Monday, July 2, 2007

Yes, I'm still updating! Day 3

I wasn't kidding when I said I was behind! Now you know why it seemed like such a daunting task to catch up... and once you're behind on this thing, it kind of snowballs! :-D

So, today, I'm going to try and explain how I got to that --->
(so, if you aren't reading this when it's the top post, "that" is my etsy store)

Well, I've been doing some at-home dyeing for a little while now. Off and on for about a year. I haven't done much since I started the blog... mainly some solids (or, semi-solids really). But I was never that thrilled with the results. They were fine, but nothing like the beautiful stuff that I saw online. And honestly, I wasn't expecting to be as good as them, just decent enough to be happy with the results and use them. My success rate so far had been about 50/50.

So, a little over a month ago, I decided to try and do some new dyeing experiments. I had been doing some research, and I began to realize that maybe my problem wasn't the colors I was using, but rather how I was approaching dyeing. Whether you can tell or not -- I'm a very logical person. Sometimes a little TOO logical, sometimes to the extreme of being a bit of a control freak. And in this case, that's where I was running into problems. I was approaching this in too logical of a fashion, trying to control the results too much. Not that this is necessarily is bad, especially in the hands of an expert. But I needed a better understanding of how the colors interacted before I could start using some logic. Basically, I just needed to let go a bit! So I did. I took hold of "kettle dyeing" and when bananas! I rummaged through my (embarassingly large) stash for anything and everything undyed, and started with a few experiments. Again, using many of the colors I tried in the past... but this time, I used them in a kettle instead of painting them. And from that, out came stuff like this:


and this:


And I realized that some of these were pretty good! So I kept going... this time being a bit more adventuresome. And ended up with this:


and this:


Like I said, this is not the full selection, just a few highlights. But from these results, I was getting alot of complements from friends on some of the boards I frequent.

So why did I start all of this? Because of some beautiful work I was seeing from an online friend, Lamar. I just loved the stuff she was coming up with, despite the fact that she was relatively new to the yarn dyeing world. And I began to realize that, while experience is important, a good eye for color is even more so. And I've been told that I have that. The experience with dyeing comes with time and, well, experience. The more I play with the colors, the more I push myself to try new and unusual things, the more tricks I learn, and the better I understand how the colors interact.

Of course, the question becomes, what the heck am I going to do with all this yarn and fiber?!?!? I can only knit so much, and the time I had available to knit was significantly more limited as I spent more time spinning and dyeing. It's an odd conundrum, really. I spend more time spinning and dyeing so I can have all the yarns that I imagine in my head. But then I don't have time to use them all! So I decided to start putting a few of them on Etsy, to see what happened. But the idea of doing much more scared the living crap out of me!

Well, around the same time, Lamar was coming to some of the same conclusions, as was another online friend, Colleen. So I sent an email to them suggesting that maybe we could try doing this together in one collective store... and Tiny Lady Cooperative was born! (Colleen gets credit for the name! :-D) We are still working on getting ready for our grand opening (right now scheduled for mid to end of July) but in the mean time I've continued dyeing up a storm. My work is going to be under the title "Woobies Wool" (inspired, for those that don't know, by my daughter's "comfort object" aka "Woobie" -- a pink and purple stuffed horse.) I know, a bit odd. But my husband came up with it for my blog, and this way, I feel like I'm including both of them in my endevor by naming it such...

In the mean time, I've even sold some stuff!!! My first sale was the fiber in the first picture -- Sandstorm. I still don't know who she is, but if you ever read this, thank you!! I'd love to hear what you think of the fiber and see what the results were. I sold a few skeins of yarn along the way too! I think one of my most popular so far has been Starry Night (the dark one with the yellow highlights).

Also, I had a wonderful day with my spinning guild. It was fun regardless of selling fiber. I always love attending them. It's so nice to hang out with people who don't think I'm looney for loving spinning so much! Plus, I usually learn at least a few things each time. So, on the guild leader's suggestion, I brought what I had dyed. I didn't go intending to sell stuff (although the guild leader had expressed interest in one! :-D), just get opinions. But I walked away having sold 5 braids of fiber! WOW!! It was the greatest ego boost... several people I respected greatly actually liked my work enough to buy it! Also, I got an inspiration (again from Karen, our leader) for a new colorway... Just Peachy:

Just Peachy

Since then I've done stuff from the unusual:

Alien Experiment

to the complex:

Summer Garden on Finn worsted yarn

to the earthy:
Loch Ness

and the vibrant:
Erin go Bragh

And tons more in between.... if you go exploring through my flickr account, you can see a bunch more.

I've even done some interesting stuff with natural dyeing. The goal is to use it mostly for an "environmentally sustainable" (aka from a farm that follows organic standards, but can't afford or isn't willing to pay to get the "official" designation), but I've also tried it on sock yarn as well. So far, I've done, Madder, Alkanet root, and Indigo, with my favorite results being the indigo (the picture on my flickr account isn't the greatest b/c at the time it was still damp. I'll try and upload the better photo that I used for Etsy later). And, apparently, someone else really liked it as well, but she was rather disappointed when there was only one skein. Luckily, I found out through another board posting that a friend alerted me to.(It's a board I don't frequent as much anymore b/c it's VERY oriented towards all the pretty CD's on hyenacart... and I just find it too sad to see all that pretty stuff and not have a reason to buy it for my currently potty training daughter!) Since she wanted it for a shawl, and that was on sock yarn, I suggested she try it on another yarn I had that is softer and much nicer for shawls. She agreed, and this is my most recent dyeing results:

Rubina's Blue Sky Happiness on BFL Fingering

I'm quite happy b/c it turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. Hopefully she is as pleased!

OK, that's all I have time for now. I'm almost caught up at this point! Hopefully today's picture heavy post doesn't overwhelm! Tomorrow, I'll spend time on where I'm going from here....


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