Hi there, if you have been reading my blog lately you will know that these days I’m doing lots of experiments with my dyeing and this weekend I did some gradient dyeing. The difference between striping yarn and gradient yarns (my definition) is that a striping yarn has 2 or more colors and usually each color will run X meters and knit up into a few rows/rounds of colour that either repeat themselves or not if you are doing a sort of rainbow stripes.
Gradient yarn/dyeing will have longer color sections that will then blend into each other. This can be done using colors that are similar and the transition from one color to the next is sort of natural, the color seems to change organically. Or you could do this using bright and contrasting colors where you will notice the end of one section and the beginning of the next, more than when using more muted or similar colors.
This also requires a new technique which is very different from dyeing striping yarn and is quite time consuming and I think that is why there is not a huge selection of hand dyed gradient yarn on the market and why that kind of yarn is higher priced.
I’ve long wanted to give this a try and as I had a client contact me requesting a custom dye order for gradient yarns, I jumped right in and said YES! Of course I can and will do this for you!
But before dyeing her chosen yarn base, I decided to do some test dyeing first. Both for me to work on my colors and combinations and also for her to see some examples and then choose her colorway. I did 2 sessions and I really like the outcome, especially for the second one. I made some mini skeins where each colour would run between 10-20 meters and used 4 or 5 colors per mini skein. It is not possible to dye gradient yarn in one skein so after dyeing I had to rewind my yarn into a skein for it to dry and then once dry I wound it into small yarn cakes. Yarn cakes don’t look as good when they are super small as they do when regularly sized but you will get the picture of what it looks like.
My first test:
Here I played around with mostly blues and greens in different tones and depths as well as some yellow as you can see. The cake at the top is the biggest I made and here I used 20 m per color where the rest is only 10 m per colour. My favorite is the big one at the top because I feel the colours really flow together and the second favorite is the middle one on the bottom, the blue one. The only “problem” with this one is that the blues are maybe too close in color to one another and so at times 2 different colors really flow as one so, I’ll have to rework that.
After this test I had some dye left and so I quickly dyed a full skein of sock yarn using up the leftover dye and I think it came out beautifully.
My second test:
Here the mini skeins are dry and I tried to lay them out in such a way as to show all the colors in each. So I did 4 skeins, 2 with 4 colors and 2 with 5 colors. Here they are wound into mini yarn cakes. Now I just need my client to make up her mind and then i’ll be ready to dye her chosen yarn base!
I’m really happy with the outcome and out of my 2 test session I can really see 5 colorways that I’d like to develop and repeat and I can see me doing those both for yarn and fibre for spinning. In this test my favorites are yarn cake nr 2 and 4 from the left. What do you think?
And today I embarked on a new test, not gradient but cotton! I’m not used to dyeing cotton. That requires a different kind of dyes and a different method. My supplier of undyed yarns just added some Pima Cotton to his offer and I decided to give that a try. Pima cotton is high quality cotton and the yarn can look and feel wonderful and as summer is here, I decide to give that a go. At this time my yarn is being dyed – it takes a long time- and I’ll soon be able to share more about that dye experiment and show you some pictures.
That’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed reading the post. Before I leave let me just tell you that in addition to the ongoing offer for a discount on FridaJo project bags there will soon be a super fun giveaway here on the blog so stay tuned:)