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The Great Dyeing Adventure, Part 3

It’s been a while since I touched on the Great Dyeing Adventure, and I don’t quite feel like I got to wring all the juice out of that particular episode. Actually, this has been a string of episodes; a saga, if you will. To be honest, it’s still going: right now, there’s a big pot on the stove, with yarn cooling in it. Tomorrow I’ll drain it and see what it has brought me.

The dyeing that we spoke of earlier, where I dyed Peach Twist and Cream Twist so that they came out a hideous zombie khaki. Remember that? Ugh. Yeah, we all remember that.

Well, the reason that all this dyeing came about was that I bought some Angora Supreme on eBay. I bid fiercely and won eight balls of purple, and five of white. The purple, when it arrived, turned out to be too…too, as the saying goes. It was too something, and I didn’t want to wear it all over me as a sweater. The realisation that I had a buttload of yarns I didn’t want to wear got me thinking, and I decided I would either have to swap it on ravelry (eh, too much hard work to get to the post office) or adjust the yarn to suit my taste. Here’s a pic of the yarn, pre-dyeing.

My first goal was towards the blue spectrum: I thought I could deepen the purple and move it into the indigo spectrum through the judicious application of blue dye. So I skeined up two balls, and into the pot they went. Then, after a strangely lengthy conversation with M about the values of teal as a colour, I decided I would try to push some purple yarn in teal’s direction, as well: into a pot of green dye, with just a little blue to bring it closer to the purple yarn. Here are the results, side by side:

Pretty, but still not quite there for me. I love rich, gem tones, not cookie-monster blue and vaguely-darker purple (the purpler one on the right is the ‘teal’ dye job — yeah, I know, really green, huh?).

I then decided it was time for some hardcore dye. My Mum, a childcare worker (Hi Mum!) suggested Edicol, a heavily-concentrated food dye powder used by childcare staff to make playdough, paint, and other craft supplies. Completely non-toxic and damn near impossible to get out of your clothes. Seemed perfect. Thusly equipped, I thought about pushing the purple angora in the other direction, towards the red end of the spectrum. I used a full bottle of red dye, as well as a few generous spoonfuls of red Edicol powder. Et voila! Isn’t it gorgeous? I urge you to click in order to embiggen the picutre, because there’s a whole lot of awesome red/purple variegation that really tickles me. So cool.

Actually, I was so pleased with the intensity of the redness in this dye job, that I’m now redyeing the skeins that I had previously overdyed with blue. I think I should be able to push those blue skeins from spring blueish-purple to a full indigo, which will be very, very pretty indeed.

The Angora Supreme says ‘hand wash’ on the label, which means I’ve been very careful about not shocking the yarns when moving them between waters. Well, sort of. The first few skeins, I made sure the washing water, the soaking water, the dyeing water and the rinsing water were all about the same temperature. The next few, I was a bit more lax. The skeins cooling on the stovetop, er, may be felted: I actually forgot they were there, and they reached a pretty cheerful boil before I remembered. Still, I’ll see how they look tomorrow. I’m letting them cool slowly, gently, overnight.

And if they come out the deep indigo that I’m praying for…well, I’ll have a crack at overdyeing the other skeins, the ones I had planned to come out dark teal. If I can get a pretty, variegated, dark teal with undertones of purple, I’ll be one very happy snail.*
* Rule Number 84 of the Internet: Don’t tell people the wistful hopes you have, especially when you know you’ll have to blog about the outcomes later.

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