Friday, May 04, 2012

Mini-Skein Madness

     Every once in a while, I get the bug to do something different. Frequently, it starts off with somebody saying, "I will if you will..." and usually ends with me getting into some type of "trouble." Nothing illegal or dangerous, but it definitely will eat up some of my time when I should be doing something else.
     This time, it was a mini-skein swap. What's that? Basically, it's rather like a fiber arts exchange, but involves small quantities--usually 5 to 10 grams--of yarn. This one was a DIY hand-dyed yarn exchange between 20 people. The "rules" were pretty simple: Dye enough sock yarn to create 20 5g mini-skeins, label them all, then send them to the exchange coordinator, along with the usual Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope. Once all the mini-skeins are received (the "due date" for this exchange is May 17th), the coordinator will send everyone one each of the 20 different batches of mini-skeins. Send 20 identical mini-skeins out, get 20 different mini-skeins back. Piece of cake!
     I agreed to participate, then checked the stash for available sock yarn. Oops--I only had 3 skeins of ecru Kroy left. After trying (and failing) to score more ecru Kroy, I had to rethink my original plan of knitting up a blank on my knitting machine, then dyeing it in stripes to create a variegated yarn. I decided to fall back on a tried-and-true technique for creating wildly variegated yarns: a color ball. I wound the yarns together so there would be some consistency between the mini-skeins, then dyed the yarns last Sunday after I finished washing the black Shetland (see the previous post for more on that).
     It takes 18 yards of sock yarn to make a 6g mini-skein. I measured and wound, and twisted the mini-skeins with my tiny half-yard niddy-noddy, then carefully taped a pretty little label on each. I also found time to knit a mitered square swatch from some of the extra yarn, just so everyone could see what the skein produced.
     The yarns went into the mail this afternoon. I'm looking forward to seeing what I get back from everyone else.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

6,000 yards of hand-dyed
11/2 Shetland wool
Dress Journal #8/
Weaving Journal #4:
Black is Beautiful

     Not much to write tonight: too tired. I retrieved the skeins out of the two dye pots this morning, washed everything, then rigged them on the new yarn blocking rig to dry under tension with 3 bottles of wine to act as the weights. I'm really rather pleased with the results: both dye lots (one in each dye pot) match, and the two skeins that were originally blue are now indistinguishable from the eight other skeins. The skeins spent the day drying, and are now safely stored away until I'm ready to begin weaving the fabric.
     I wasn't done with the dyes. I need 20 5-gram mini-skeins of hand-dyed sock yarn for a sock yarn exchange, so I dyed the "cake" (a fiberista term for a center-pull ball of yarn) in the Tiffany colorway this afternoon. It too is washed and dried, and waiting to be chopped into 5-gram bits.
     I think I've done enough dyeing for right now. The next dyeing day will be after school is out in June and I get back from the Black Sheep Gathering.