I can't quite believe it but this month marks the month that I started dyeing yarn! It was in 2005 that I dyed my first skeins and since then, I haven't looked back. Most of my dyeing has been part-time up until just recently but what's even more interesting is looking back at my early dyeing style. Without even realizing this is my anniversary month, I had the chance to dye as I pleased this week and decided to go back to a technique I had been using when I first started dyeing yarns.
I remember now why I had decided to stop using this technique. Not only was it labour intensive but the results were very random in nature. At that time, understanding of the nuances of handpainted yarn wasn't as widespread so it was a bit of a challenge to explain to knitters why the colourway knit up so randomly. You have to understand - most knitters were accustomed to commercially available yarn that behaved in a predictable manner. These? Not so much!
However, let's flash forward 4 years to now and to just how much understanding has developed. The industry has evolved from a "oh my God, the colourway is acting randomly" to a "oh my God, I love how random this colourway is acting". What a lovely change! I'm so grateful for this because it means I can resurrect this technique so knitters can have the chance to knit with these yarns with the perfect project that compliments their random nature. What's that saying? We've come a long way baby!
If you like randomly dyed yarns, these are in the store and available for purchase...enjoy!
As I was browsing through my early skeins, I came across this one which I dyed in December of 2005 and was indeed one of my first skeins:
Can you believe I was dyeing semi-solids back then? They surely weren't all the rage they are now but I remember dyeing this skein in particular even now. I had put the yarn in the dye bath and had applied a few colours. Not being sure I was getting good enough saturation, I added more dye of a few different colours and promptly freaked out! Why? The colour of the water was brown and I was afraid I had ruined the skein. When it came out of the pot, I hadn't ruined it, in fact, I had created my first semi-solid! Back then we didn't even call them semi-solids.
Now I giggle to think I had struck on the latest craze way back in 2005. Ah, the evolution of handpainted yarns. I even crocheted this colourway into a scarf because it wasn't selling and as you can see, it is indeed a semi-solid.
So, morale of the story? It seems that handpainting goes through evolutionary stages like anything else. It's good to go back and visit these photos to see just where my techniques started and how they have changed to today. Maybe I need to revisit a few other techniques I used? Seems they come back into style!
And a couple more pictures of my first couple of baskets full of handpainted colourways. Today it doesn't seem like much but back then, believe me, it was a lot...LOL
As you can see, my colour sense has also evolved from when I first started dyeing to what it is today. What a fun trip down memory lane this has been! I could probably write a whole book on some of the other changes when I consider other things such as yarn availability/quality but I think I'll stop here as this post is getting long.
Thanks for reading if you managed to get this far - it's been a fun journey so far and Happy Anniversary to me! Looking forward to seeing what evolves into the years to come.