Yarn Dyeing Workshops have been a new addition to my batman utility belt of yarn skills this year (that's a thing...) so I thought it was high time I wrote a little to explain how these work. Now that the first three have ran successfully, it makes sense to delve into what these actually consist of for anyone fancying a go!
The workshops are running at the wonderful Fibreworks in Chipping Norton Oxfordshire. Fibreworks have been a long time buddy of mine, they've supported me since almost the beginning of my yarn dyeing escapades and the shop is full of so many yummy things, I highly recommend popping in for a knit and natter <3
The world of indie dyeing has a whole range different dye methods and techniques, you could probably run a whole week of workshops with different people and I suspect no two would be the same. I don't pretend to be the expert on every method of dyeing but I know how I like to do things my way and it's taken several years of trial and error to get there. I don't have a fancy studio that houses all my operations, nope, it's my dining table and kitchen sink so I think I'm pretty well placed to show attendees how they can have a go dyeing yarn with methods that are super easily replicated at home. It's fun, it's experimental and it's brilliant fun in my humble opinion.
Workshops run for three hours and by the end, attendees will have a whopping four 100g skeins of merino/nylon sock yarn dyed all by their own fair hands. These are very informal sessions with a maximum of five attendees at a time which I think makes for a more personal experience all round. In the first hour or so - I give a full introduction to yarn dyeing (the HeyJay way at least), what materials I use, where you can get hold of these (I'm not precious with this information, with the power of google you would probably find everything anyway) and demo the whole dyeing process, showing the different methods you can use to get colour on those gorgeous skeins.
The second two hours are playtime! Attendees have full access to every shade of dye that I use in all my yarns so it's a brilliant opportunity to experiment with more than you would probably want to purchase if you were just wanting to have a go for the first time at home. I'm on hand to talk through colour combinations and help select dyes with you but I like to give as much creative free reign as possible. Some people come along with inspiration and ideas to dye their skeins as a coordinating set, some haven't got any plan and that's absolutely fine! I myself rarely have a set idea of what I want to do when I get my dyes out and sometimes I think my best colourways happen that way.
By the end of the workshop, everyone has their skeins, albeit rather wet and damp, to take home and dry off - the one thing that I can't make happen in a three hour workshop! It's fantastic seeing the different colourways that attendees come up with and no two are ever the same. The amount of creativity that people have when they're let loose never fails to amaze me. I think that's what I love most, people will go home with yarn that they dyed themselves which can be so much more special and definitely unique - it's pretty much the whole reason I fell in love with hand dyed yarn in the first place.
My hope is to continue these workshops for as long as there are people coming along, I'll keep doing them! For me they're brilliant fun and a great way of spending a morning with lovely yarn fans (the best people in the world).