Dye Results

It appears that yarn dyeing, like yoga, is one of those exercises designed to teach me patience, acceptance, and observation without judgement. (These, by the way, are not easy things for me.) It frustrates me when I have a vision of what I want and can’t predict the best way to achieve that vision. At the same time, it’s kind of fun to say “screw it!” and just see what happens. That’s what went on in my kitchen this weekend.

Dye Results | Woolen Diversions

I call this Splattered Turquoise.

If you remember from Friday’s post, I dyed this skein twisted up in the hank, more or less just to see what would happen. When I took it out of the pot, the whole thing was bright blue and I thought my little experiment had failed. But, when I unwound the hank, the undyed bits of natural grey/brown yak/silk were visible.

Dye Results | Woolen Diversions

Glamor shot.

I had been hoping to use this technique to achieve a gently variegated, speckled look… which I did not achieve. The turquoise was far brighter than I had anticipated (even at a depth-of-shade of only .25) and the variegation is not subtle at all. I think I will eventually overdye this with a pale green or a solid blue to get a lower contrast variegation and use it in a cowl or hat or something. Still not sure what I’ll do with the rest of the sweater quantity, perhaps just a DOS 0.10 solid overdye to give it some color, we’ll see.

Dye Results | Woolen Diversions

Silver Grey overdye… barely changed it at all.

My next plan was to overdye 2 skeins of BMFA Twisted (2 plies of Merino wool plied with 1 of superwash Merino (the darker strand)) to achieve a more subtle variegation for use in a sweater. The photo above shows a skein after using up my entire stock of Silver Grey. It barely made a difference! In fact, it really only seemed to affect the superwash strand strongly (superwash yarns take up dye at a faster rate than non-superwash). Turns out that a DOS of 1.5 is not very strong for such a light color dye.

Dye Results | Woolen Diversions

Back in the dyepot…

Back in the pot it went, this time with Midnight Black at a DOS of 0.25. I was hesitant to use a LOT of dye at once, because you can’t undye things, so the process took forever as I tried something, added more dye, checked results, added more dye, etc. The poor Faisco was getting a headache from suffering through basically an entire dye of vinegar/citric acid/dye mixtures simmering away on the stove.

Dye Results | Woolen Diversions

Dye results with DOS 0.25 black.

I think I’m happy enough with these results. The initial overdye with Silver Grey sort of dampened the colors a bit and changed their tone, and then the Midnight Black darkened them up overall. The yarn is still quite variegated, you can see the green/purple/pink/blue sections fairly clearly, but I think the overdye did make them more cohesive and hopefully more garment-appropriate. I don’t want to subject these skeins to any more dye, a couple strands are already starting to felt up a bit from all the boiling, so hopefully I’ll like it well enough when I swatch!

Have you tried dyeing your own yarn? How do you get to what you envision, or do you just throw caution to the wind and see what happens?


All The (Pretty) Things

I’m taking a page from Truly Myrtle‘s book and sharing a few sort-of-random things this Friday evening.



Dyeing has been on my mind lately. (Also probably Truly Myrtle’s fault!) I have several skeins of the above lovely, naturally grey/brown yak/silk fiber that I plan to use in a Salted pullover. However, I’m not a fan of uniform colors in my knitting and I love the speckled look of the plain stockinette sections of the sweater sample, so I thought I’d dye one skein and see if I could achieve a similarly subtle variegation. I took a stab with a depth of shade of 0.25 of Turquoise and I submerged the yarn in the dyepot all twisted up in the hank, as shown above, with the idea that the twisted bits would act as a resist and prevent the dye from completely penetrating the whole skein. It’s simmering as I write and I keep peeking in the pot, but I don’t think my plan is working. It’s looking pretty saturated and dark and the dye bath is not exhausting… sigh. I suppose that’s why we practice!

All The (Dyeable) Things | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Twisted, colorway Aurora Borealis

My next Grand Plan is to overdye two skeins of BMFA Twisted. It feels blasphemous to overdye Tina’s gorgeous handiwork, especially since I do really love the color, but my stash lacks sweater quantities of yarn, and two skeins of this is just enough to make a Cypress vest/pullover in my size:

Cypress vest by Jared Flood. Copyright Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood. Click for pattern page.

The issue is that I just can’t see myself wearing such a multicolored garment. I have some Silver Grey dye that I think will darken the colors up just enough to make them cohesive enough for a garment, while preserving some variegation. (If anybody has some tips on how best to go about achieving this goal, I’m all ears!) I’m not sure what’s gotten hold of me lately but I want a sweater, and I want it now, so Cypress it is.

All The (Pretty) Things | Woolen Diversions

Sweet, sweet Darwin.

All The (Pretty) Things | Woolen Diversions

Stoic Calypso.

I’ve been continuing to practice with my new camera. I love it. I’ve taken a truly absurd number of cat photos over the last few days. Oh well! I suppose I’m just another stereotype after all.

All The (Pretty) Things | Woolen Diversions

Forthcoming fall scents!

I’ve been a busy bee preparing fall fragrances for Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe. Some of them should go up this weekend after our farmer’s market tomorrow. If you live in or near Rhode Island, come visit the Mount Hope Farmer’s Market in Bristol, we’ll be there from 9am – 1pm (on Saturday 9/20)!

And now for the most random of the things I wanted to share this evening: as you may or may not know, I’ve been a big fan of Jason Mraz’s music for over a decade (yikes). Much of my down time during 2003 was spent watching ad nauseum when I should’ve been sleeping grainy video clips of his small time performances in a coffeehouse in California. His voice and musical style are just… incomparable. There’s nothing quite like his mysic: a little bit of twang, a little bit of soul, a little bit of 70’s rock, a little bit of cheesiness, a ton of lyrical wordplay, and a whole lot of talent.

All The (Pretty) Things | Woolen Diversions

That fuzzy man on stage is Mr. Jason Mraz.

When a friend from grad school had an extra ticket to a show I hadn’t even known was happening I jumped all over the chance to see my long-time-love. He has a new album out that he wrote with an all-girl folk band, Raining Jane. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the band change at first but after seeing the show, I love it. He said about the collaboration that he had needed a change, he was dealing with some writer’s block and he would’ve put out a record either way but that he’s so grateful they agreed to work with him because they were what he needed to produce music that “filled his heart”. It’s interesting to think of artists we admire dealing with creative burnout. If you have Amazon Prime, there are several of Jason’s albums available for free download. His newest one, Yes!, is the one with Raining Jane and it is worth every penny of the $6.99 that Amazon is currently charging. Below you’ll find a ‘short film’ which is essentially 3 continuous music videos in one. They perfectly represent the dreamy quality of this new album, and I’ve never seen someone make a whole mini movie out of their videos before. Check it out!

While I’m super excited about the new direction his music is taking, I’ll always love him best when it’s just him and his guitar. But I suppose that’s enough fangirlin’ for one night. I could go on, but I’ll spare you (unless you want more info, just let me know). Plus, I’ve got a few hours worth of Jason to watch and a dyepot to check up on. Happy Friday!

IS #55: Dyepot (Mis)Adventures

Remember my first time dyeing yarn, back in November? I dyed a lovely skein of Elsa Wool Cormo yarn a decidedly less lovely shade of day-glow green. To figure out the best way to overdye the skein for results that I like, I thought I’d practice on some of the 30 oz. of Romney fiber I have stashed. I apologize in advance for the eye-searing-ness of this post.


I took about 4.5 oz of fiber, replicated the low-water immersion dyeing that I performed on the Cormo skein, and produced that hunking mass of ectoplasm which I split into 7 tiny bundles of about 0.65 oz each. I overdyed one of the bundles with yellow at a depth-of-shade (DOS) of 0.75.

QUICK LESSON: When you mix your dyestocks in a 1:100 solution (1 g of dye powder for every 100 mL of water), a DOS of 1 would mean that you used the same number of mL of dyestock solution as grams of wool you want to dye. Since 0.65 oz of wool = 18.5 g, I would’ve used 18.5 g of dyestock if I wanted a DOS of 1. A smaller DOS such as 0.75 would result in a lighter color because you use less dye. I used 13 mL of yellow dyestock, which is 75% of the 18.5 g of wool.


I also tried out a bunch of different methods for applying dye to fiber. I poured out 6 cups of dyestock: yellow, silver grey, amazon green, chestnut, amethyst purple, and turquoise. The top right shows one bundle with grey dye just poured over it. The bottom right shows another bundle half dipped in green and the other half dipped in chestnut. The bottom left shows a third bundle with yellow poured on and grey dabbed on with a paintbrush. Not shown is a particularly messy bundle where I alternated between dipping sections in green and purple as well as one where I poured lots of turquoise on and dabbed a little grey.


For my last bundle, I used whatever was left over of the yellow, green, and chestnut to paint stripes across the fiber. For this bundle, I carefully folded the saran wrap over so that the dye wouldn’t mix across the surface of the fiber (the others I just rolled up because I wanted mixing). I bought a handy dandy steamer specifically so I could do this little multi-dye experiment. Unfortunately, I think it’s a little small to be able to fit a lot of fiber in, I packed it pretty tightly to fit about 2 oz on one tray and 2 oz on the other.  I steamed for 45 minutes and then since there seemed to be a lot of unabsorbed dye in the bundles I rearranged the packets (with tongs!) so that bottom ones were on top and steamed for another 30 minutes. Then I let them sit overnight. In the morning I let each bundle sit in water with some vinegar added for a few minutes to rinse out any remaining dye.

IMG_5755Here are some of the results… Top left is the yellow dabbed with grey, top right is the half chestnut and half amazon green dipped bundle, and in front is the one with turqoise poured on.

IMG_5756And the rest: top left is the amazon green alternated with purple, top right is the one with silver poured on, bottom left is the yellow immersion dye, and bottom right is the one on which I painted stripes of yellow, chestnut, and green.

To be honest, I don’t love any of them. I like the chestnut/green and the purple/green overdyes best, but they’re not what I was going for. When I first dyed the yarn/fiber I was hoping for a spring green and all of these are still too electric, especially with the yellow added on. Someone helpfully suggested overdyeing with red or pink, the opposite color on the color wheel, which should help tone down the green. At some point soon, I’m going to do another round of experiments overdyeing with different shades of red. Thankfully this fiber won’t go to waste as the next meeting of my spinner’s guild will be a carding party and all these different colors will be fun additions to art batts!

Have you tried dyeing before? How did you get results you were aiming for? I have always loved hand-dyed yarn but now my respect for the people creating beautiful colorways has gone even higher! Feeling inspired this week? Share with us in the comments below!