Pot o Gold
Tuesday September 26th 2006, 9:19 pm
Filed under: To dye for

First, the technical info: this is the Four Sisters-patterned angora scarf before dyeing or blocking. I soaked the scarf in hot water in the sink after taking this photo, added water to the pot, brought it to a simmer, and added my dye.

Purple. I thought it would make a somewhat earthy purple. Um… The way to tell God a joke is to tell him your plans, right? Especially when overdyeing fiber, although, serendipity is part of the fun. But when the camouflage green started coming up, I was pretty horrified. If it had been wool, I could have lifted it out into another dyepot, added more of another color, or simply moved it to clear water to simmer some of that reversible dye back out. But this was angora, and very old and fragile angora at that. What I did was to take some Jacquard Fire Engine Red, add it to a paper cup full of hot water so as to get it in solution, hold the scarf to the side of the pot with my wooden spoon, and pour it in at the other side and then stir gently. I’ll show you the results tomorrow when it’s done drying and blocking, but it’s definitely not wearing Army boots anymore.

You know, that yellow is the color of my teenage rebellion. I vividly remember my mother buying a dress for me when I was in junior high school. It had been at the very edge of her budget; she had splurged to buy me something nice. It was to be my best dress, for church and the like. The color was very much in style–these were in the days of shag carpets and refrigerators in harvest gold and avocado green–so Mom thought she was being hip in picking that one out for me. I could go fit in with the crowd like all kids aspire to.

Except, there’s not a young teenager on the planet who likes what their mommies choose for them to wear. Not at that particular age. It was doubleknit and synthetic (maybe that’s when my natural-fibers fanaticism started.) Right in style (as were polyester suits for men; the horror, the horror.) Guilt over the price I knew she must have paid only added to the fire–I was NOT going to wear that! No way!

I did, once, actually, and vividly recall my shame walking through Cabin John Junior High’s library, sure that everybody was looking up from their books to stare at The Dress. All by myself, I managed to be utterly humiliated. I never wore it again.

I thought of that when, not long ago, a friend rolled his eyes over his 13-year-old niece’s being dramatic. I laughed: “ALL 13-year-old girls are dramatic!”

I should know. And hey: you see that scarf up there? It’s actually brighter and a little more orange than in that photo. And, like the four previous ones, it ended up the color it wanted to be when it grew up.

Because I never, ever wore that shade of yellow again. (Sorry, Mom.)

2 Comments so far
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Camoflage green + Fire engine red= Purple? Can’t wait to see.

My 14 year old wants a new coat. I said “No way” am I buying a coat without her approval. She’s got a perfectly good one here she refuses to wear because of the color (never mind it’s warm and waterproof and a good price!) It’s not yellow, but for the record, I do like yellow a lot! My Rubber Ducky Yellow bathroom is so bright and cheerful (unlike, say, the outside world.) Hope this comment makes it through.

Comment by Lynn 09.27.06 @ 7:41 am

Gee, Lynn, now you’ve got me wondering whether I would ever dare try to overdye a coat. What I did once with an afghan I wanted to add blue to, was, I got one of those big Rubbermaid tubs and set it up in the bathtub (because I wouldn’t want to put dye directly in my tub, personally), added the hottest water I could, soaked it, took it out, added the dye, and then put it back in and left it for the requisite half hour. The dye probably isn’t as fast as it would have been if it had been boiled, I think, but in the case of the coat, the way kids grow anyway… Hmmm.

Comment by AlisonH 09.27.06 @ 12:17 pm

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