Adventures in Dyeing! 

Friends, all has been rather quiet on the blog front lately, but that’s mostly because I’ve been knitting only at a medicinal level. (That means enough to take the edge off of some stress, but not enough to have much to talk about.) However, I’m still working on my crazy sock plan, and I finally got the last skein to finish my plotting!!! It’s some prettiness from Desert Vista Dyeworks!! Now, the yarn is lovely, squishy and soft and tightly plied. However, my monitor was a BIG FAT LIAR about the colors of the yarn. I contacted Susan about it and she offered to re-dye it for me, but.. I felt kinda bad. Self striping yarn is super labor intensive, and I didn’t feel like making her redo everything was at all nice when differences in color are just part and parcel of ordering online. Desert Vista Dyeworks has great customer service and loads of awesome colors, and I will definitely order from her again, so I don’t want you thinking that I’m blaming the artist. But the yarn was definitely much more Halloween than the roller rink/Pop Rocks colors I had planned on. So I hatched a Plan. 

 
I decided to overdye the pale green stripe to make it a turquoise blue (my favorite color!) but I’m also totally cheap, so I decided to use some food coloring. I went to the store and got some of the McCormick’s neon colors, because after doing some searching online it looked like the neon blue was just the ticket! I wound the yarn around a plastic egg carton, wrapping the stripe I wanted to overdye at the bottom and all the other colors on top. I really should’ve used something else, because the heat from the dye solution warped the plastic a bit. Fortunately it didn’t melt 😛 After getting it all arranged, I soaked the part of the yarn that I wanted to dye in water and vinegar for about half an hour. Vinegar helps open up the wool so it can take in the dye. I then put a pot of water on the stove on very low heat, and added dye until I had the color I wanted. It took almost nothing! I got two packages of dye because I was worried I wouldn’t have enough.. and had way too much. Oh well, guess I’ll have to do it again! I dipped the yarn into the dye bath, and separated the strands of yarn with a wooden chopstick so the dye would cover all the yarn equally. It seems like dye needs some encouragement to go on evenly, but after a little fussing with it, I was pleased with the consistency of the color. My dye bath was still a very pretty blue, so I decided to try dyeing a few other things too! I had a little skein of handspun silk, which had a delectable sheen but was a rather boring shade of cream. I also had a mini-skein of a polwarth/silk blend that I had spun up as part of a color blending experiment, and it came out a pretty uninspiring shade of greyish yellow. Into the dye bath they both went! 

   

Here’s what they looked like wet.. 

And here’s the final result!!  

  

  

  

  

 They’re quite beautiful, if I do say so myself. Dyeing is a lot of fun, but very time consuming even on such a small scale. I have new respect for the people who do it for a living!  

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5 Comments

  1. Beautiful! Congrats on a great dyeing job! 🙂

  2. Tiffanie

    Wow. I have the same before yarn and that made a huge difference in the look of the overall skein. Great job!

  3. socksformum

    Totally awesome! Thanks for sharing this fun dyeing adventure with us…I enjoyed it and learned a few new tips.

  4. Lovely results – thanks for sharing your process!

  5. Gorgeous color corrections! I have dyed a few things myself and felt the same way: fussy and time consuming and difficult to predict. Your experiments are lovely, though!

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