You teal’em
Thursday February 05th 2015, 11:30 pm
Filed under: To dye for

The colors in this nighttime photo are washed out: the greens are quite a bit greener and the light blue is more teal, but at least you can get an idea of how different they are from each other.

So. I had this silk turtleneck. A warm, very soft, heavyweight spunsilk turtleneck bought on clearance from Wintersilks at something like twelve bucks and free shipping in a color on the screen that I could only hope.

Um. No. And didn’t it match any of the things I’d wanted it to go with.

Today I saw again what color it could be, the one that had justified the purchase, and given the fact that I would be putting it on in a second if it were that I realized I was never going to wear it if I didn’t do something. I fired up my dyepot. Soapy water, rinse, throw it in, stir and turn over nonstop for a half hour as it bubbles away.

That was the one in the middle here. It now perfectly matches my favorite skirt. Score! Why stop now. When it came out, I threw in a silk sweater (left) and it too came out far better than what it had been. And then an older silk shirt that I’d previously dyed in the same Jacquard teal, and it had been beautiful, but then I had treated it for a stain one day and the Shout took out some of my dye–well, then, it was indeed a reversible one, wasn’t it. I should have known better.

So it sat in a drawer for a year and a half with me unwilling to toss what had been a favorite and not really believing it could be fixed.

But sometimes reversible dyes, if you’re really really lucky, can lift somewhat off the fabric in boiling water and resettle a bit as you stir with new dye. And as far as I can tell right now while it’s not quite all the way dry yet, I was really really lucky. I have my shirt back.

One of the thing about overdyeing natural-fiber clothes away from ugly or wrong colors is that you never know what kind of thread they used to sew the garment up with. On the turtleneck, it looks to have been a poly or poly/cotton blend so there are now lines of contrast around the hems and neck. This is why I tend not to overdye too far away from what the thing was.

But on that sweater. The 78/22 silk/nylon sweater. Nylon takes up wool dyes while polyester does not and all the thread took up the dye in a complete match, so it must have been nylon.

And what that means is that I can overdye it again in, oh I dunno, yale blue or anything else on the blue or green scale and the stitching will do exactly what I say again. I might, but morning and full dryness will show me exactly what I’ve got and I do like it so far.

A side note: for dyeing, only use a pot, stainless being preferable by far, that you will never ever use for cooking.

2 Comments so far
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You are more brave than I. Considered knitting a shawl in white and dyeing it black–NOT!

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 02.06.15 @ 6:50 am

What fun!! I haven’t done any dyeing and probably never will. WAY out of my comfort zone, but you make it sound fun and functional.

Comment by Channon 02.06.15 @ 7:39 pm

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