Friday, August 6, 2010

Dye lots

First things first, I get to announce the winner of August 1 Giveaway! There was a lot of fun discussion of favorite cartoon characters, and I was reminded of a lot I'd forgotten. But, on to the winner! has chosen Nephnie to receive the skein of Jackrabbit in the Red Desert colorway. Congratulations, Nephnie!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I've been pondering dye lots and my ability to reproduce colorways. Mostly because I had a batch of Heirloom Tomatoes come out nothing at all like the past versions. And I've noticed this with certain of my older recipes from last year; they're not working out quite the same. It's a bit disconcerting.

However, I have pretty good success with current colorways.

These are two batches each of Starry Night and Long Walk laid out on foamcore boards. I could have arranged Long Walk slightly better to demonstrate the interval, but I think it's still clear that these are essentially the same colorways, despite the inevitable differences. The biggest difference between the two batches of Starry Night is where the yellow intervals occur, and that has to do with how I tied the skeins before they went into the pot. They tend to match within a batch, and be wildly different between lots. And that makes sense since I try and make them match when I'm dyeing the batch, but I don't have the previous batch to reference.

I think what's happening is that the variables are greater when there's 9 months between this time dyeing a colorway and that time dyeing a colorway. The way I mix the dye stock is a little different, the dye lots on several of my dye powders has changed, and then there are the innumerable differences in temperature, acidity, and even invisible differences in the base yarn.

It is a little frustrating, however, to have a recipe that worked time and again and then stops working. Luckily, it's very difficult to have something that's completely disastrous. Even if it's not the original intended colorway, something beautiful is possible.


Audrey said...

I recently went to a historical village and saw some older ladies demonstrating spinning and natural dying as they would have done it in the olden days...and the whole time I was thinking about you and your yarn dying. I love reading about your experimenting and whatnot. :)

lylian.mae said...

They're still great colorways. Some of my favorites in fact. ;)