Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dyeing to Know

Where to start? Well, let's just jump right in! While my eye was recuperating I took the opportunity to wind some skeins and find some answers to my burning dye questions. While there were no real answers at the end I had a very pleasant journey.

I had two goals. One was to make what I think is termed a "semi-solid". Basically the same color but with subtle variations. The other was to make a yarn that had different colors but that blended together - there's that subtle again!

45% mustard, 15% violet, 20% blue, and 20% turquoise
So this was my starting point. I put water, citric acid, and dye solutions into my oven roaster and then added the presoaked skeins and moved them gently around to make sure the solution was getting through the skeins. Then I brought the roaster up to a simmer and left it for an hour or so. Then I turned it off and let it alone until it was cool. Pretty - but really subtle.

60% mustard, 20% blue, 20% turquoise

With these skeins I followed the previous plan but poured the dyes over separately and then stirred very gently to allow only some of the dyes to blend. I like the results but thought it was going to be a bit blotchy. I used enough yarn that either one of these could be knitted into a shawl. I thought this yarn would end up being warp but then Marie talked me into trying it out.

Good call! I love the way it is knitting up. Seraphim is the perfect pattern for lots of mindless knitting and then the big show-off border!

So then I decided to try more colors. I wound one two yard skein, 146 grams. I used the previous two recipes, along with dull orange, dull red orange, and dull mustard (adapted from Deb Menz's Color in Spinning) I thought I would soak one fifth of the skein and then I would get some blending, but for some reason I decided to spin out the presoaked skein in the washer. The yarn was a little too dry and didn't wick the dye.

I like it - the addition of the cream colored yarn to the mix adds a bit of kick. I'd still like to try the more blended style but this is going to make a pretty cool hat and gloves set.


  1. Nice dye experiments. Actually, I think the first one would really work well woven. The second one, while it works for knitting, would, I think, be a little too "blotchy" for weaving, unless, of course, "blotchy" is what you are after! Beautiful colors. I love dyeing.

  2. So your eye is all better now, I hope?!
    The variation in the shawl is beautiful.
    I like to add white flowers when I plant my colorful annuals, I think it helps make the colors pop a little more. Why not apply a similar principle to dyeing?

  3. The green is really pretty, but I LOVE the Mardi Gras Color ones! I look forward to seeing the hat and gloves!

  4. I'm with Angi! Glad your eye is feeling better.

  5. So did you start with the Mardi Gras yet? Thanks for the kind thoughts about my family. All is well for now. We're holding our breath about Ike though.

  6. Gorgeous colors. Mmmm.
    Please post an orb update. We worry and fret...

  7. More eye news, please? Hope all is well! Lovely colors -- just lovely!
    Want more!