Happy to Dye (that’s D-Y-E, not D-I-E)

Earlier this year I gave away two ‘dyeing’ sessions using yarn from our farm. (I still have 6 waist-high bags full, so if you want to dye, just let me know!)

The first winner was my friend Pam. Let’s call her Guinea Pig #1.

At the farm I had a 7 foot kitchen counter in the laundry room, with everything I needed within 5 steps. At the new house, I lack the space to do this, so because we installed a ceiling under the deck to keep that area dry, I decided that would be the spot. But that meant everything had to come outside, table, and chairs and water, etc.

Here’s Pam painting her skeins on an old screen door covered with a shower curtain:

Pam applying dye to the yarn

The screen door was a fail. Grrr. But we managed. Here are two skeins dyed, wrapped in cellophane, and ready for the microwave:

the yarn dying is done

Here we are with the final product, a lovely blue and green yarn.

Catherine and Pam with the finished yarn

I learned so much from my session with Pam—basically everything was too hard and took too long. Sorry, Guinea Pig #1. Thanks for your patience!

I made some adjustments, then came another giveaway winner, Kellie. Let’s call her Guinea Pig #2. It was great to see Kellie, whom I’d worked with as a freelance editor 15 years ago.

Here’s Kellie working on her skeins, using an actual table this time. (Screen door’s going to the dump.)

Kellie applying dye to the yarn.

Here we are with the final product, which looks like a sunset.  (This is one of my first selfies. Sheesh. I need to join the 21st century.)

Kellie and the finished yarn

Things went much better with Kellie, but there was still room for improvement. My cooperative Guinea Pig #2 helped me make a list of ways to streamline the process even more. A better place to mix the dyes! Another table! Samples of yarn dyed in each color!

I have someone coming to dye in another week. Since she’s actually paying for the experience,  I cannot use her as a guinea pig. Hopefully I’ve worked out most of the kinks!

The one thing I learned from my time with Pam and Kellie is that I love doing this—-the results are different every time, and it’s a good reminder for me that it’s okay not to always be in control.

Basically, the dye’s gonna do what the dye’s gonna do.

Now if I could just apply that pearl of wisdom to the rest of my life…

2 thoughts on “Happy to Dye (that’s D-Y-E, not D-I-E)”

  1. Looks to me as though your two guinea pigs were having a ball, so that in itself qualifies as a great success. Although I know nothing (well, less than nothing) about dying yarn, it all looks beautiful to me.

    P.S. Love your glass frames!


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The Big Pivot

About Me

After twenty-five years on the farm, I’m adjusting to the adventures of city life. Part of that adjustment is figuring out what I want to write about now, since sheep are no longer part of my daily life. I’m challenging myself creatively by painting with pastels and playing the ukelele as I seek my new writing path.

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Minnesota State Arts Board grant

Catherine Friend is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.