Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wool Tickles

I’m not referring to the physical sensation of wool which can range from luxurious and sensual to down-right itchy. I’m talkin’ the tickle from the inside when you get to play with it. I have spent the last month playing with my dyes and my fibers. I get such a kick seeing what happens with colors blending, bleeding their lives into each other, making new colors I hadn’t thought of. The unexpected, unplanned, or accidental, turn out to be so rich, complex, and sometimes stunning.

I tend toward formal arrangement in my art, planning, and calculating for predictable results. I am working on being less controlling.  Seeing the beauty of the unplanned has been very encouraging to me. I’m beginning to welcome the possibilities of results that are actually better than my original ideas.

As I have been playing, I’ve been recognizing how each different process produces very different outcomes. Each step changes the fiber’s color or appearance. The color of the roving concentrates as the fibers twist with each other. While spinning, it thrills me to see one color morph as I draw another shade or color out gradually from the dyed roving. Add multiple plies and we’re adding another whole dimension. And yarn spun from colored fiber, either dyed roving or card blended, is much different from dyed yarn.

My planning self likes the wide range of possibilities of dyeing yarn. I’ve done batik and shibori, so, naturally, I needed to try resist dyeing with yarn. 

Having done some stranded and fair isle knitting, I tried dyeing for a faux fair isle effect. Recycling plastic grocery bags, I cut strips to tie areas I wanted to resist the dye. In some cases, I dyed the yarn then added the ties and over-dyed. 

One can get pretty predictable results. Swatching reveals the general effect but that varies with gauge and stitch count. I was playing with sock yarn so I swatched in the round. 

Once I saw what I had done, I couldn’t wait to adjust the tie pattern or try another color combination. The possibilities are endless, especially if I welcome the unexpected.

I’m going back to my Dyeary now. I’m going to giggle out loud while I play so my family will know how much fun I’m having.

Giggle often. And Good Stitches