Knitting Thru April – D is for Dyeing

Knitting Thru April – D is for Dyeing

Monday, I had a dream come true. As my obsession with wool grows, I find myself wanting to try everything related to knitting. Even the things that scare me a little, like dyeing.

Dyeing wool is a little intimidating.  Just look at any book about dyeing and before you get to the first chapter you are warned a dozen times about the dangers of dyeing anything. You are warned not to dye in your kitchen or use anything you ever want to cook with again.  You aren’t supposed to breathe the color and you have to protect everything.  As much as I am intrigued with dyeing I have never felt confident enough to do it because it is very intimidating.  The margin for error can be small and I just like to know what I am doing before I start something new.

One of the first books I ever picked up on dyeing was Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece by Gail Callahan.  This book makes me want to convert my basement to a dyeing studio and start mixing some colors.  Her teaching style makes everything seem easy and fun.

After I read Gail’s book, I found out she lives near me and works at my favorite yarn store, WEBS.  (If you are a knitter you probably know WEBS: America’s Largest Yarn Store.  I live 15 minutes away from this knitting Mecca that draws knitters from around the world.) I also found out Callahan holds dyeing classes but they are a bit pricey for me. So I resigned myself to someday learning from the Kangaroo Dyer.

This semester, my knitting teacher, who also works at WEBS with Gail Callahan, invited her to teach an introduction to dyeing to our class.  To say I was delighted is an understatement.  Here is one of my idols coming to teach me a skill I have been wanting to learn for over 4 years. This is one of those synchronistic moments that I love so much.

The class was so much fun.  It was a pleasure to work with Gail.  She is delightful and really understands color.  She even gave us each a copy of her color grid.  This cool tool is perfect for every knitter. You can match colors for a project and identify the contrast colors to really make it pop. If you want to know what she can really do you have to check out her website, The Kangaroo Dyer.  She makes the most amazing skeins of yarn.

We colored small bundles using varying ratios of the primary colors red, blue and yellow.  Each cup holds 12 tablespoons of prepared dye and we altered the combinations with 1-2 colors, i.e. 12T yellow, 9T yellow+3T Red, 6T yellow+6T red, and so on).  This was a great exercise in mixing colors because it took the mystery out of experimenting to get the right color.  Using this and her color grid you could make almost any color you like.

These are the fruits of my class. A range of fun colors.  My kids have asked to have me make baby doll blankets for their stuffed animals.  They are so cute.

I don’t think I am ready to build a dyeing studio in my basement yet but I am inspired to work more with colors and start knitting.

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