There's nothing like the last minute to keep a promise to one's self. This blog started out with much grander plans...it began as its very own domain, which was going to be the beginning of my World Fiber Domination Project. I paid for the domain name for a year, and not only never posted a blog entry, I did nothing along the lines of world domination. Well, I take that back: my art teacher buddy drew up some wicked cool logos (one of which you see in the sidebar), and my media specialist buddy scanned them into the computer and burned them to disc for me. Beyond that...not so much. But the idea that I could make my own small mark on the fiber world didn't leave my head. Custom knitting? Nope. Too many hours for decent compensation. Pattern design? Not likely. I can whack together my own socks and such, and even do a good basic sweater or vest, but I'm not nimble enough mathematically to resize patters. (Nor am I patient enough, really.) Handspinning? That still has possibilities; when I first started ruminating on this, my spinning was w-a-a-a-y too...um....shall we say, inconsistent for me to feel confident selling it. And I had a kitten who liked to chew up the drive band on my wheel. Dyeing? Hmmm, that sounded good. But really, I know I don't have the eye for color combinations that you see in the best dyers out there. So if I were to dye, it would be solids and/or semisolids, not only because it's probably safest for my talents, but also because I don't think there's a lot of solids out there. The run has definitely been on handpaints and multicolors for a while, and there's a lot of good ones available. But I like plain socks too, and I've read pleas from other knitters for some less adventurous hand-dyes.
But why would I pull out the ol' Country Classics if all I was going to get was yarn that looked like any other commercial stuff? Bo-ring. I thought back to a class I didn't take at the John C. Campbell Folk School a couple years ago, but was able to observe a wee bit...natural dyeing. (I was learning how to play the banjo instead. What a trade-off.) I had the chance to see the indigo-dyed yarn come out of the pot. It was magic, and I vowed to try it somehow, some day. Two years later I said oh hell, and ordered a beginner's kit from Earth Guild. I had just enough white yarn in my stash to try the cochineal first. That's all it took. Well, it took a little more than that because of some *ahem* situations in the spring, but for all intents and purposes, I knew that THAT was what I wanted to play with.
Natural dyeing, while generally predictable (indigo is going to give you blue, not orange), is by and large, a crapshoot. Onion skins won't give you blue, but will you ever get the same yellow from different batches of onion skins? Not likely. And that's what I love about it. I love the little surprise in every pot, and I love that if I don't love the surprise, I can overdye it and probably make it all better. I haven't done any dyeing since summer, partly because of work, and partly because it's, like, WINTER up here and the yarn would freeze before it dried on the back porch. There's also the question of space: my apartment is small. VERY small. I've sold or given away much of the furniture I brought with me when my marriage ended. I've even drastically reduced Le Stashe. There isn't space for unnecessary or unused things here, and that includes yarn that I don't have time to knit. Besides, I can dye yarn a hell of a lot faster than I can knit or even weave it.
So the obvious next step in World Fiber Domination would be, then, to sell the stuff. Etsy? Meh...my photography skillz aren't that mad. Farmer's market? Still a possibility for next summer. Try to sell it on Ravelry? Didn't appeal. It's only taken me another six months to ask the owner of my delightful local yarn store, Wooly Minded, if she would possibly give me some space to sell my yarn on consignment. And she said yes.
Today, a dear friend and I walked those two baskets down to the shop, and Jean (the owner) oohed and ahhed over the colors and made me blush by saying she might just take it all home herself and knit it up. I am very pleased with the colors I have. I'm looking forward to trying more. I need to source more undyed yarn, and think my next step is to get a wholesaler's license (or whatever that piece of paper is called that will let me buy from wholesalers). I suppose I should consider something with taxes too, though I certainly won't be making bucketsful of money for a while.
But, as a wiser mind than I said once, a promise made is a debt unpaid, and I sure do feel like I've started to repay myself today.