At its most basic, dyeing gobstoppers is simple: I cake the yarn, soak it, add dye, add some citric acid, then heat the whole thing until the dye is set. Oh, yeah; then I un-cake it into skeins to dry, then re-cake it to show off the pretty colours (there’s a lot of winding and skeining and caking going on around here!).
At its most complex, dyeing gobstoppers is all about the nuances and judgment calls: which dyes I mix, when and how I add the dyes, when I add the acid, whether or not I overdye again after the yarn’s back in its skein form…
And then there’s the yarn base. Different bases take dye in completely different ways, depending on fibre content, number of plies, how it was spun, weight of the skein, weight of the yarn, and so on.
I love to experiment with all of these factors, so when I had the chance to acquire some 100% YAK in a light fingering weight, I jumped on it!
It’s been really interesting to work with. It’s loosely spun, 3-ply, with two medium brown plies and one natural ply. It takes dye in a completely different way from any other fibre I’ve worked with; it almost seems to shed the dye when I pour it on. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get it to take! I’m happy to say, though, that once the dye was fixed, the results were really lovely.
These skeins of YAK, plus a few cakes in other bases, will be available here on my website tonight (Weds.) at 9pm EDT. If you’re not able to grab one then, don’t despair: I have lots of yak available and am happy to take requests for favourite colour families in cakes of up to 200g. Just send an email and let me know what you’re thinking!