26 Mar '12
Down The Rabbit Hole
Dyeing large quantities of wool - big wholesale orders - is a lot like a rabbit warren. Each overlapping step takes on epic proportions when you're talking about 400 skeins. Here's what I do: 1. Twist into a skein so getting yarn wet doesn't end in a stuck-together tangle. Ask me how I know about tangles. 2. Soak yarn, make sure its 100% wet. 3. Prep dye bath (get that water good & hot!). 4. Apply dye. 5. Fix dye. 6. Hang & dry yarn. It takes anywhere from 2 to 5 days for yarn to dry depending on the weather. 7. Reskein yarn and twist. I forgot to mention skeining & tieing before #1! This happens with yarn that comes on cones or that doesn't come tied at least 3 times from the mill. The studio is set up so that many of these steps overlap. Getting tomorrow's yarn wet, for example, happens while I'm dyeing today's batch. All the while, there better be yarn hanging up to dry! The one lesson I have learned is that no matter how focused I get on the big job in front of me, there better be at least a few things hanging up that are destined for the Etsy site or it gets pretty boring over there. So, at this moment there are 90 skeins of yarn soaking, 220 skeins hang drying, and 90 already twisted and ready to go. I try not to think about how many sheep would need to be hanging out in my back yard to make all that yarn!