FleaBlog by Lala

The general mutterings, musings, witterings and brain voms of a sweary, yarn obsessed, gin swilling colour whore with too much to do and not enough time to do it.........in a nutshell!!

Welcome to my new Blog, keep your expectations low and the swear jar handy!

April 2017

Evolution Baby!

I was dyeing today, and on my little list was a new colourway called 'Hummingbird'......bloody lovely colourway it is too I might add.  Anyway, it's a new one, I had only dyed up 2-3 skeins of it for a YarnMama market night a couple of weeks ago, but it had proved very popular so I wanted to give it another go.  Got my little recipe book out, lined up my dyes and off I fly......but once it was done I decided it needed something else, it wasn't quite there yet.  I had also had some new dyes delivered this week which really, really, REALLY needed opening so I could check them for, y'know, stuff and things.   So out came the red pen, scribblings all over the original recipe and 'Hummingbird' evolved into an even more spectacular colourway than before.

And then it struck me....as an indie dyer my colourways are constantly evolving, and for me this is a vital part of what I do.  I think I would worry if that wasn't the case, but then, on the flip side of the coin shouldn't I be making my yarns to a repeatable recipe every time?  It's an internal argument I have with myself alot.....and my answer is....'no'.  Now before I get lynched by every indie dyer who disagrees, let me explain my theory behind this:
I have repeatable colourways,  however, even these will have differences each time.  This is why we always suggest that for making a garment you should always buy from the same dyelot, and even then, certainly with some of my dye techniques, there can be vast differences between skeins.  To sort of quote the late Les Dawson, the colours will be the same, but they might not be in the same order!!  I personally think that there is a difference between repeatable and identical, and identical is normally what would be available from a commercial dyer and not a small, independent dyer.  

I should also explain that despite the ownership of my recipe book I am definitely not a 'by the book' type of person.  My book, which is written in my unique language, is covered in splatterings of dye, most of the pages are stuck together and just today it had to go on the washing line to dry after I upended a cup of dyestock onto it (note to self.....you need to overwrite on the pages that took the biggest hit, or you will be buggered when you come to try and dye those ones again!!)

I don't follow the rules......not just with dyeing either.  If you give me a cake recipe I will freestyle on the measures; I have a man's attitude and disregard for instruction manuals;  give me a crochet/knitting pattern to follow and after row 4 it will be made up as I go along and NEVER EVER drink one of my cocktails on an empty stomach!  Measuring is for wimps...and dyers who can repeat their colourways, and probably sell more than I do because of this!

Most of the time with colourway evolution it will be planned or the result of a happy experiment.  Many new colourways and about a gazillion OOAK skeins are born from this process!  Occasionally, despite my meticulous note taking (pahhhhhhhhahahahahahaha) I will just never be able to get a colourway as good as the first time.  Mostly though, I end up falling in love with a colourway all over again, just because I used a different shade of yellow (always yellow....bloody magical colour, and not just because of custard!)

I am pretty sure that most of my customers know all this about me already, and that they also know that if they are delivered a skein in a chosen colourway and it's not what they expected, they can always get me to re-dye, but then fuck knows how many new colourways and OOAK's will emerge out of that process alone!!!  

Oh the woes of a colour whore with a cupboard full of dye powder and kilos of sheep fluffs......

The first 'Hummingbird', sold via April's YarnMama Market Night

The 'original' Hummingbird


Phase two of 'Hummingbird' in the pan.....

...and the finished version