Tuesday, March 30, 2010


You know, I've been doing this yarn dyeing stuff for a pretty long time now. Just over seven years. I do it alot too. For the first few years I did it every day for eight or ten hours. Nowadays I don't do it quite so much, but I'm still at the dye pots a fair amount of the time.

I like to think that I kinda know what I'm doing. I'm not going to say that I know everything about dyeing a skein of yarn, but it's been a long while since something really flummoxed me. Last week, I was flummoxed.

You see, a couple of months ago I'd gotten a sample of a sock yarn that intrigued me. It's a blend that has an unusual fiber in it and I wanted to do some pretty serious testing of it before I made a decision about whether it would make sense to add it to the Lorna's Laces stable of yarns.

The first thing I did was dye up a few skeins. Then I dithered around trying to decide which socks I wanted to knit. After more than my usual hemming and hawing, I picked Chouwa from Judy Sumner's Knitted Sock East and West.

I got one sock knit up and because I sometimes have a little trouble with second sock syndrome, I put on my singleton and wore it while I cast on number two. I usually wait until both socks are finished before I wear them, but I was doing some testing here. Strictly scientific.

After having worn the sock I tossed it in the washer and dryer. Much to my surprise, the washed socked looked darker than the ball of yarn I'd been working from. Darker. I was totally befuddled. See what I mean?

Aren't things supposed to fade the more often they are laundered? What was happening?

I finished up the other sock and tossed it in the washer and dryer and now I have matching socks. We're pretty sure that the color changes have something to do with that "unusual" fiber I was telling you about. I want to keep the fiber a secret for now, but there is some serious potential here.

We've got some more testing and some further mulling to do with this stuff. I'll keep you posted.


BoogaJ said...

That is crazy!

Melissa Morgan-Oakes said...

I am past entranced and intrigued. I feel like a kid at Christmas - what is it, what is it...it may even keep me awake!

Unknown said...

Next thing you know there will be mood yarn! I know, that's crazy talk.

Mary said...

Wow!! Now you have me really guessing on the fiber!!

Greener Pastures Farm said...

Sounds like organically grown natually colored cotton. I read (at least 10 years ago) that the natural greens and browns that occur in certain strains of cotton were being pursued, and that they have a unique property in which they darken in color with time and use. Fox Fiber may have been the name of one of the producers... but I'm really reaching into the recesses of the ol' memory banks for that one, so I may be wrong about the name, but the rest is factual.

Josee said...

This has certainly peaked my curiosity! What other experiments are planned? What is this mystery fiber that has this intriguing capacity? When will you enlighten us?

Robyn - Red Bird Knits said...

I am so intrigued! Tell us more (when you can!)

Esther said...

I've had that happen - I think it something to do with the dryer and reduced water content in the fibre.
Also if my socks get separated in the wash and one goes to the dryer while the other get line-dried they end up looking like long lost cousins rather than identical twins.

A chemist could probably explain it to you.
What is this mysterious new fibre?

SolSionnach said...

I'm with Greener Pastures - it sounds like natural colored cotton, which does darken with laundering - and there used to be a great Fox Fibre green cotton available (not sure if it still is.)