Take, for example, my current work in progress. It's a very simple pattern for a perfectly nice if rather unremarkable hat, but just looking at it lifts my spirits and puts a smile on my face. Even more so than the lusciously soft Malabrigo I'm using usually does. All because of this incredibly happy shade.
It's not for everyone, I know, but I love this colour so much I almost want to frog the hat so I can keep the yarn whole and complete forever.
Because I can't get any more of it; Barbie (hey, I don't have to love the name) is a discontinued colourway. Fortunately, I have another skein in its virgin state.
Another colour I'm loving at the moment is one I can fortunately replenish -- not, perhaps, perfectly, but almost so -- as often as I'd like, far into the future: the rich blue from my black bean dyeing:
Rachel (aka knitaddict) asked in the comments for the recipe. It's a super-simple one:
- Soak dried black beans (with my latest batch I used 975 grams of beans, and dyed about 500 grams of yarn. I'd recommend a dyestuff-to-yarn ratio of approximately 2:1 by weight) in water to cover by a couple of inches for 2-3 days. Add water as necessary to keep them covered by a good few inches. I kept them at room temperature for 24 hours, then put the pot in the fridge.
- Strain beans and keep them for soup/beans & rice/bean dip, etc. Some people put the yarn right in there with the beans, but I figure why waste good food?
- Transfer soaking liquid to a dye pot or bucket (you won't be heating the dye & yarn, so a bucket is fine). DON'T dye your yarn in pots you use for cooking!
- Add water -- enough to keep the yarn you'll be adding covered. Adding water does not dilute the dye, so don't skimp. You want the yarn to be well covered and surrounded.
- Add pre-soaked yarn to the dye pot/bucket. I soak the yarn for at least an hour in room-temperature water. I have only used yarn I pre-mordanted with alum and cream of tartar; I have no experience using un-mordanted yarn. I might try it next time to see what happens. Superwash wool takes up the dye much more than non-superwash does (see those pale ties on the yarn above? -- those are non-superwash wool). The yarn pictured above is superwash. The paler blue yarn pictured in my last post is non-superwash alpaca.
- Soak yarn until desired colour is achieved. The superwash above steeped at room temperature for 48 hours.
- Remove yarn, rinse in lukewarm water, then soak it in wool wash for a wee bit and let it dry.
- Exhaust the dye by adding new yarn to the dye pot, if desired. The alpaca was dyed after I removed the superwash.
Clear as mud?