A little bit of red goes a long way

It was six years ago that I took a class in color that included some hands-on dyeing from Lizbeth Upitis and Joyce Williams at a Yarns by Design Spring Midwest Masters Seminar. I was (am) completely enthralled by them and took three classes from that dynamic duo over the weekend, but color and dyeing is the one that's really stuck (specifically, the over-dyeing and Kool-aid).

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I knit these booties with the Kool-aid yarn I dyed in that class.

About three years ago, I was moved to order some Jacquard Acid Dyes and several hanks of Bare yarn in various weights from KnitPicks to try some dyeing on my own. I'm not quite sure what spurred me right then, but I'm sure there was a good reason! I'm also not sure what happened to my enthusiasm.

Then, of course, I was over the moon just a few weeks ago over the very small and personal dyeing workshop in Scotland with Lilith at Old Maiden Aunt Yarns. One of the best parts was doing it with Katie & Ali and feeling their excitement!

When we returned home, I found and took stock of all the dyeing materials I'd stashed. Project Spectrum came along and provided the spark to nudge me even further -- like, all the way! Let's DO this thing. I located the books about dyeing that I'd requested (and received) for my birthday in 2007, found a couple more, and then set out to gather tools -- containers, measures, stirrers, pots, etc.

These are the books aiding me in my colorful exploration (you can never have too many books):

The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook by Lynne Vogel;

Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece by Gail Callahan;

Teach Yourself Visually: Hand Dyeing by Barbara Parry;

and Natural Dyeing by Jackie Crook.

Next post: More about natural dyeing!

...all these reds will be very different

If one says "Red" – the name of color – and there are 50 people listening, it can be expected that there will be 50 reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different. --Josef Albers

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Dear Mother Nature,

Flowers blooming in a greenhouse window (Crown of Thorns) are very nice, but I should like to see some flowers blooming outside. Really. A whole bunch of 'em! It's time. Maybe some leaves on the trees, too. And you know what else? I should not be seeing even one snowflake of any type falling from the sky on May 3rd. I'd like to ride my bike outside soon -- without having to wear snowpants. Thanks.

Lots of love,


Red letter day

Red numbers, too.

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And so it begins, Project Spectrum 5: The Basics.

On Saturday, I measured and wound nearly 200 little balls of eight different types of yarn (variations on the themes of fiber and weight) in preparation for Project Spectrum. Almost all of them are still waiting to be wound and tied into little mini skeins of yarn for various dyeing experiments.

Hopefully, these little experiments will develop and become more sophisticated over the next several months -- as I become more comfortable with the whole process. For now, I'm very excited to have a) tied one skein of each type of yarn, b) mixed up some dye, c) calculated some calculations, and b) turned this bare yarn red -- Fire Red! -- and without turning too much of anything else red in the process. (I wore a red shirt).

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It's also Macro May!

Next week, I plan to pull out the dye pot again and try something else. I hope to riff on PS with the dye pot about three times each month, trying different recipes, techniques and ideas, before deciding on how to dye the skein of yarn that I have set aside for each month/color and choosing an appropriate project. I sort of tried to do that in advance, but I think it's one of those things that's just going to have to happen; hopefully, I'll "hear some voices" and figure it out.

Outside of gathering materials, that's pretty much how I've approached the whole project -- figuring it out as I go along.

What's going to happen next!?

"1, 2, 3 Red Light" by bubblegum band of my youth, 1910 Fruitgum Company!


Color my world

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Full double rainbows & Trek bike, outside London (last day)

I've enjoyed Project Spectrum from the beginning... and always from afar. Never infected by the PS bug, myself, I've been content all these years to sit back and enjoy everyone else's Spectrum projects... until now. And oh boy!

Timing is everything, I guess, and this couldn't be better. No stranger to color in my knitting, there are aspects of Project Spectrum speaking to me on many different levels. The word "obsessed" comes to mind, as I've been thinking of almost nothing else since I read Lolly's post. I've been contemplating, planning, defining, and interpreting "Project Spectrum: The Basics" (and "project" and "spectrum" and "basics") to suit my needs (and capabilities and interests), contemplating how every little thing relates (or could relate).

The Basics.

I've been hashing out ideas and acquiring materials to help with my exploration; there will certainly be photography, dyeing, knitting, and cooking, and we'll just see what else happens. Stay tuned... better yet, join in!

May = Red