Yellow, Seriously?

This weekend at Westport Yarns we had the great pleasure of having Trish from Tanglewood Fiber Creations teach a dyeing class. I worked on Saturday and Danni told me that in the class she learned that you had to add yellow to make color combinations work. Yellow, seriously? I mean yellow is great for flowers, the sun, and other people. I simply do not do yellow. I whined about this to anyone who would listen and/or sympathize. I even peppered Trish with questions about this.

Finally I acquiesced to the fact that the reason I was taking the class was to LEARN and I didn’t know the first thing about dyeing yarn. (but, yellow?)

Thankfully Beth bought a tent for the class because it was raining for most of the day. We were quite comfortable under the tent.
Trish gave an excellent talk about the dyeing process and the color wheel with some anecdotal comments about people not wanting to add yellow (gee, I can’t imagine who she was referring too ~ other than Jennifer P. and me.)
She dyed a sample skein where we picked out the colors. I jumped right in. Jennifer P. would take off the lids so that Trish would be “surprised”. It was really fun and interesting.

Jenny K. made a dye chart with swatches of color for reference.
That was a HUGE help.

I made many scribblings of possible color combinations using the color wheel for guidelines. The color wheel comes with instructions on what colors play well with what. It’s very interesting to be a teacher and then be in a position of total newbie.

I posed my quandary to Trish. The colors I wanted to use were purple, teal, blue, and a dash of pink. Trish is very good at what she does. Her classic line is “I’m not the boss of you”. She laid out the “rules” of dyeing and if you wanted to fly in the face of that well, she would say, “I’m not the boss of you”.

She suggested I start out with those colors and then evaluate it. The other thing she suggested was that I choose (for my experiment) which ever item (silk scarf or yarn) that I was willing to kind of sacrifice to the experiment. My words, not hers.
I chose the scarf. Trish taught us to apply the dye from darkest to lightest color, which I did. After I put my fab four colors on my scarf I totally could see what she meant. It needed something and as much as I hate to admit it, it was yellow. After I added the yellow, could see how it still needed something. There is a divisible into 12 rule and 5 just wasn’t going to work. Trish suggested Chestnut. The woman is excellent at what she does. It’s like a chef who knows just what ingredient makes the dish.
I didn’t swish my scarf around too much because I didn’t want it to get over-dyed with the Chestnut. You can see the chestnut on the right side of the scarf.
As a result my scarf has a more ty-dyed look to it versus the other scarves. Still, I learned a lot and that was the point.
For my first pair of skeins of yarn (shibui undyed fingering weight yarn). I chose a triad of colors Alpine blue, emerald green, and pink. It is subtle and lovely.

My second pair of skeins I dyed more tonally because the recipient (and you know who you are), does not go for boldly variegated yarns.
Here’s Jenny K checking out the days dyeing. It’s amazing how different everyone’s colorways are.
I can’t express enough what an excellent learning experience this was. Not only did I get to dye my own stuff, I have a new level of respect for hand-dyers. There is so much that goes into this process – no wonder no two dye-lots are alike and colors at the top of the pot will look different than colors at the bottom of the pot.
It was truly a magical day and I look forward to doing it again when Trish comes back in October….