Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Sweater Formerly Known as Tangerine

Tangerine Nightmare is no more. I dyed it. It was an interesting experience. Following Tammy's excellent advice, I dyed a swatch first. I am embarrassed to admit that this did not occur to me independently. Apparently, I am incapable of transferring even hard-won knowledge from one context to another.

Here is the swatch, floating in a bath of warm water, which I gradually heated to bring it up to dyeing temperature, in the hopes that I could prevent felting.

After it had warmed up sufficiently, I put it in the dye bath for half an hour, keeping the bath at a steady 140 F (60C). This was the result:

I know this looks black on the screen. In fact, it is a chocolate brown with purple undertones. It is interesting, but not quite what I wanted. So I prepared the dye bath for the sweater with twice as much dye, and took the plunge.

I simmered the sweater for an hour, stirring it gently and frequently and praying constantly to the Knitting Goddess to keep it from felting. And it didn't felt! Oddly, it also didn't turn black. Just like the swatch, it came out dark brown with purply blotches underneath where the original magenta was. I know it looks black in the picture--my camera does not recognize the actual color. I can't blame it; I'm not sure I recognize it either.

This is The Sweater Formerly Known as Tangerine, drying in the laundry room. When it's dry, I'll take a good look at it in natural lighting (it's still raining and once again 4:30 pm here). There is a decent chance that it will end up being a pretty heathered espresso sort of color. But in the event it ends up looking more like dog poop, does anyone know whether I might have better results with a different dye? I used RIT dye from the grocery store (don't laugh), which I understand is a combination of two types of dye, only one of which actually works on animal fiber. The preferred dye for animal fiber is acid dye, which I didn't have. Can anyone tell me whether it would be worth trying to overdye it with acid dye? Advice is quite welcome. In fact, I probably should have asked for it, um, earlier.

14 comments:

melissaknits said...

Well, I would have said Cushing.
And you can over-dye it with Cushing if you don't like the new look. But dye is an inexact science at times, like felting. Over-dying an over-dye...I would not want to take a guess on that one.

Tammy said...

I know nothing about dying so I'll just be wishing for heathered espresso instead of dog poop.

Angelika said...

Tammy is right. Espesso sounds so much better. Let's stick with that story then.

The_Add_Knitter said...

Your description of the photo shoot was too hilarious! You are so courageous, I would've just thrown in the towel...

trek said...

I think it looks better darker. Good luck with the overdyeing if you decide to go that route.

Bea said...

Wow, you are SO brave! I think it looks great so far, here's hoping to "heathered espresso"!

Fibra Artysta said...

Black is one of the HARDEST colors to achieve as there are so many variations of it. I would suggest looking at Dharma Trading online (www.dharmatrading.com) as they are dye specialists. I buy all my dyes for my cotton fabric from there and if you are not sure what to get, give them a call and they will walk you through it. Very nice people, excellent prices and incredibly quick shipping. Good luck!

Lynn

Karen said...

I hope you like the color when it's dry. It came out too nice not to wear it. I don't have much experience with dyeing, so I don't have any good advise for you about over-dyeing it again.

Kim said...

What an improvement! My only dye experience has been with RIT dye so I offer any suggestions. Hope it dries to look like expresso rather than dog poop.

janet said...

It did look like dog vomit now it looks great. Any dark color is much better than the tangerine color it was.

Sarah said...

Success! the colour is now as gorgeous as the pattern.

dale-harriet said...

I have no experience with dye either, but I think it looks mighty nice now (it was just hanging there screaming "1972", wasn't it?) I too will hope for a nice espresso and will watch to see the results. I'd have to say too, though, *now* it's a very pretty sweater, mazel tov.

Kristin said...

Heathered espresso doesn't sound that bad.
We should all be ashamed that we didn't think of dying a swatch first. But I guess we don't all have to be smart all the time, we can share smartitude.

Sarah said...

I agree with Fibra Artysta, give the folks at Dharma Trading a ring if you're not happy with the color when it's dry. So far, though, it looks beautiful!