Monday, December 24, 2007
Fermentation and Vinegar
I dyed 4 yarns yesterday. This is the maximum I do at the moment because my process is labor intensive, and I want this to feel like fun and not work. They're happily drying in my bathroom, and I'll take pictures later this morning. Here's what we have: City Socks Four, Violets in the Snow reserved for a customer, Silver Sage, and one for me. The one for me is a trial run for the sock club. So I'm not going to give you a pic of that one.
I love dyeing the City Socks series. I wrap yarn, underdye, overdye; it's a neat process. And picking out the colors for the zippy part is a lot of fun. This time I made up a bright green, rust, pale brown, and a violet. You'll see it later on today.
Silver Sage was worked with colors I have never mixed before. Each color was mixed individually, with no guidelines, just my own color sense. I had a picture in mind when I mixed the dyes, and I came pretty close to what I wanted. It's a very elegant yarn.
That's the fun of dyeing for me. Mixing those colors puts me into another place. I used to listen to my i pod while I dyed, and then realized that I didn't even hear the music because I was concentrating so much. I love seeing the differences between cool and warm palates, and I love playing with values, and throwing in little bits of odd colors to spice things up.
When I first started dyeing, I could do 2 skeins, and each one would take me an hour of more. Now, I zip along at a much faster pace, I think because I'm far more comfortable with my mixing than at the beginning. I have my own weird little method which I like very much. It doesn't go quickly, but I'm not a production dyer. I can now do a couple of skeins at the same time, but more than that and it gets boring for me.
Some colorways I can reproduce at a later date. Violets in the Snow is one of them, as is the City Socks base. Others are done off the top of my head and involve layers of colors. Faded Glory is like that, as is the new one, Silver Sage. Because I mix those colors as I go along, and add bits of this or that on top of some of the colors, and add transition colors - these are basically one of a kind yarns. It's endlessly fascinating.
Baking stuff: I started a sourdough starter a couple of days ago, and I think it's beginning to take. I'm seeing and smelling signs of fermentation. I've never been thrilled with making sourdough bread mainly because I found it too sour. This starter is from Daniel Leader's new book, Local Breads, and I'm willing to give it a try just because it's from Daniel Leader.
The last couple of years, I've made a biga and used that in a sponge. It adds great flavor to the bread. I like to have my bread rise slowly because it gives more time for fermentation. My kitchen is on the very cool side now, so the yeasties work slowly and make the bread tastier. I'll keep you posted on my starter.
Yesterday at one point, my kitchen smelled of starter and vinegar from the yarn steaming process. It was really weird. Fermentation and vinegar.
Here are pictures of both City Socks Four and Silver Sage.
Here's one more thing I want to tell you. I bought this most amazing yarn swift on Etsy last week, and it arrived today. Wow! It makes reskeining so quick and easy. I love it. Check out http://theknitstore.etsy.com
It's adjustable, easy to set up, and works like a dream.