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Red and Orange

March 4, 2008

dye-redmerino-pot.jpgI did some dyeing today, sticking to the warm end of the color spectrum, focused on red and orange. I use Jacquard Acid Dyes, which come in powder form, and which I mix up into strong solutions, ready for mixing (specifically, I mix 1 tsp of powder into 8 oz of water, to make a solution of each of my dye colors). When I am ready to dye, I usually start with small, test amounts of both dye and fiber, trying out several color mixes until I am satisfied with my results, and then I scale up the process to dye a larger batch of yarn.

Here is my dyepot on the stove, in the process of dyeing some recycled merino yarn (a light fingering weight) from a light brown color, into a deep red.


My main goal, however, was to test several dye mixtures on two lace-weight yarns: silk and mohair. I plan to make a top of some kind out by knitting together these 2 yarns, and I wanted to dye them 2 similar colors that would meld well. So I stuck with shades of orange, red, dark red, and ended up with a purple too.


This first swatch shows what my original knitted test swatch looked like (I knit it first, they dyed it afterwards). The top section is the mohair knit by itself, the middle section is the silk lace knit by itself, and the bottom section is the two yarns knit together.

mohair-silk-dye-test-hanks mohair-silk-dyetest-swatch-small.jpg

Here are the 4 dye test colors, in little hanks, and then knit up into a test swatch, mixing different colors of silk and mohair to achieve pretty cool effects – from subtle to quite variegated. It was interesting how the silk and mohair each took the dye up quite differently, so the same dyebath could yield quite distinct results, depending on fiber. I think the results are magnificent – the silk sparkles through beneath the saturated and fluffy mohair, in spectacularly vibrant colors.

So next I have to choose which colors to go with, and dye larger quantities, then design the top (long sleeves, short? cowl, or v-neck?), and knit it up. Also, if I have left-overs from the eventual top, I will finish the above swatch into a matching scarf! Now the most difficult part: decisions!

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