Monday, August 29, 2011

Challenged - A Yarn Saga

Yes, I did have to ask....

Last year for my birthday, my lovely DD#1 sent me sock blanks and a dye kit so that I could experiment with creating my own personal color of sock yarn.  It sat untouched quite a while for a plethora of reasons. 

A little bit ago, the moderators announced the lineup for the challenges for the next season of SKA (Sock Knitter’s Anonymous Ravelry group). Each month’s challenge is centered on a technique and a specific designer or couple of designers. Every other month there is also a mystery sock challenge.   The September challenge is to knit socks all in one solid color. The mystery sock must be knit in the color of the month.  That color is Chartreuse (or “C” as it is affectionately referred to on SKA).  As defined and shown in the swatch in this picture, it is a clear, light green with a yellowish tinge.  

SKA September Challenge Rules

Now I don’t have anything against any colors.  However, I’ve never considered green to be one of my favorites, and since retiring from the Army, I personally prefer not to wear it at all; in any shade, but especially this one. So basically, I avoid buying green yarn for wearable projects unless it is for a planned gift.

Before I headed out to Sock Summit I took a picture of my stash so I could be clearheaded amidst the yarn fumes and try to choose colors that I didn’t already have large quantities of in my stash.  (Basically I succeeded in that mission) There was no “C”.  This challenge was announced after I got back from Portland, and right after I put myself on a yarn buying fast. When I saw that the challenge was going to be for a solid color Chartreuse yarn I may have felt a little queasy (you might even say that I turned the Sept challenge color).  I do have a couple of skeins that are green, but definitely not solid, and definitely not that shade.  

Now, according to the SKA rules, finding the specific color yarn is part of the challenge.  So I thunk on that a little.  It is a fact that I really, really don’t need to buy any more sock yarn and also it may be that my credit card is still in post-summit quarantine, so I needed to figure out how to meet this challenge with what was on hand.

That is when I remembered about the sock blanks.  There were two in the kit.  I only needed one for the dying project that I eventually have planned.  (One blank makes a pair of socks).  Several people mentioned that they were going to attempt to dye their own yarn rather than violate personal yarn diets.  It seemed like a good idea for me as well.  I did not have any “C” dye in the kit or the subsequent dye colors I bought for aforementioned PLANNED project.  So having experimented with it once before with decent results, I just thought to myself, “self, we can try Kool-Aid” so on the next trip to the grocery store, I picked up a couple of packets of lemon-lime drink mix.  I dug out my kool aid dying directions and went about dying the yarn blank with a mix of the lime drink mix and rooibous tea.  Here’s what I learned from this challenge:

  1. The colors I chose will yield chartreuse when properly mixed – I did not properly mix.
  2. If the sock blank is all scrunched up when you pour on the dye, you will get variegated not solid or semi-solid patterning.
  3. Sock blanks are hard to dye.  (note to self: figure out how to spread this sucker out and handpaint dye onto yarn for next adventure in dying)
  4. I might be able to salvage this experiment by over-dying, but I think I’m done.
  5. It was still kind of fun anyway.
 Here’s what I ended up with:

In progress
Not bad for stepping up and doing something a little challenging.  Not really the result I had in mind, but something I think I can work with.  Too variegated and not “C” enough.  I’m going to go ahead and knit the Mystery sock for the challenge of doing a mystery sock; even if I don’t qualify for the official SKA challenge. (You’ll have to check back in September for the results) The process has been fun and I suspect the finished socks will end up being a gift somewhere down the line.  Oh well.

Happy Knitting,


1 comment:

Lynn said...

I'm not a big green person either, but I have to say, I really like the way this sock blank turned out! I think it will knit up really nice and make an interesting sock. do you still plan on knitting with it or will it fall into the black hole of the UFO?