Last Sunday I drove towards Zwartsluis early in the morning. Here is the shed where Sylvia van @wolmetverve has her domain. She dyes yarns that are sold internationally, but also has a shop there. A magical wonderful process that I wanted to take a closer look at to understand how those beautiful skeins are created and what is possible and impossible in the field of paint. I often have wishes that cannot be carried out and that is unfortunately not only limited to my crochet adventures. Almost every two weeks I go looking for something that does not yet exist or has been invented, but what I do need …. recognizable?
So after finding the shed, Sylvia was waiting for me with a big grin at the top of the stairs. After a short introduction we were able to get started. Sylvia took us down the stairs to her treasure room, which looked like a laboratory. The first thing that caught my eye was a large number of jars on two shelves above the counter and the racks that contained white skeins of yarn.
The wool that we were going to dye was already soaking in containers on the side and after the necessary precautions we could really start. Technique 1 was “speckles”. Super nice because the skeins that I buy often have speckles. That gives a nice playful effect. I sucked up all the info. A little bit of powder, less needed than you think, good distribution, multiple colors … Sylvia presented two skeins with fluorine dots. Then we were allowed to! YES! Because I can really use all the yarn that I get, the colors don’t really matter. As long as it is nice and colorful. So I also wanted something with those beautiful neon dots. Spoon in the jar, some powder on my hand, and just sprinkle. Not too much I always heard Sylvia say in my mind. So nice to be able to experiment and dye your “own” yarn.
The speckles became increasingly visible. A little acid over it and hop in the “bain marie” a warm steam bath, in which the wool was allowed to sit comfortably in order to let the color adhere. I could hardly wait to see how my two skeins would turn out. Let patience be just what I don’t really like. But Sylvia had also thought of this. She knew how to distract us perfectly with the following technique: paint an even color.
I came prepared! I brought a ball of “teal” that I know I will need more soon. So I wanted to make that color. Sylvia knew that that color did not exist on the color chart and therefore not among the many jars of powder, but we could mix it. The best option was discussed with the other ladies. After a little calculation, a formula came out. Mix so many mls of that color with so many mls of that color, together in a bowl of warm water, stir well, add a skein of wool and simsalabim voila a skein of beautiful turquoise, “poloise” I have baptized it.
By always keeping the ball of wool with the same color next to it, I was able to determine fairly well when it had to leave the dye bath and in the warm bath. And then wait again … not a minute, or 5 a few hours …. okay.
After a nice lunch and even more about wool / patterns and beautiful books we were allowed to go down again … look at the skeins.
And yes the speckles were ready. They were wrung out, admired and hung up to dry. After knowing a theoretical story, I started making two strands with multiple colors. Sylvia did this first and then we were allowed to do it again. I wanted something with pink / red and a dark contrast color. Sock wool is too thin for my projects, but I am going to process these strands into leggings. So already had a goal. After experimenting again with all those jars of powder, put all the skeins in a hot bath again. Then the solid skeins came out and they too had become beautiful. My Teal color was almost exactly the same as my scoop that I had brought with me. Mission accomplished.
Finally we painted a strict kidsilk. Mine became neon yellow with orange. I will use this for flowers on my new addiction: mohair shawls.
I greatly enjoyed this extensive day full of new educational techniques about dyeing yarn. It is highly recommended. Sylvia thanks for the nice look in your kitchen.