Some days I go into the dye studio with the need to produce quantity and fulfil orders. Other days are strictly for playing and testing with new shades and bases. I love seeing a full drying rack of damp wool after a hard day’s work…but I do love a day of testing as well.
A typical day in the dye studio begins with putting on an apron and plugging my phone into the speakers to start my ‘Great Day’ playlist. After these two crucial steps are done I can then fill up the massive 6 pots with water and turn the hobs on. Let there be heat!
Selecting a new base for the range of Ginger’s Hand Dyed is not a super technical process. I usually just pick up new yarns I really fancy working with myself (which is also how a usually purchase stock for the shop)! I try to keep things balanced and keep an eye on where I feel there are gaps in the collection, whether it be the lacking of certain fibre or weight. As a most recent example, I was feeling the need for an additional Aran weight base (preferably British) and stumbled upon what is now the Masham Mayhem Aran (75% British Bluefaced Leicester 25% British Masham). The spin on it is so beautiful and relatively smooth, the natural shade is gorgeous and takes the dye a treat after some testing. Because the yarn is naturally a light grey/brown, it takes the colour on differently than a white yarn would.
The art of colour creation is a fun one. Different yarns take on colour in their own way, depending on their fibre content and the way they are spun. When testing out and creating a new colourway, my dye mixtures can be based upon recipes I have already created. By adding less or more of a dye, or a bit of a new dye can change the colour dramatically! And sometimes I just add some dye to a pot with a test skein to see what happens. Surprisingly, this has been the method of creating some of my favourite colourways.
When creating a new or one-off colourway for a club or kit, I proceed with caution. I aim to dye something I’m absolutely in love with, AND will suit a wide-ish variety of tastes. Odd as it sounds neon yellow is not suitable for every skin tone. It can be a concept to balance, but so far so good. And I usually have a theme or inspiration to guide me…whether it be tea, an Edinburgh landmark, or a cherished film. It is all a bit of fun!