Friday, June 01, 2007

Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

First, thank you thank you thank you for all the lovely comments everyone left on my previous post, here and on Craftster and on the Knittyboard. I'm so close to this thing that I'm really proud of it, but it will take a while (perhaps never, who knows) before I can step back and see it as a whole. Right now I see it in pieces: the afternoon I spent on my bedroom floor frantically knitting and reknitting the soldier while listening to AccuRadio Broadway, and the hours spent watching Elizabeth while I worked out the short rows, and my frantic visits to different archives to try to find the archival materials.

Meanwhile, I've been working on my Firefly yarn project! The first one I tried was Book, and I think I can say he is a success:

This is how I originally described my idea for the Book colourway: Perhaps tawny deerskin with very small splashes of red, like confetti or tweed.

The first picture has - at least on my monitor - the most accurate colours; the second is just a tad washed-out.

I love, love, love this colourway. It's KnitPicks Bare sockweight, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon. It was dyed over a long period of time for me, dyeing-wise: 2 or 3 episodes of Gilmore Girls. I've dyed yarn before lots of times, but always in the microwave with KoolAid, using the directions from Stitch n Bitch. But when I was ramping up for this dyeing adventure I decided I might as well as least try some of the other methods, especially considering the handpainted, more subtle variations I wanted in these yarns. Working from this Knitty article, I've so far dyed all the yarns this time on the stovetop. And I have to say, it's much preferable. You get way, way more control this way.

I'm not going to be cataloguing the exact recipe I used for these colourways, mostly because I myself don't keep track and don't really care so much. But I do like thinking about different ingredients for different colours, mostly because it's incredibly freeing to break out of the KoolAid box (or rather, tiny paper envelope). The shades of brown I made with tea. I used a lot of teabags - probably around 16 to 2o, just tea we had lying around and were never going to drink. As an aside, ginger tea sounds delicious, but is actually pretty disgusting.

The red is - well, I'm growing to appreciate the red. I kept the brown around for a week or so, appreciating its beautiosity and appropriatosity for a character named Book, with its tanned tones like old pages. I just KNEW I was going to screw up the red somehow. When it came time, I was worried that dipping the yarn into red dye would allow it to spread too far and become more than tweed or confetti. So I put the yarn on a cookie tray in the sink and put red food dye on it in spots. After waiting patiently for a whole 30 seconds or so, I washed it out. OOOOOPS.

Things to remember: heat sets dye, which is of course one of the cardinal rules of the damn Knitty article. The dye ran. Just a little bit, a controllable amount. It's not tweed, but then it also kinda loooks like someone bled on it - which also works. Like I said, growing to appreciate it.

Next came Kaylee. Sweet little Kaylee. Kaylee conjures up engines and space, but she also makes people think of cupcake frosting and parasols and pink dresses. (Man, Kaylee is one of my favourite characters ever in a world filled with amazing characters.)

This was how I originally described the Kaylee colourway: different shades of pink for her tiered dress in "Shindig," with shades of beige and pale brown blending in for her connection to Serenity.

And this is what I actually made:

OK, it isn't actually that fluorescent. But I like this picture because it shouts SHAME! SHAME! This isn't Kaylee! This actually reminds me of these birds they have at the Vancouver Aquarium:

I think it might be some sort of emu? I forget. Anyway, not cute! Not Kaylee!

Fine, you want a more accurate depiction of colour? Here:

And finally, Simon. This was the yarn I said I was going to do first, so of course I did it third. I chose Simon because I had only ordered 3 skeins of yarn from KnitPicks. I'd never worked with it, and who knows if I'd gotten bored or whatever partway through. Plus, I'm not made of money. So I wanted to pick a colourway that would be easier, so I wouldn't screw the pooch quite so royally as I did with Kaylee, and so I could at least partly restore my faith in my dyeing abilities.

This was how I originally described Simon's colourway: cold and clinical. Two by two, hands of blue. Like the hospital in "Ariel" . . . ice, ice blue and white.

Consider mojo restored.

Coming soon: monkey addiction, I rip off Moot Point, and you get to endure my further blathers about movies no one's ever seen.


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