From Drab to Fab: Overdyeing

It's important to share failures. 

Sometimes, yarn doesn’t come out the way I want it to. I’d like to say that every time I dye I produce beautiful results, but there’s a lot of mistakes that go in to making a masterpiece.

Soaking wool in citric acid or vinegar helps it absorb dye.  Top: not what I expected  Bottom: Undyed wool

Soaking wool in citric acid or vinegar helps it absorb dye.

Top: not what I expected

Bottom: Undyed wool

Above: The first attempt, blegh. Back in the bath.

Above: The first attempt, blegh. Back in the bath.

I thought about donating it or using it as waste yarn. Since I had written it out of my stash, I took the opportunity to experiment.

The results were worth the effort. 

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I'll let you in on a little secret: I've never over dyed yarn before. Before this experiment, I found it pretty intimidating. I had already messed up once, and I didn't want to take a weird color and make it worse by exposing it to heat again. 

Testing prepared turquoise dye.

Testing prepared turquoise dye.

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The original color was a bright yellow, with pools of green yellow. Not exciting. Because yellow is my foundation, any color that I introduce will have a yellow value to it.

I thought green would be an easy transition. Green is a mix of blue and yellow, and I chose turquoise because, why not?

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I browsed through a few videos about over dyeing to get a sense of the final product. My biggest takeaway was to choose a complimentary color- one that would mix well with my yellow base. You can learn more about complimentary colors here.

I let the room temperature dye hang out in the pot for about ten minutes. Introducing the dye early can produce some interesting effects.

I let the room temperature dye hang out in the pot for about ten minutes. Introducing the dye early can produce some interesting effects.

 

If you look closely, you can see how the yellow interacts with the turquoise to make a beautiful greenish blue tone. I purposefully kept a few pieces out of the dye bath to maintain some of the yellows. I wasn't planning for even coverage; more so a subtle shifting of blue to green. 

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I’ll be experimenting with this further. In the meantime, you can pick up a skein of Under the Sea here.

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