In which Nina dyes much faster than she can knit.

I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that in the last year, I have been bit by the dyeing bug HARD! Today I want to share two more of my food-dyed yarn experiments with you, and discuss how different put-ups of yarn can make the colors appear different.

The loop of yarn on the left is a crazy Multi that I don’t really have a name for yet. It was dyed with both food coloring drops and Easter egg dye tablets. The one on the right is inspired by irises, and was dyed with both food coloring drops and Wilton’s icing dye. Both of these were experiements in Julie Theaker’s cold-pour method and in leaving white in the dyed yarn to interplay with the other colors. When left in these loops, I really love the colors, after all, I planned them this way! They appear exactly the way I poured them and I can get a very good sense of how much of each color there is in proportion to the others, though I don’t get much sense at all of how the various colors might interact with each other in a knitted fabric.

Here are the same two loops of yarn, twisted into knots:

This is how I see most dyed yarn for sale comercially, and while the knots look really attractive to me, I find this to be one of the MOST misleading ways to display hand-dyed yarn. Compare these photos to the ones of the loops above. While you get a very faint idea of the interplay between the colors, it is not very accurate, since the colors are still confined to blocks and are not truly mixed as they would be in the knitterd fabric, and furthermore, you no longer can see the proportions of the colors in relation to each other, since some are hidden inside the knot.

Many dyers re-skein their yarn before knotting it up. By winding it into a slightly larger or smaller loop, the colors mix and you get a very clear idea of how they will interact in the knitted fabric. To re-skein the yarn, it is helpful to have 2 swifts, or a swift and a niddy-noddy. I only have one swift and my niddy-noddy is still packed from my last move, so I did the next best thing: wound my yarns into balls! You can see how different the colorways look when they are blended. You really get to see them in a different perspective. However, you do lose almost all sense of how MUCH of the skein is one color vs another one–the information that we had when the yarn was in loop form is almost all gone. And the cakes can be misleading; let’s compare the top of the Multi Yarn cake with the bottom:

These are the SAME ball of yarn! But clearly, the dark colors are more prevalent in the bottom and the light colors in the top–so we see that even in a ball it can be misleading. This colorway was my least favorite of the two when I dyed them, but now that it is wound up, I like it much more and am really excited to knit with it!

Irises, which was my favorite in the loop, surprised me a bit when I wound it into a ball:

I still love the colors and am excited to knit with it, but I think the white-green-orange bits are more dominant than I had envisioned.

Ultimately, I love both colorways I got, and now I can’t wait to knit with them! The base is the same as our Imagination Sock Yarn but I somehow feel that these yarns are too special for socks!! But they are so colorful–they might be overwhelming as another piece. What do you think? What should I knit with them?