Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Proper dyers, look away now!

I had this:

(I had done a cropped version of this photograph, but obviously uploaded the wrong one to Flickr. Ah, well, at least you get to see our genuine Provencale print table cloth....)

Definitely not my preferred shade of grey to make something from, and not my nicest spinning, either (or so I thought). Short of time (ahem), I decided to do a quick and dirty (very) dyebath. A dive into the dye supplies and I come up with three ancients pots of Landscape and Gaywool dyes, one bright red, two ochre/yellow. I throw two of these in to a jug and mix. Too red. So in goes the other yellow. Better.

See what I mean, dyers? I have not weighed the fibre, I have not weighed the dyes, I have No Clue about prospective outcomes. What the hell. Go for, says I.

Simmer, simmer simmer. Leave to cool overnight. Wash - surprisingly little dye residue left in the water. Hey, guess what, it is great! A lovely warm not quite tawny orange, but not quite a rusty red, either. I have tried to photograph it, but the colour isn't coming out true - it is somewhere between these two. (And I am only putting in the blurry one to give the range.)

Now, the nice thing is how the dyeing process has improved some of the deficiencies in the fibre and yarn. I didn't like the fleckiness when grey, but dyed, it looks heathery and interesting. Furthermore, I had spun the yarn as softly as possible, not the easiest thing for me to accomplish, and again, the dyeng process has altered this by very, very slightly fulling the yarn. Now, ordinarily, this would probably not be thought a Good Thing, but in this case, it has improved the yarn both in appearance and structural stability.

Well, gor blimey. I like the stuff, and am really pleased with how, not "knowing" what I was doing, I somehow did "know". Or am I deluding myself.....?

What to do with it? I had thought usual throw or shawl, but maybe it would make a nice new set of hat, scarf, gloves and so on for the projected Norway trip in a year or two?

Watch this space.

Oh - and do not do as I have done, except in similar circumstances - with a fibre or yarn that is Not Much Loved or Does Not Matter. I'm not that crazy.

Edited to add: the colour looks even less right now - I'll try again!


Debbie said...

A bit of serendipity is no bad thing! - and then of course there's always the challenge of reproducing what inevitably turns out to be the best colour you've ever ever ever made ; )

Cassandra said...

Beautiful! Happy accidents are no less happy just because they're accidents. I look forward to seeing what it becomes!