Monday, May 8

Forest Green: Take One

Day two of dyeing, I got more sophisticated. My goal is a colorway that reminds me of the forest, a mix of greens and browns. My secret pal said they were open to just about any colors. However, reading the pal's blog, it is clear that there is an affinity with nature. As my pal does not live in the Pacific Northwest, I wanted to create a colorway that would reflect my local forests.

The skein is about 12 feet in diameter, wound using the very simple warping board I made with some long nails and an old kitchen cabinet door. Although the posts of the intricate warping boards for self-striping yarn make that look like fun, I am just not there yet. Simple variagations it will be. The deck table is prepared with the damp skein on top of the Value Village $2 tablecloth, protected somewhat with saran wrap.

My son decided to help. He has a great color sense, but had been intimidated by the idea of dyeing. I purchased enough yarn for him to dye a skein, but he's been dubious about joining me in this adventure.

I made solutions of each of the seven colors of Permalon dye. Lots of plastic cups and spoons to play around with the combinations, looking for the perfect greens and browns.

Yellow (Daffodil) & Turquoise made a clear green. Yellow & Royal Blue made a greyer, more subdued green. We made four different solutions, from a dark piny green to a light yellow-green.

Brown was a bit harder. Zach finally got browns we liked by making orange (with daffodil & fire engine red) and adding just a tiny touch of blue.

We used the plastic spoons to ladle the colors onto the yarn, keeping about an inch of white space between colors.

Then I sprayed the whole thing with vinegar, wrapped it in saran wrap and steamed it for about 45 minutes.

Here is the skein, rinsed and still damp. Hard to tell from the photograph, but the dark color at top is exactly the dark piny green we wanted. Some of the other colors came out right also, but look! That bright yellow --- not in the plan. What happened to the blue that had been mixed with it? And what's with that red? Again, that is not at all the brown we got from mixing the colors.

Once this is dry, balled and swatched, I expect it will look fine. Good even. Not what I had intended, but that's to be expected. Zach says it looks more like a Jungle, all the greens with bright flowers.

Questions: Why did the dye react like this? I know enough to know that the final color doesn't necessarily look like the color in the jar, or dripped onto a paper towel, but I don't understand why that one corner in particular lost all the blue and ended up yellow and red.

Possible Answers:
  1. The skein was too dry. I soaked it, squeezed out excess water, but it started drying while we were finalizing the color palette.
  2. the dyes didn't mix thoroughly.
  3. I didn't steam it long enough or I steamed it too long
  4. that one corner got too much acid, not enough acid, more heat or less heat that the rest.
Voila! Here it is. Yes, it is foresty, but not our muted green and grey forests, a happy jungle with flowers, parrots and a hint of sky here and there. I love it. It's good enough to send to my pal, but it is also good enough to keep.

Zach was pleased at the process and the result. (Not that he would wear socks like this, of course). He is interested in trying a skein or two of his own. He made a button for his blog declaring that he is "Not afraid to dye".

My next attempt, I am going to try for a similar colorway, but using only the "pure" colors for mixing: Daffodil, Fucschia, Turquoise and Black. After that I want to try more muted --- along my original PNW forest colors, then perhaps.... I think I am hooked.


Kathleen said...

I continue to live vicariously through you!!!! Wow! That is so cool. I even went to Wool2Dye4 to see what it might be all about... I think I heard the credit card behing me saying, "Step back from the computer and nobody gets hurt!" :)

Reporting on my own progress, I have cast on a hat to send to Dulaan (I figure I can finish it in the next 30 days and still get it mailed off to F.I.R.E. in time!) because the scarf needs to sit and breathe for a bit. (or I do!) The hat is an easy Stockinette interspersed with an extra knit row here and there for texture. Seems like something I could handle right now. It is on size 8 needles and the edges aren't raggedy at all. I think I need shorter size 11s or something for the scarf.

I guess I'm officially (un)hooked, since I now have THREE items cast on to needles (to go with my 25 (or 100 or 2500) crochet projects) and in progress...

I see circs and socks and Wool2Dye4 in my future! Though for now, I really need to UNfavorite that Wool2Dye4 site! :)

Laura said...

Wow I love the results you got with the dyeing!! Makes me think of "Toucan Sam" from the Fruit Loops box. Since you're using a different kind of dye and acid stuff than I'm used to I can't offer any advice about your colors coming out different than you expected. Good luck and even though it came out differently than you planned, it's really great!! That's one of the fun parts about dyeing yarn! :)

wendy said...

Very pretty! You could always use a different brand of dye. Could be easier.

Jen said...

Seems like the blue is the weak link...I don't know how to fix it, but yellow and blue are opposites on the color wheel. Your greens are very yellow (I like them a lot) and I think to get an overall more muted and woodsy green you probably have to add blue and brown. The brown would darken it and the blue would cool it off. I'm really not sure about that, though...but in theory that should work. I have no experience with Permalon though.

jessica~ said...

Wow! That yarn is fabulous! I know it's not what you were looking for, but I think it really came out incredible. Definitly Jungle Yarn. :)

I haven't used that dye so I'm not sure what happened to your brown. Hmmmm....

Lynae said...


Patti said...

Color does some really weird things sometimes - best thing is just to keep a log. I soak the skein in the sink in hot water with a cup of vinegar mixed in - maybe for 20 minutes or so, to saturate it.

That looks nice knitted! I think if you have enough colors, they generally look nice. :)

Melinda said...

The skein looks great, even if it's not what you intended.

I also had a brown "break" on my first hand-painting attempt. It looked like a lovely rosy brown, but mysteriously turned orange upon steaming. Oops. I got a gorgeous brown in another project when adjacent purple and orange ran together - sort of a nice mahogany. I think the key there was that the roving was really saturated - I used a lot of dye.


Leigh said...

That came out so well! I would be very happy to be your secret pal.