Well, I hope I didn’t raise expectations a bit too high when I said that the highlight of my past weekend deserved a post of its own. Truth is, I ventured where many knitters have ventured before, but it was a big step for me—and a successful one to boot. I guess I’ll start from the top…
Holidays have always been a big deal in my family which means I can’t imagine Easter without a little egg dyeing. So, on my way to the knit-a-thon last Sunday I decided to swing by the grocery store and pick up a dozen white eggs and one of those $2.99 Easter egg dyeing kits.
What is a knit-a-thon, you may wonder? It’s a glorious, all-day event full of demonstrations, talks, book signings, and more. I was especially intrigued by this particular knit-a-thon at the Wellesley Booksmith since my favorite knitwear designer, Kristen Nicholas, was giving a talk on how she comes up with the designs for her beautiful color work. As I had expected, she was lovely and inspiring—and I was thrilled to meet her!
But what I didn’t expect was to be utterly enthralled by a dyeing demonstration by Gail Callahan (also known as The Kangaroo Dyer). Right before our eyes, in the basement of this little bookstore, Gail dyed a skein of yarn within a matter of minutes.
As she worked, she explained that pretty much anything can be used to dye protein (animal) fibers… and I’m sitting there wondering, “Anything? Really?” I think you know where I’m going with this.
So after the knit-a-thon, I drove home, dyed some beautiful Easter eggs (mmm, deviled eggs here I come):
Then used the leftovers to dye three skeins of white Araucania 100% wool yarn. I was too excited to take any before shots, but this is what I ended up with:
Needless to say, I was ecstatic. As someone has always been so intimidated by the idea of dyeing—whether yarn, fabric, or any other fiber—I just couldn’t get over how easy and fun this was. I always thought dyeing would be a messy, toxic, complicated procedure, but I’m happy to have been proven wrong. The only thing that stopped me was my limited supply of white yarn, but I could have dyed all night long—and you’d better believe I had Kyle pick me up a dozen more egg dyeing kits on his way home from work the next day.
I dyed two skeins in multiple colors, and divided one skein into four, then dyed each section a different solid. I’m going to keep showing pictures because I am so in love with them.
And of course, in honor of the upcoming holiday:
I’ve already started knitting with the solids.
I don’t know what this will be because I’m not sure how long it’s going to get before I run out, but right now I’m just enjoying knitting with my own dyed yarn. Sorry, this just doesn’t get old.
To everyone out there who’s even remotely interested in dyeing—and think carefully about this, you might not think you are, but I could probably change your mind—I very highly recommend buying Gail’s fantastic book, Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece.
She really breaks down the dyeing process, and includes procedures for the most basic techniques, as well as more complicated ones. To dye my yarn, I let it soak in a bath of vinegar before applying the dye by hand , then microwaved the yarn to heat set it, rinsed out the excess dye, and voila!
So, if you never hear from me again, it’s because I’ve given up my life in the real world and moved to a little bungalow on the beach where I dye yarn all day long. But for now, I have been continuing to function like a normal human being, and that means some cooking has been going down.
Thanks to the abundant supply of eggs from my mother’s chickens, I’ve been experimenting with a variety of egg-y dishes these days.
Aren’t they beautiful? She has many different breeds of chicken so we get a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They’re also fresh from the chicken, as you can tell.
Anyway, a couple of nights ago I decided to finally try a soufflé (which, like dyeing, has long intimidated me). When I told Kyle my plan, he at first didn’t believe that there was such a thing as a savory soufflé (Me: “What do you think of a soufflé for dinner?” Him: “You mean, chocolate?”) Then I had to convince him that it really didn’t have any meat in it (but I may have to add some next time). I did some searching around online and conglomerated a bunch of different recipes to make a soufflé with what I had on hand: carrots, spinach, and lots of cheddar cheese.
Did it work? Well, it didn’t puff up quite as much as it should have (I think I was a little heavy on the add-ins and light on the eggs) but it tasted so darn good, I didn’t really care. In fact, the slightly denser, pudding-like consistency was rather nice. The carrots made it a bit sweet, but the cheese balanced it out nicely. I’d make it again in a heartbeat.
Now, I promised I wouldn’t get too sappy on this blog, but I have to show off the other amazing man in my life since it is, after all, his holiday on Sunday:
Yes, I have the world’s cutest bunny. Happy Shuffle Day!
My family is celebrating the holiday weekend in Princeton (another 10-hour road trip = lots more knitting!). We’re visiting my brother at school; my sisters and I went to Harvard and Tufts which are about 15 minutes from our house so Princeton feels like Mars to us. Like most 19-year-old boys would, he misses his predominantly female family enormously and has been pining for us since he moved away last fall;) Just kidding—but unlike most 19-year old boys, he’s a good knitter, which is pretty awesome. I can’t wait for some quality Eccles bonding time.
I hope everyone has a fun and sun-filled weekend!