Adventures in Dyeing

I made Nell out of Cascade 128, and loved the yarn so much that I wanted to see if I could get more on sale at Webs. Unfortunately, the colors that were left were a little bright. Fuschia? Hot Pink? Orchid? But I thought the orange might be OK, and I could use it to make this jacket.

But when I got the yarn, it was much more neon than I had expected. Fluorescent, in fact. Somewhere between hunter orange and traffic cone orange. I hid it in the closet for a while, and every so often I’d look at it to see if it was really as bright as I remembered.

The Starting Point

Yep. Still bright.

When I was talking about it at SnB, Susan decided that it should be overdyed with blue to tone down the brightness. And she just happened to have some blue dye stock left over from a class. She was going to just leave it on my porch in the middle of the night in the morning on her way to work, but having NO experience in dyeing yarn, I really didn’t want to tackle it on my own. Susan finally gave in to my pathetic pleading and came over on a beautiful sunny day to help me with it, armed with gallons of various dye stock.

Lots of dye

She had an electric turkey roaster that she uses for dyeing, and my LYS was kind enough to let me borrow one of theirs, since I had too much yarn (about 2 pounds) to do in one.

The roasters

We did some samples, trying a blue overdye and a red overdye. At first we had too much blue dye, and it made the yarn pretty scary looking. Those test pieces went right into the trash. But a lighter solution of blue dye did tone down the brightness, and made the color more of a burnt orange. The red made a really lovely, firey red-orange, which reminded me of the yarn I used for Scoop du Jour.

It’s probably hard to tell in the photo below, but the top left snippet is the original yarn, the one on the bottom left has the red overdye, and the one on the right has the blue overdye. It was hard to choose whether to go with the red or blue dye, as I liked both of them. But since the redder one was so similar to Scoop du Jour, and although pretty, it was still a very bright color, I decided to go with the blue dye since it was more like the orange I was hoping it would be when I bought it.

Some samples

So into the pot it went.

In the dye pot

We had mixed feelings about the result. The yarn was pretty blotchy from some parts having absorbed a lot more dye than other parts, but we mostly liked how the color worked. But when dried out a bit, it looked like some parts of the yarn really didn’t take up any of the dye at all, and were still pretty bright. We agreed that if we redyed it with more blue, we would be risking having the darker parts turn out like our failed test pieces. Susan suggested dyeing the yarn again with some red and a bit of black. She mixed up a light concentration and added half of it to the pot, figuring we’d use the other half for the remaining yarn in the other pot. We held our breath and dunked in the yarn. It didn’t make too much of a change, but it did look better. Since the change was subtle, we decided to redye the same yarn again with the remaining dye. Eureka! We both really liked the result. The lighter sections became much closer to the darker sections, and the color was improved. Susan mixed up another batch of dye in the same proportion, and we dyed the remaining yarn in the same way, dyeing it twice with half of the dye each time.

And the result? We went from this:

to this:
The result

Susan thinks it looks like Malabrigo’s Cinnabar. I agree. So it shall be dubbed “Susan’s Cinnabar”.

I definitely owe Susan big-time.

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10 Responses to Adventures in Dyeing

  1. margene says:

    You and Susan do good work together. The new color looks fabulous!

  2. Cayenne says:

    Whew! Quite the adventure. The yarn looks fabulous. Yay for good friends.

  3. Carrie says:

    Very nice! My go-to is black cherry koolaid. I like it every time. heh.

  4. How cool! I hope you bring it on Tuesday!

  5. Chris says:

    Very, very cool! Glad it turned out well – that’s always the thrill/fear in dyeing…

  6. Stacey says:

    Beautiful! I love that we can make whatever coor we want when things just don’t look right.

  7. Cookie says:

    Woo Hoo!

    Wonderful fix. You’re lucky to have Susan helping you.

  8. susan says:

    I love the way the swatch looks. When will my sweater be done??

  9. Kathy says:

    Cool! That Susan is wicked smart!! 🙂

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