I remember years ago dyeing yarn with Kool-aid. I mean, it was sort of all the rage and I confess I knit a pair of socks using the Kool-aid yarn and even though I've worn them and washed them several times I can still detect a bit of Lemon-Lime and perhaps a smidge of Soarin' Strawberry when I sniff them. Come to think of it, I may have blogged about dyeing the socks and I got an email from a very popular knitwear designer living in Germany and I sent her a big package of the stuff so she could give Kool-Aid dyeing a try as well.
Now knitters are expanding their horizons and dyeing using the real stuff, natural dyes that come from rhubarb, goldenrod, holley-hocks, even onions, things that they can grow themselves or find in nature. The book, Wild Color by Jenny Dean is a guide to making and using these type of dyes. This is one of those books that, even though you may never actually get around to dyeing using the methods she outlines, will be taken off the bookshelf and looked at over and over. The book is just lovely to look at. All the dye plants are beautifully photographed and the color swatches that the dye will produce delight the designer in me. The experience of looking at these pages reminds me of a cross between thumbing through the pages of one of those horticultural indexes Sunset magazine publishes and standing at the paint color swatch counter at a home decor store. Wild Color is a total keeper.
I'm a lover of hand-dyed yarn. Thing is, it can be tricky and fickle. Sometimes it pools when you least expect it or maybe the stripes you thought would be wide turn out to look more like streaks. The Knitter's Guide to Hand-Dyed and Variegated Yarn by Lorna Miser (she founded Lorna's Laces) has a whole section on recognizing what kind of yarn you have on hand. Whether it is long-repeat or the colors are spun together after dyeing (like Noro) or if it is a self-patterning yarn, she tells you what to look out for if you want to avoid pooling, or what to expect when you work with other types of hand-dyed's. She also has a number of projects to knit, as well as a number of stitch patterns that will show off the multicolored yarns best.
I want to give away a copy of Lorna's book. Please leave me a comment stating whether or not you like pooling (just say "Love it!" or "Hate it!") and I'll pick a random winner. I'll leave comments open for a few days...
ETA: I have locked the comments and send the winner an email! Thanks everyone for your comments. I REALLY want to go through them and see whether or not pooling wins or loses, but wow. Lot's of comments to go through!