Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lots of Fun, and Yarn too!

A few weeks ago I was whiny because I had gone to a pair of advanced knitting classes and discovered that I didn't like everybody, and that I really didn't like being stuck in a class where everybody I don't like blithers on and on and on about their "creative process" and the pattern they just "must" design.  Bah.

The following week I went to a class where the people spent a lot less time getting on my nerves and a lot more time playing with yarn and bottles full of stuff that stains the yarn and my faith in the general like-ability of my fellow knitters has, for now, been restored.

There were a bunch of wild and crazy things going on at this class.  First, it was a sock dyeing class held (don't faint) inside a yarn shop.  Not in a separate safe room that had been emptied of all fiber goodies and had its floor covered in plastic.  Actually in the yarn shop, within reach of the yarn and the patterns, the carpet (which worried me the most) and (I didn't have the foresight to worry about this and for once it wasn't my fault) the ceiling.  Second, everyone was reallyreallyreallysuperextra nice, and not even a little annoying.  No one mentioned their "muse" or their "creative process," not even the teacher who actually does have a creative process (and perhaps is a little too busy exercising her creativity to waste her time (or mine; like the double parens?) blithering about said CP).

Third, they let me touch the bottles of dye.  This was the true craziness of the afternoon.  They let me stand in a yarn shop full of real yarn and carpeting and other people while holding bottles of dye.  And they were fearless about it.  No one seemed to think that I might drop a bottle on the floor or bump into a neighbor and make her drop her bottle or that I might, in the sheer joy of artistic discovery and unable to contain my creative process one moment longer, run madly around the yarn shop dyeing anything in my way.  They didn't even put plastic under my feet, which made me think I was in the company of some serious risk takers.

The class, taught by the exuberant (and very funny) Jennifer of Holiday Yarns,  was meant to be an opportunity for us to learn a little about hand dyeing while decorating two skeins of sock yarn.  Jennifer didn't even limit our color choices, which was both incredibly generous and incredibly insane of her, since she had to spend a lot of time mixing all of our colors.  The hard part, of course, was figuring out the color combinations we wanted.  Some of the people wanted tonal stuff, but most of us spent the first 45 minutes combing the yarn store for color combinations we liked.  This was as much fun as the rest of the class and I met a lot of new yarns and colors that I liked.

Here is my first combination (though it was the second skein that I dyed)


and the skein that I made from those colors.

Can you believe they left that open tub of dye near me?
I feel like I could accidentally knock it over just by looking at the picture.

The idea behind this skein is to get a Monet-like feeling, rather than stripes.  I haven't been bold enough to knit it yet, so I can't tell whether it worked or not.

Combo 2:


and its skein:


One of the things I learned from the class is that I am not very good at putting the dye where I want it.  You can even see a few blue dots where I strayed from my center line and I had a rotten time getting the dye to start squirting in the right spot.

Skeins from about half of the class:

They look like they are about to slide off the table, don't they?
Nate looked at this picture too quickly and thought it was a table full of skateboards. 

My favorites are the two at the top with all the sprinkles in the middle, and if I hadn't gotten so bogged down in my color choices, I would have loved to do a confetti skein like that.  Then again, the methodology requires you to sprinkle the dots of color  without drowning the yarn in colors, restraint being the key to success.  I could never have left enough white space to make the skein work.  I would have been having too much fun flicking the dye bottle around and soon enough I would have had a big old mess.  There is always next time, though, when I might be older and wiser and better able to contain my enthusiasm with the dye bottle.

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