An Experiment in Colour

So I managed to come into the possession of a sweater’s worth of Jaeger cream-coloured DK yarn.  It’s a cotton/acrylic blend, and has a lovely drape to it. But as there is absolutely no stretch, I wasn’t sure what kind of project I wanted it for. I need my knits to take a bit of a beating and carry on carrying on, know what I mean? So in the end I settled for the easy-to-wear and comfy-looking Mama Vertebrae, a pattern which was gifted to me by a friend.

However, I don’t do ‘cream’. At least, not in clothes. I have kids and they’re messy, I hate laundry, and I don’t think it’s a very flattering colour on me anyway. So what to do with all this cream yarn?

Dye it, of course!

So I got out my supplies. I knew this was going to be an experiment because acrylic yarn doesn’t dye easily, and although it’s a cotton/acrylic blend, I wasn’t sure how evenly the dye would take. Choosing a colour was the hardest part: do I go bright and risk ending up with something middling? Do I go dark and end up with something heather-like? Finally, after a lot of opinion polls, I went with something that flew into my head on a whim: grey. I like grey, I like almost all shades of grey (no, not the book!!), and I thought I’d pair the finished yarn with bright stripes of yarn mined from my stash when it came time to knit the cardigan.

I used Dylon dye in this case, because I wasn’t willing to invest a lot of money into an experiment right now, and Dylon is cheap, easy to use and to acquire in my part of the world. Here was my set up:

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Sorry for the dark pictures. We have terrible lighting in our house, and I could only do this project at night once the kids were in bed. On the left are my handy blue rubber gloves, the yarn, one package of Antique Grey Dylon, the appropriate amount of salt, and a plastic basin. I did this all in the bathtub to minimise mess.

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I mixed the Dylon, salt, and water and began soaking my yarn! Cue lots of breath-holding! It seemed to be working….

…And then I took it out, rinsed it several times, and hung it out to dry. I was insanely slightly concerned about the greenish tint, and seriously considered dyeing over the yarn again or stripping it.

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After about an eon of drying time (no kidding, it took like 2 weeks), I finally got fed up and finished off the dampness by alternating putting it in the sun and next to the radiator. Probably not the smartest move. But I’m impatient, and it did no harm. Luckily, drying changed the colour radically. Gone was the greenish tint and out came a lovely silvery sheen, just like steel wool, but much, much softer!

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And now it’s just waiting to be knit! I’ve chosen shades of vermillion, gold, and teal to randomly stripe throughout. Hopefully this will end up being an experiment I can be proud of!

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One thought on “An Experiment in Colour

  1. Pingback: The Perfect Sweater | A Million Paper Stars

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