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Some Dyeing Adventures

July 6, 2004

I’m way behind on documenting my dyeing adventures, so this is going to be a long entry, my apologies! But I can at least promise it’ll be mostly pictures… And for those awaiting an in-use photo of Sailor’s Rib: see below!

Part One: The Silk From Hell
I’ve done two dyeing projects in the past month. My first one was an attempt to redeem some silk I bought on eBay that turned out not to be a very useful item. It was shiny and smooth but as hard as venetian blind cord.

I decided that I would choose two shades of blue from the Cushing Acid Dyes palette, dye half of the stuff (I hesitate to call it ‘yarn’) one shade and half in the other, then ply them together. The stuff was 3 very fine singles, plyed S.

This was the first dyebath – the shade was called ‘Sky Blue.’ I used a cheap candy thermometer to simmer at around 170 degrees.

The silk took up the dye beautifully.

The second color was ‘Copenhagen Blue.’

The two shades were not as similar as I’d guessed they’d be, based on eyeballing an online color card.

However, when plyed together, they produced a gorgeous, shimmery result not unlike the rainbow effect you get when looking at mother-of-pearl.

I’ve omitted the nasty details that led me to call it the silk from hell, including the disastrous center-pull balls I wound the two hanks into, the cursing I did while attempting to ply (I have never seen such a slippery stuff make so many permanent knots), and the final mailing of a bobbin to Seattle to be turned into a hank because I just could not stand to deal with it anymore. But, I have 1 more hank of each color and the resulting shade is so stunning that I’m gearing up to try again, with a healthy respect for how out-of-control the stuff can get.

I wonder what I can do with it…. it might be better suited to crochet than knitting, and I suppose I would not be totally averse to that if I could find the right pattern. I think when I finally finish working on it I’ll have 1200 yards of heavy laceweight stuff.

Part Two: Rose and Garnet Cashmerino
Angela brought me some laceweight white cashmere/merino as a hostess gift during Maryland Sheep and Wool, and I decided I would try space-dyeing with it since I totally whited myself out while knitting Legends of the Shetland Seas in white. So, I got more Cushing dye and started out.

The shades I chose were ‘Garnet,’ ‘American Beauty,’ and ‘Wood Rose.’

After squirting dye onto the wet yarn, I rolled it all up in the plastic wrap to be microwaved for 7 minutes. It looked like nothing so much as a bloody roast beef.

I used a heaping half teaspoon of dye powder to a half cup of hot water and I had to mix up about 3 batches of each color to get the yarn to totally saturate with dye. I can report that stainless steel really is stainless, but that formica is NOT although it can be persuaded to give up dye if you use a cleanser that contains bleach.

Next time I do this, I want to have some nice squirt bottles for it. The ones I had were just stuff that I had lying around the house and they were not so suitable.

The yarn did seem to full felt just a teeny bit (or else the dye made it stick together) but I don’t think I’ve done it any harm and I think when I wind it into a ball it’ll come out fine.

I loved working with these dyes, they made wonderful intense colors. Dyeing is something I never meant to get into, but now that I’ve done it, it’s a safe bet I’ll do it again…

Part Three: It Fits!
I finally had an opportunity to get an in-use photo of Sailor’s Rib this past weekend, here it is. A perfect fit!

  1. Sam permalink
    July 6, 2004 10:31 am

    May I be the first to post on the drop dead gorgeousness of every single picture?! 😉 The yarns are simply lovely, Caroline, and you have an oo-la-la guy in a perfect sweater. Your stars are aligned. 🙂

  2. July 6, 2004 10:36 am

    Congrats on your successful dyeing play, Caroline! I think that the garnet combo yarn looks great and will be awesome to work with. I can almost guarantee that the little bit of fulling (sticking together) malarkey that they yarn presents will come out in the winding. No biggie. It happens more with some fibers than other.
    The sweater is PERFECT and the recipient looks perfect in it. I am putting my hand on Sam’s Woo hoo crank handle and giving it a spin.
    Lisa S

  3. Laura permalink
    July 6, 2004 2:18 pm

    My, my, my! Completely handsome – sweater and guy. And he looks so proud! You should be too!
    Love the yarn – very Caroline colors! Just to put your mind at rest, My habk od Celadon Moriah from Lisa was ever so slightly stuck together. It would out just fine.

  4. Angela permalink
    July 6, 2004 3:22 pm

    What wonderful pictures Caroline! The dyeing adventures came out looking wonderful and oh my that’s a good looking sweater holder. 😉

  5. Debi permalink
    July 6, 2004 5:50 pm

    Wow! What a great post, yummy and beautifully dyed yarn, yummy and beautifully outfitted sailor’s rib (and cute sailor in it too!!)
    Thanks for being inspirational, as always!
    BTW, I sent you an email about becoming part of Pink Tea but got no response. Can you email me when you get a chance?

  6. June P permalink
    July 6, 2004 6:00 pm

    Oooohh Caroline!! This dyeing is so lovely!! Makes me want to go search out some silk to dye up the same way you did! But, the tangles make me hesitate!! VBG! Make a lace doily with it? Maybe?? – June

  7. Linette permalink
    July 6, 2004 9:56 pm

    Great stuff, Caroline I echo everybody’s comments, including about the cutie in the sailor’s rib sweater 🙂

  8. vanessa permalink
    July 7, 2004 4:41 am

    give me a turn at the whoohoo crank, fantastic!!!!!

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