Last fall I met Kate, aka A Hundred Ravens, at the Fiber Festival of New England. When I say “met” … I mean I drooled over the yarn and roving in her booth, bought some of each, and staggered on to the next booth. Our whole group of mad knitters agreed her colors were most excellent. Later on, I spun up the gorgeous teal roving I bought from her, and made a cowl. At some point I joined the Ravelry group for A Hundred Ravens. I noticed (how could I not!) that Kate was looking for designers to make patterns featuring her yarn. Since I knew I’d be doing a second collection of one-skein shawls, highlighting indy dyers, it seemed like a match made in heaven!
Eventually we both got organized at the same time, and Kate invited me over to help dye the yarn for the shawl I was designing — wow! I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I dug around in my stash, turning up an undyed skein of rustic wool from a farmer’s market, plus I asked her to help my fix some “problem” yarn I’d received as part of a friend’s destash. Then, like a crazy person, I visited Mind’s Eye and bought two handfuls of merino roving and a big skein of Kona sport superwash. Yes, that’s right … I showed up on a stranger’s doorstep with a whole bag full of undyed stuff. I have to admit I was a little worried that I would overstep the bounds of good guest manners….. but Kate was super welcoming and said I could dye any and all.
Let’s start with the yarn I was there to “help” dye — Iachos in the Styx colorway (newest iteration). Throughout the afternoon of dyeing, please know that the majority of work and so forth was Kate’s — she directed me and let me play, and I’d stammer out “maybe green?” and she’d produce a magical deep emerald color. So, credit goes to her in all cases — any mistakes are mine to own.
Next up: my farmer’s marker wool. I’ve had it since 2009, and I always wanted it to be robin’s-egg blue with brown spots (you know, like the real eggs). That’s all I had to say, to turn this …
… into this:
It’s like magic! 🙂 I put on the brown spots myself, with a juice box straw.
I brought six skeins of KP Shimmer in a … shall we say, “difficult” colorway: Grape Hyacinth Quick side story … some months ago, a totally unrelated person gave me five skeins of this exact colorway. She had swatched with it and been unable to find anything that worked. Laceweight yarn, with short color repeats of deep purple, bright white, and anemic mint green:
It’s one of those colorways that looks ok on the skein, but the color repeats are so short, and the contrast so great … it’s really hard to knit it into anything that looks remotely nice. I read through the project notes for Grape Hyacinth Shimmer, and was shocked by the amount of frogging and the number of people who planned to over-dye the finished object. I also didn’t find any projects that looked amazing … bah. So, those five skeins went to “for sale or trade”
Goodbye, crazy yarn! May you turn magically into something pretty.
Imagine my consternation and surprise when I opened up a big bag of free “good” yarn from a friend …. and saw six more skeins of this obstinate colorway. What?? I guess no one knows what to make of it. Thanks to the wonders of an expert dyer, I was able to turn this …
… into this:
Now I have 2600+ yards of totally pretty lace-weight yarn. If I can track down my copy of the Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting, perhaps this will become a Rose of England.
One important thing I learned from Kate is that superwash wool takes up dye like it’s going out of style, and untreated wool just lies there, looking wan and hopeless. I really, really lie the “Ashes of Roses” look to this roving …
… but you’d never guess we’d dipped it in rich purple and black. For the other hank of roving, Kate sent me home with a bottle of green dye. I put the roving in a bowl full of dye and microwaved it for 8 minutes. Heat did the trick!
Last but not even a little bit least, my kona sportweight — totally beautiful.
Thank you Kate! It was awesome to dye with you.