My creative process and hand-dyed recipe for the latest yarn out of my dye pot. Meet Loch Ness!
The color inspiration this time began with looking for the perfect steely blue. Something universal for all genders, but I’m actually working on a “dad” design and was thinking of “dad” colors: jeans, flannels, squalls…
I pulled out the dye pot this week after unsuccessfully scouring the online marketplaces for the perfect color. Does this happen to you? There’s a bazillion color options available, but somehow I still struggle at times to find what I’m searching for. Even when I do find that exact right color for a project, the second challenge is finding it on the yarn base I need! I’m sure something is out there but this is why I love dyeing my own yarn. I can create what is in my mind in less time than I’d spend searching a thousand websites! Plus, I have a tub of all my favorite yarn bases just waiting for their special moment!
Dye Recipe – round 1
Round 1 created this blue (shabby photo directly out of the pot). I used a combo of Jacquard Gun Metal, Silver Grey, Navy Blue and Jet Black. I actually liked it a lot. It was a bit more like denim than steely blue. Similar to the perfect pair of aged jeans. Really, it was quite nice… but I had a wild thought as I was pulling it out of the pot thinking I was finished…
I’ve been really into nature/neutral greens lately and had the wild thought… what if I create a gorgeous sea-monster green with blue waters as the undertone? And so back into the pot it went and this is what happened next:
Dye Recipe – round 2
After round 2, I think it is absolutely gorgeous! It reminds me of a green you’d see on moss and algae covered rocks on a grey, overcast day. All I did after the blue was a couple dips into a mix of Golden Ochre & Jet Black. Dye pots are potion pots, folks. Don’t be afraid, just mix stuff up and be amazed at what surprises you’ll discover with unusual color mixtures.
This color was not at all in my mind when I started the process, but I’m so happy it’s what I ended up creating. I have a feeling I’ll be dyeing up many more skeins of Loch Ness!
Custom Yarn in a Day
I love that if you have the supplies on hand, you can easily create a custom yarn in a day and be knitting on it that evening.
Even with all the dye colors and multiple dips into the pot, you can see the water was perfectly clean in the pot. I always give it a wash in my very favorite Soak wool wash (no rinse required) and hang to dry in the sun. 2 hours later I was twisting up a skein just to show you all, and then it was right onto the winder to become a lovely cake.
The yarn base was important for the design this yarn is destined for. I pulled out a very special skein for a very special project. This is an 80/10/10 Extra-fine Merino, Cashmere, Nylon blend. It is a superwash merino, and I have laundered it before, but it gets very fluffy from all the jostling in the machine. I save it for projects I either won’t need to wash often, or that I don’t mind hand-washing.
This yarn is gorgeous. I’m a total sucker for cashmere. It may not be a large percentage, but somehow it just gives the loveliest haze and a soft, plump feel. It helps that it is 350m per 100g skein. I still consider it a fingering weight, 4 ply yarn, but typically my other wool blends are 400m per 100g skein. Less length equals plumper yarn!