Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I dyed!

In the spring of 2008, I received my first lace shawl kit from the inaugural Year of Lace Club. It was the Phoenix Rising shawl designed by Sivia Harding. The colour was a gorgeous orange. I completed that shawl (in record time, I might add) and the end result was beautiful.... but it was orange. I am blonde and orange is one of those colours that I just can NOT wear. It makes my hair look orange and brings out the most unattractive skin tones. In the end, I decided to give it to my friend Christina. A beautiful brunette.... with perfect colouring for orange.

She has only been able to wear the shawl once. It has been a very difficult colour for her to wear with her existing wardrobe and although she, also, loved the colour... it sat in her closet, looking lovely, but mostly unwearable. We were discussing her impending move to Egypt and the need for shawls there, when the shawl came up in conversation. I decided right then to try to dye it. I've never dyed anything before (well, I did dye one shirt with RIT, but that doesn't count). I asked around for bits of advice, chose a dark red and blue and dove in.

First I soaked it overnight.

Then I started the dye on the stove. According to the directions I needed 2-4% of the dry weight of the shawl, but I had read to use more for silk and decided to use 6g of Crimson Jacquard Dye. I also thought I'd add just a touch of Brilliant Blue (about 2.5 ml), to deepen the red and add a darker cast. I then took the plunge and dunked the shawl in the hot dye bath. I cooked it just below boiling for about an hour and then began the rinsing process. I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed.... and the shawl just kept bleeding. The original freshly dyed colour was a dark raisin... almost brown, but with a definite red cast... it was lovely.....
I kept rinsing.... and the shawl kept bleeding.... I finally called Annie and she told me to dump a bunch of vinegar in the pot.... I did so and almost immediately, the dye stopped bleeding..... I did a few final rinses and then blocked the shawl.... and OH.MY.GAWD did it turn out nice!!!! The resultant colour is a rich cranberry..... and GORGEOUS! The pictures just can NOT do it justice...... I am VERY tempted to not give it back to Christina...... although, I will, of course.....

I AM going to hunt for that colour of yarn though and make a stole out of it..... it is the perfect red.........


  1. That's awesome... I never started that kit in part because the orange just didn't appeal to me personally but cranberry... that's a seriously gorgeous colour!

  2. Wow! Good for you for being so brave! I have never dyed anything myself, but this is encouraging!

  3. i'm glad it worked out!

    christina is moving? i was hoping that you'd dodged that bullet.


  4. Funny how things like vinegar can work wonders. Happy New Year.