Tuesday, February 20, 2007

They Call Me Mellow Yellow

Anybody remember that old Donovan song? Or am I showing my age as usual? Anyway I’ve mellowed the yellow Sisu wool/nylon fingering yarn that I got from my LYS so much that it’s not yellow anymore. See, Pearl? (I know you’ll be reading this!)

It’s perfectly easy to dye over a light colour like yellow as long as you take into consideration that the under-colour will influence what you dye over it. I went for greens/blues and I think the results are quite nice. I’ll be using this to make a pair of socks for my niece. Thanks, hon’. Anything else you want me to try overdyeing?

The darker the colour you’re trying to overdye, the deeper you need to dye it to influence the colour. I’ve dyed deep red to brown and even black, though the black had a warmish tinge due to the underlying red dye. I used a cool blueish-black to compensate. After a certain point the yarn won’t take up any more dye because all the dye “sites” are used up and there’s nowhere else for more dye molecules to stick. That’s why it’s better to start with a lighter colour to overdye. If it’s light enough, it will barely influence your final results at all, almost as if you started with white or natural.

Speaking of natural, I enjoy dyeing over the natural greys and browns. It makes lovely muted colours that are among my favourites. Another overdye trick is to take a bunch of yarns that don’t play well together colourwise and overdye them all with one dye colour. Instant cooperation. Rug h**kers do this all the time using onion skins over an odd assortment of recycled wool fabrics to mellow them and give them an antique look. They also “marry” colours by putting many swatches in a pot of hot water and soap and simmering until the dye runs out and then re-fixing the dye by adding vinegar. Essentially the technique is similar to a regular overdye except that you don’t add any more dye, just move around what you have already. This only works with certain types of dyes that are not washfast supermilling dyes. The ones I use at home won’t cooperate with marrying — they stubbornly remain single! If I’ve done my job right, once the dye goes in, it stays.

In other crafty news, today I’m back knitting on my beaded beret. I put it on hold for awhile while I worked on birthday socks but I really think I should finish it while there’s still time to wear it. I’ve certainly gotten a lot of wear out of the original wrist warmers and I don’t want them to look all worn out when I’m done the matching hat. Besides, I want to see what the crown decreases are going to look like. It’s an experiment.

I finally got my wire knitting swap in the post today. It's due at the swap mistress's on March 1st but I didn't go out yesterday in the pouring rain. Today I was smart and went out while it was still somewhat sunny. It’s clouding over again and more rain is predicted. Oh, and I picked some overwintered mizuna (Brassica juncea var. japonica) out of my garden today for supper’s salad. The stuff in the greenhouse got all eaten off by slugs and bugs but outside in the garden it survived snow and rain and frost and is now putting out tasty new leaves and sprouts. Yum. While I was out there, the cats wandered out the door and set a Stellar’s jay in the shrubbery squawking at them. Gosh was it loud! And agitated. The cats were pretty oblivious (Ms. Polly is pretty deaf anyway) and just nibbled a little new grass before wanting back in the house. What a pair of delicate old ladies!


Children with out voices said...

It's ok to show your age. lol

Anonymous said...

Love the overdyed yarn. I am going to do that to some of the yarn left over from my own sock making.

Pearl said...

Hey Louisa,

Nice dye job! From blonde to blue.