Friday, September 7, 2007

Yarn Soup

I realized last week that indie dyers are worth every penny we pay them for their gorgeous creations. This realization (OK, not really so much of a realization, I always understood that a lot of effort, thought, patience and time went into dyeing, and I think that should be reflected in the price of goods that are sold) came as I tried my hand at overdyeing some Blue Sky Cotton.

The original yarn

My husband wandered into the kitchen and thought I had lost my mind and decided to feed my yarn habit, literally - "You're making yarn soup?!"

"Yarn Soup"

The top picture shows the Blue Sky Cotton I purchased with an eye toward knitting Tomato. I'm not sure what I was thinking. Let's just say that I would look absolutely awful in this color! I think it would look spectacular on someone with a deep olive skin tone, or an African American. But it would do nothing for my pasty face!
I figured that a good solution would be to overdye it. Everyone always talks about this mythical overdyeing process, so I figured it couldn't be too hard, right? I ordered some Cushing Direct dye from Earth Guild, with a hope that I could turn the above yarn into a pretty chocolate brown. The directions state that you need to the yarn to simmer on the stovetop in a glass, enamel or stainless steel vessel. I didn't have any of those, and I couldn't find one at the Goodwill, so I decided to improvise and use my crockpot. I needed to dye 7 skeins of yarn, and using the crockpot limited me to dyeing two skeins at a time. I knew it would take a little longer, but I was careful to write down exactly what I did, so that I could replicate it each time.

Drying in the sun

The final result

The results are not horrible, but it is not the gorgeous chocolate brown I had lovingly dreamed of. I have ordered additional dye, so I may see if I can borrow a larger appropriate vessel, and dye all seven skeins again.
Overall, I enjoyed the exercise, but ultimately decided that I will leave the dyeing to the experts. After all, they make the beautiful yarn in the final picture. That's far better than anything I could ever create. And this way I can focus more on knitting.

Ooohhhh! Yarn dyed by people with a knack for such things.


Crazy Colorado Knitter said...

Ooooh. If the blue sky cotton doesn't have any sort of wool in it, and if you used the cushing's acid dyes (and not the direct dyes), I can see why you didn't get that chocolate brown.

You should be able to get that lovely chocolate brown with a good fiber-reactive dye (or the cushing's "direct dye").

homesteadinmamma said...

It may not have turned the color you wanted, but it is a wonderful earthy tone mustard! I love it!

Holly said...

I did use the direct dyes; I have only myself to blame for the lack of success! I think that I am going to knit up what I have, and then decide if I want to overdye the sweater once it's complete. We'll see!