Dyealong Wrap Up

Thanks to everybody for following along with (and participating in) our sock blank dyealong!  We’ll be posting our finished projects over the next several weeks, and you’ll be able to see how our sock blank dye jobs translate to actual stitches.  Just a reminder, you can still enter to win a $50 gift card by emailing a photo of your own dyed sock blank – here are the details.

I’m a big fan of the Jacquard acid dyes, and I use them all the time at home.  Instead of dyeing sock blanks or Bare yarn, though, I usually tend to dye a lot of roving and loose fiber for spinning my own yarn.  For one of my first attempts, I tried dyeing the roving by handpainting it with foam brushes, wrapping it in plastic wrap, then steaming on the stovetop.  I chose a basic rainbow color palette (since I was just starting the whole dyeing thing) and this is what I got:

(That’s my cat Eddie, mashing up my nice fluffy roving.)

I spun the roving in color order, and once I had two bobbins full I plyed them together in roughly the same order so that the colors would blend and kind of “smash” into each other.  I knit the yarn up into a basic linen-stitch scarf, and this is what I got:

Crazy!  I wasn’t expecting to get such great transitions in color, and now I wear this scarf all the time during the winter.

After that experiment, it was all downhill from there – picking more exotic palettes of color, trying to blend specific shades, making sloppy batches that just soaked up leftover dye from the pot, overdyeing with weird colors. 

Blues, greens and purples with some intentional white space.

Yellows and browns, unintentional orange, and an overall banana-ish effect.

Trying to break out of my color “safety zone” with some bright pink, black, and yellow.

Red, indigo blue, and purple with the vinegar added near the end of the dye process.

A little “whoops!” with the chartreuse, but I really like how it turned out.

One of my favorite things about dyeing is that accidents can end up as happy accidents with a little problem solving.  Even when something turns out completely off from what I expected, if I reframe my thinking about the project I can usually make it work out.  Too much contrast or too many bright colors?  Ply it together with a solid or dark-colored single for a marled effect.  Final colorway is underwhelming?  Try an overdye to make a softly tonal yarn – even if it’s all brown, they’ll be rich and nuanced browns.  If it’s something you absolutely can’t stand, trade with a friend or try dyeing it to a solid color you can use.