My 8-year old helper assisted me in dyeing up sample skeins for my Spiral Dyeing Workshop at SAFF, in North Carolina in October (see right hand column for link). Students will spiral dye a skein of sock yarn in one of two colorways: Patriotic (though my Tomato Red Country Classics dye came out a lovely pink, so it'll be sort of patriotic, rather than all-out), and Watermelon. I needed one skein of each dyed just for class display purposes, and one dyed so I can wind and knit a sock with it, to show how the yarn knits up. I have taught workshops using this technique, allowing students to choose whatever colors they like for their yarn, but those workshops were within driving distance of my house. I have to mail/fly everything for this class, so this time, we're concentrating on 2 distinct colorways.
The 8 year old understood both the theory and the process, which bodes well for the class (I'm worried about the teacher, not the students). And the yarns came out gorgeously. I used citric acid rather than vinegar this time, and was very pleased with the results- no bleeding in the rinse water at all, even with the reds/pinks. And the house didn't stink afterwards. And I didn't poke holes in my gloves, which means my hands are only chokecherry blue, not overdyed.
As a reward for our hard work, we both dyed one of Knit Picks sock blanks (fabric pre-knit with 2 strands, for dyeing). I made the wide colorful stripes (in part, to use up the dye we had already mixed, though we added some orange and yellow, but also just to see how the stripes on the socks differ from the stripes on the blank), and Helper chose pink stripes and splatters. I will knit my blank into socks, of course. Helper asked for "a scarf to wear with clothes, not with a coat. You know, Grandma, one of those light ones." I think I know what she wants- something lacy as an accessory rather than outerwear. That'll be fun to knit.
I'm not a 2-at-a-time sock knitter, so I'll have to unwind my blank and divide the yarns. I'll need to do that with Helper's as well, since I don't want to knit her lace double stranded. I'll post pics of progress, if there ever is any.
(side note: that lovely oak is covered by a transparent, cut-open garbage bag. I'm not really dyeing yarn directly on the dining room table)
And lastly, here's another Big Book of Socks preview- these socks are from Chapter 4, Texture and Cables. I continue to be delighted and impressed with Taunton's photography- they did a wonderful job with all of the socks in the book (did I mention that there are 75 patterns? Go buy the book already...)(or check it out from your library)(or borrow it from a friend).