Saturday, January 05, 2008

Got Dye?

You've seen the picture on the left before. It's the Rory Gallagher scarf I finished in Maine last weekend. The picture on the right is the very same scarf, overdyed in a vivid blue. It's a much more vivid blue than I expected, but I rather like the electric vibe it gives off. Dare I say that I think Rory himself might have liked it, too?

What a journey it was getting to the finished color! Today marks the second time I have thrown this thing into a vat of blue dye. This first attempt, a little earlier this week, was Not Good. I followed the procedure I usually follow, measuring 1-1/4 oz of citric acid into my kettle full of water, then added my dye solution and stirred well, then added my pre-soaked scarf. Then I turned up the heat and waited until the temperature was right, but...why, o why was it not sucking up that blue dye like nobody's business?

Lift the lid, stir gently, and o, ye Gods, what on earth is that SMELL???

Rhode Islanders will understand when I say it smelled like the Vendresca Brothers had offloaded their truck into my dye kettle, and the stench was rapidly permeating every inch of the house.

For those who are not familiar with the Vendresca Brothers, what's brown and sounds like a bell? DUNNNNNNG. Human variety. Peeeeeyuchhhhh.

Was it something about the merino yarn I was dyeing? I mean, what does anyone know, really, about how a mill treats their stuff? Should I buy more and see if this new batch is just as stinky, or....?

In the morning, I checked the box where I keep my citric acid, recalling that there was also a bag of soda ash in there, too.


I used soda ash instead of citric acid. They are both the same color and in similar sized bags and the lighting wasn't good when I started the project and my brain wasn't quite in gear and...

Sheesh! No wonder I only got powder blue instead of the medium stonewash denim color I wanted.

Today I used the right chemical. There was minimal stench and the color is much closer to what I intended.

Just to prove I Can Do It Right, I dyed three more kettles full of stuff today. Pictures coming when the resulting yarns are dry.

It's later than it should be for supper, but I'm putting the finishing touches on anyway. I forget to eat when I work as hard as I have today, and I just realized I'm actually quite hungry!

1 comment:

Alison said...

It's gorgeous!

--AlisonH at