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Dye Hard 2: Dye Harder!

The other half of my most recent dyeing spree was — well, it’s hard to say.  I can’t really categorise it in terms of success or failure, since I wasn’t really sure how things were going to turn out.  However, I had another skein of something white and soft (and unlabelled, although I think it has a bit of angora in it) and I had my heart set on a gentle variegated yellow: I wanted one end of the skein to be pale, baby-duckie yellow, and the other end to be bold, huge-sunflower yellow. Using the dip-dye approach, and a shallow pot, I was sure I could get a nice even, pretty variegation.

Now, the food colouring powder I use is stored in unlabelled little shaker bottles — samples leant from a friend.  So I took the one I thought was yellow food powder and shook it into a jug of water to begin mixing, and two things happened.  The first is that it turns out, for this brand, yellow powder makes green dye.  And not dainty, lemon-lime green, but bold, treefrogs on stereoids, millions of oak trees GREEN.  If I looked closely, I could see that, actually, the yellow powder was mixed fairly evenly with blue powder.  Okay, I figured, I was going to make a variegated green yarn.  Hey, I do yoga: I can groove with unexpected turns.  And then the second thing happened: the lid fell off the shaker and emptied the entire contents into the dye pot.  I threw my head back and laughed merrily, after I’d cursed a bit.  So began the dip-dyeing!

All the yarn outside the pot in this picture was supposed to stay white.  However, the sucking power of the yarn, combined with gravity, was enough to get a rivulet of green dye chugging onto the foil tray, and soon my white skein end was a pretty light green.

Here, I’ve implemented an elevated drip system, in order to prevent the lighter end of the skein having dye run through it from the darker end.

The end result was pretty satisfying.  The variegation was certainly more subtle than in the red skein, and the colours came out strong and pretty.  There’s just one thing:

I think I’ve accidentally made Christmas yarn.

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