Friday, August 30, 2013

More Mountain Colors Visit

Welcome to Mountain Colors Yarn
It's been a crazy week since I returned from Montana.  My plane landed in Bflo at 5pm after 12 hrs of travelling, and Sunday I was a zombie.  Monday brought the sprint to be ready for my daughter's first day of college.  Details keep needing my attention about the new house, and of course, in my spare time, I try to get some knitting done, and get some sleep.  Then yesterday we had multiple violent Asperger's Syndrome breakdowns to cope with, and today I write in what I can only describe as suspicious and unlikely calm.

Bins by Colorway
This Mountain Colors Yarn visit started, as have previous visits, with a drive into the Bitterroot Valley to the shop.  The photo above is the sign at the roadside inviting you in, taken on a previous visit.  This trip was marked by smoky skies and air due to the severe wildfire up the canyon.

Future Projects

When you use the "Showroom" entrance, you arrive in a room of all of the yarns sorted by colorway. Find the colorway you love, and you'll immediately see all of your yarn choices.  You'll also find "mill ends" of yarns, priced by the ounce.  These are great for colorwork and swatching.    Then you come to one of my favorites: "Test Skeins".  These are trial runs of future colorways, and are usually done in dye hank sizes (about 4 normal hanks).  These are also sold by the ounce, and I find them addicting.  I bought three.

Diana McKay and Leslie Taylor

I was very fortunate that both owners, Leslie Taylor and Diana McKay, were in.  I had met Diana in the past, and was delighted to see her again, and to meet Leslie for the first time.  We had a lovely chat, and decided to collaborate again on some designs.  We're thinking a shrug or similar top, and a Chanel-inspired jacket.  These are some of the yarns we're considering (see photo above.)

One thing I wish I could share with you is the smell.  It's a strange blend of wool, dye, and vinegar (used as a mordant to set the dye.)  It all comes together as a sort of marvelous yarn salad smell. 

Here's the process as I understand it: undyed yarn comes in, and is skeined for dyeing.  It's sorted into the fiber types to be dyed in a particular color run.  Each run could contain half a dozen different types of yarn.

It all heads off to the dye kitchen, where it is washed.  This removes any machine oils from the yarn, and allows it to take dye evenly.

The team mixes up all the colors to be used in today's batch on the hotplates and in the dye bottles.  And then it gets messy!

Skein after skein is hand dyed with squirt bottles of dye.  Each color is added individually in a prescribed order and pattern to create the exact desired effect on each skein.  These dye hanks are then treated with mordant to set the color, rinsed and dried.  Then they are broken down into the familiar retail hanks you and I purchase at the store.
The only hard part about going to MCY is not having the cash to buy out the entire place.  I'm often content with my stash, but never when I go there!  It's all so easy to knit, wears like iron, and those colors are so seductive!

I found my Kryptonite on this visit, too.  Cashmere Louisa yarn in my favorite colorway ever, Harmony Honey.  At $84 a skein, it's something I'd indulge in if I had been very, very good.  I decided I had been very, very good.  WooHoo!

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