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While I was getting ready to make the previous scarf, I had an idea for a fun spring/summer design to create on a chiffon. The idea was vaguely inspired by cherry blossoms and tiny spring flowers, and involved having tiny white circles dotting one end of the scarf. As you can see, it worked.

I’m thinking I might offer these for sale for this coming spring. Any idea on what colors? I’m liking the green, although I might go a bit softer with it. A nice, distinctive pink would be pretty. Something between peach and petal. And a soft, French blue-grey would be gorgeous. Maybe a golden-yellow, like a mango? Does anyone even wear mango?

Another Scarf

I read about a really interesting technique of shibori that involved pleating, so here’s my take on that. I couldn’t just follow the basics, so I tossed in some tying and came up with what I will call “Rebekah’s attempt at making as complicated and amazing a scarf as possible.”

For this project I used a different kind of silk scarf. One that is called “Habotai” and has a slicker, shinier surface than the chiffon. (Now there’s a tongue twister for you.) I figured it would hold the pleating better than the filmy chiffon kind.

I decided to start off with ironing the fabric into some fan shaped pleats, in the hope that I’d get some fracture-looking lines from the dye running along them.

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Silk Scarf Dyeing

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Here’s a quick tutorial I put together on my recently learned method of dyeing silk chiffon scarves. –

Cinnamon Spice

My Father brought home some new tea yesterday. Tazo’s “Sweet Cinnamon Spice”, and believe me, it’s wonderful. The perfect thing for a crisp morning when biscuits are in the oven. The tea smells every bit as good as those cinnamon scented pinecones (the ones you walk by in stores and have to remind yourself over and over that they’re not edible) but it doesn’t taste as garishly cinnamon as some other cinnamon drinks. With a touch of honey, it’s beautiful.

This week has been a little more laid back than usual, but I don’t mind that at all. Friday will be a dye day, with some “hired to dye” yarns in various colorways.

But last week I was able to dye a whole bunch of my Fall yarns, and I am thrilled to report that the new yarn bases behaved themselves better than expected. Here are three of the new single-ply fingerings –

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And here is one of the two-ply superwash skeins. This one took the colors just like I thought it would – lots of brilliance and depth, and it held color changes quite nicely. I still really want to make something for myself from a skein of this yarn, and I finally found the perfect pattern. Now I just need to decide what color I want!

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A Typical Day at the Dyes

I’ve been dyeing lots and lots of yarn lately. And I do mean a lot. Between the thirty-odd skeins for Knitting With Jane, my Aunt’s visit, and getting in fall stock. . . yes. You get the idea. So, here is what a typical day of dyeing might looks like for me.