Sunday, August 23, 2009

6 Value Dyeing and The Value of Support

This picture is my 6-value swatch in progress for the upcoming course at S.T.A.R.T. in Gananoque in September. S.T.A.R.T. is the annual teacher training weekend where teachers in the OHCG teach other teachers a selected topic - this year, Crewel design.

A while ago I did some spot dyeing for my dark background. It went well enough to fortify me to attempt some colour swatches for the various motifs. So this morning, I assembled all my supplies and fortified by my first cup of coffee, proceeded to do the Peony formula in Christine Little's Sky Blue Pink with a Green Smell.

My value swatch dyeing to date has been seldom and not always successful. The method that Christine outlined in her book (isn't that the best name ever?) seemed simpler and didn't involve any math, so I decided to give it a whirl. Her books feature Magic Carpet dyes, which is what I use.

She starts off pretty much the same as any other dye exercise. Mark 6 jars with numbers 1 (lightest) through 6 (darkest). Mix the formula in 1 CBW. The next step is the basis of her method. You pour 1/2 cup of the 1 cup formula into a second measuring cup and pour that into your Jar #6 (darkest value). then you top the formula in the first measuring cup back up to the 1 cup measure - and repeat the process - 1/2 cup goes into measuring cup 2 and then gets added to Jar #5 - and so on and so on. So you are topping up from 1/2 to 1 cup and then halving the mixture for each progressively lighter value.

The stirring and sweating was exactly as I remembered and my course at Trent with Barbie Baker Dykem all came flooding back. This time, however, the results were really great. There is just the right progression from one value to the next with no big leaps and no two values too similar. Yippee, I think I have found another way to avoid math in my life!!!

However, no sooner had I finished my dyeing exercise than a note came on my BlackBerry from the committee attaching a dip dye formula for the class participants who will be doing the wide-cut Crewel - namely me. Oh well, now that I have had two dyeing successes in a row, I will give dip dye a whirl next weekend with one of the other colours and still use my beautiful swatches if I can.

This picture is my left hand wearing my new Theraglove - my right hand has one as well. I learned about these from a couple of people at Trent this year. One of my students came to class directly from a "Knit Off" (I didn't even know those existed) and she was wearing hers, so I asked her for the scoop. She said she wears them all the time to give her hands a little help. And after her victory at the K.O., she really needed the extra support.

My friend Loretta was also wearing one when I visited her classroom and swears by them. Loretta hooks in the primitive style - wide cuts - and several hours a day. She thinks these are what keep her going. They are like support hose for your wrists and really do seem to make a difference. I did a little online research and found mine at Mary Maxim, but I think you can probably get them in most knitting shops.

They are supposed to help with any repetitive craft exercise. And since I do them all, my lovely blue animal print beauties are going to get a run for the money (approx. $24.). I am delighted to give my poor hands any help I can. Heaven knows I certainly abuse them enough. Between the computer and the knitting and the hooking and whatever else, they look like the mitts of a much older woman, and the arthritis that is already in my index fingers is not about to stop there, I'm sure.

Both of these things seemed worth sharing here on the blog. I heartily recommend both the 1/2 cup swatch method and the Theragloves.


Susan S said...

Hi from Edmunston, NB enroute to Shediac NB for a couple of weeks. I also love the 1/2cup dye method which I originally learned many years ago from Joan Boyle, a fantastic teacher from when she was in the Ottawa/Brockville area. I also found if some values weren't quite differentiated enough, especially at the darker ends that I would add a toothpick of black to the jar.
Thanks also for the heads up of the theragrip glove. Will definitely look for them as I know several of my hooking friends having problems, especially with wider cuts. Cheers, Susan S

Tammy in Ontario, Canada said...

I am interested in the START program you are talking about. I live in the Brockville area and have never heard of it. When you mentioned Loretta- were you talking about Loretta Moore?

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