Monday, March 4, 2013

So many puns, I don't know where to start

So let's pretend I opened with a groaner and move on from there, yes?

Lately, I've been really interested in learning how to dye yarn. Up until recently, this was something that interested me about as much as spinning--which is to say, not at all. (Sorry, spinners. It's not you, it's wool.)

But when the more I've started to think about it, the better it sounds. Firstly, and most obviously, it's a chance to play! with! colors! And I love playing with colors.

More specifically, though, it's a chance to get the colors I want in the fibers I want. I'm sensitive (though not allergic) to animal fibers--any fiber, any blend, any quantity, pretty much. Plant fibers, though? Oh, plant fibers. I want to marry plant fibers and have their plant fibery babies forever. Merino, angora, alpaca? Meh, whatever. Cotton, linen, bamboo, soy, hemp? A thousand times yes! (Silk too, even if that is, properly speaking, an animal fiber.)

But animal fibers are easier to dye, and animal fibers are what the rest of the world loves best, which means that the vast majority of the scrumptious, gorgeous, brilliantly-dyed yarns out there are--yes--animal fibers.

So maybe, instead of getting needlessly frustrated over whatever latest handpainted bit of lovely I can only find in bleeping merino, I could just... do it myself.

So I did some research, and it turns out it's not as intimidating as it could be. (Knitty did a great article on dyeing plant fibers that I suspect I'm going to be coming back to again and again.) Of course, it's not something I can do right this minute--dyeing of any kind requires dedicated containers and utensils--you can use kitchenware, but you better only use it for dyeing. I don't have room to store a whole separate set of pots, let alone the counter and sink space for it. (And we won't even talk about where I could possibly hide the drying skeins from my horde of destructive cats.) But we're talking about buying a house this summer (!!!), so perhaps this won't have to stay on the back burner for too much longer.

And in the meantime, I'm developing an increased appreciation for the hand-dyed silk/linen I'm knitting with now. There's something really hypnotic about watching the color changes slip through your fingers as you work.

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