Sunday January 03rd 2016, 12:20 am
Filed under: Family,To dye for

There was this sweater. This screaming-hot-pink-fuschia sweater, 70/30 silk/cotton, and though it would have been just the right color on someone, that someone wasn’t me. 

Enough other people thought the same thing that the price dropped to something like $15 and I thought, I know how warm and comfortable and useful those are and I do have a dyepot….

And then it sat there for a year, nagging me. Every now and then I would pull the little UFO out and hold it up to my face in the mirror, look a moment, think, you wish!, and put it back. And feel guilty.

My daughter Sam is knitting these days, and Colourmart had a big sale on some vivid red dk weight cashmere that was the mill ends of the mill ends. I checked with her and then bought her a monster cone for Christmas on the grounds that if she didn’t like the color when she got here I would overdye it for her.

You see where this is going?

Now, I can’t do a thing about that yarn right now because of the current lack of a functional niddy noddy. (Where DID that piece go?) But I could play with the concept, and I’d be better off if I did–I have black dye in my stash but I use it very very very seldom and am less familiar with how it plays with others than I’d like to be when dealing with precious cashmere.

That sweater had never been worn, just to make sure it would be totally clean when I got to it. I handwashed it to get any mill residue off and to get it good and soaked (silk resists water at first) and then, wooden spoon in hand, I put/pushed it into the ready, simmering darkened dye bath as all-at-once as I could get it to go, stirring immediately to open it up to avoid streaks.

And it came out really evenly.

Or not.

This is really weird.

The camera flashed it back to closer to its original color, which is funny, and it shows as darker where it’s wetter after being spun out, but in real life it is one solid reddish rose slashed by darker lines in a very regular pattern.

How on earth did they spin their yarn? Because this wasn’t my doing, this was the manufacturer’s: my solid crewneck is now striped. How did that happen!? Okay, the cotton wasn’t going to take up the acid dye, just the silk and I knew that going in, but one would expect the two fibers to have been combed together, not partly combed but mostly alternated. Huh. Well, none of it is the original color now so some silk did get dispersed throughout. But it’s the strangest thing.

What’s also strange is that it is blissfully soft now in a way it wasn’t before. I have an old book somewhere on the properties of silk and I need to go find it.

Then, just because I was curious, I threw some more black dye in the pot, since the first seemed to have all been taken up, and threw in a red sweater to tone it down a few shades. 60/40 silk/cotton on that one. From the same company, a few years older. Came out a more subdued red and as evenly and perfectly even as if it had been sold that way, exactly what I’d hoped for.

But that first one. So strange. I will definitely wear it, even though I’m not a big stripes person. But I’d love to know why it came out like that.

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