Hand-painting yarn is one of those things that never ceases to delight me. Perhaps I’m just easily entertained, but every time I open up a hand-painted skein or warp, I get a jolt of surprise and delight. The colors I selected have merged and combined in exciting and often unanticipated ways.
There are so many variables in hand-painting that you have to let go of expectations. The color is affected by how much dye you put on, how hard you press, how far you take the color, which colors you place next to each other, how the heating migrates the dye. Even a normally scientific dyer like me has to give in to the whims of fate when hand-painting yarn.
When I put the yarn into my dye microwave I never know exactly what I’m going to pull out.
I dyed the skeins above for a beginning rigid-heddle class I taught in Seattle recently.
When I teach—especially plain-weave projects—I like to give the students beautiful yarn to weave with. To keep materials fees low, I buy worsted weight wool in bulk, with as much merino content as I can get for a reasonable price, and dye it myself.
I always dye more skeins than I have students, using in a variety of colorways. That way there’s something for everyone. I’ve also found that starting a class by giving each student beautiful yarn that you hand-painted yourself really gets things off on the right foot.
As I’m writing this, the class has happened and several of these skeins above have been transformed into someone’s first handwoven project. I can’t imagine a better destiny for yarn.
Looking at these smiles, I’d guess the students agree…