Thursday, February 12, 2009

Uncharted Territory

The past few weeks have proven unproductive in my knitting world. I have had a few ideas but no new projects have materialized. I think it may be time for me to dust off the cobwebs and just come up with something.

Turning to yarn for some inspiration, I have discovered how amazing hand-dyed and hand-painted yarns are. Besides, maybe a small project will lead me into something larger. Last weekend, I bought a skein of Stefanie Japel's newest batch of bamboo, the Hope colorway (she came up with it while watching the inauguration). It hasn't arrived yet, but I am so excited to crank out a little spring scarf as soon as it gets here. But I joked to my husband that it may be too pretty to knit!

Looking through all of her photos of the colorways she has made got me thinking that I'd like to experiment. So I did a little research and got some ideas of different methods and tools. Not to my surprise, my town's selection of products for such an experiment wasn't great. But since this was just a practice trial, I made use of what I could find.

I looked through many hand dyed yarns on Ravelry and came up with some colors I'd like to try. Here's my first attempt, before & after:

I'm pretty happy with my first hand-dyed hank! I used some inexpensive 100% mercerized cotton, which took the dye almost too good. I was hoping for more muted colors, not pastel, just not so bright. The real test will be how a knitted item turns out. I'm looking through cowl patterns, and I think I've decided to try the Darkside Cowl first. I may wait for my second hank to dry and use it first, since I think it turned out better.

Here's number two, in the same colors, at a different concentration:

I like the way the brown came out better with this one. I've washed it again since this picture was taken, in the hopes that I could fade the colors slightly. I'll have to wait to see if it worked until it finishes drying.

Here are a couple of pics of the process:

I'm already thinking of new colors to use next time!