Weird Wool Wednesday: overdyeing a vest

Overdyeing those socks made me feel good! I’m good at dyeing! I’m the bestest!

So let me just go ahead and overdye that handspun vest!
From rust orange to dark steel blue:

😦
It’s really difficult to dye an existing fabric consistently.

Those dark spots are not shadows, they are stains of darker dye.

(don’t know what to do with it yet. Overdye with an aggressive commercial dye? The vest cannot be put through the washer like is custom for those dye jobs.)

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overdyeing socks

As part of a swap I offered to overdye some knee socks that had uneven colouring from a previous dye attempt.

As usual my keenness to solve a problem made me overlook all the practical obstacles. And there were some!

  1. these socks are already knitted. It’s very difficult to dye knitwear evenly. You need a big pan and lots of water and careful pacing of dye and acid to avoid spots or felting. My previous attempt failed horribly.
  2. it has previous stains. These will always show up in any overdye job. Luckily they are dye stains and not grease or anything. Still. It would be best to dye very dark and visually drain out the stain.
  3. this yarn is part acrylic. Acrylic doesn’t take acid dye. I will not be able to dye dark.
  4. these are not my socks. If I ruin these socks it’ll be terrible. Extra stress.

Luckily the knitter is a knitter and very lovely. She assured me again and again that whatever I do it will be ok. She’s open to surprises.

So I pulled out my dye pot and Ashford dyes and set about.

First: thoroughly wet the knitwear. I put it in water the day before. Squeezed out all the air. Kneaded it repeatedly. Every fibre needs to be wet.

This is how the socks look on the day of the dyeing:

overdyeing handknitted socks acid dye

The now thoroughly wetted socks display uneven colouring in a dramatic fashion, it’s not as bad as this in real life. But bad enough for the owner not to want to wear them. Which is a shame.

Second: make the dye bath. The owner had requested a half-blue colour as her favourite so that’s what I start with.

I take precautions so I can dye the fabric slowely, making adjustments along the way. For this I make the dye bath without the acid and I use lukewarm water, not hot.

I put the wet socks in the dye bath and manipulate them. I swirl them so the dye touches every part of the socks. I then stretch the knitted fabric, in all directions. I stop just short of pulling the socks inside out.
overdyeing handknitted socks acid dye

Stretching the fabric to make sure the dye reaches the inner part of the stitches:

I check and recheck the colour and the evenness. Pretty soon I put the wet socks aside and adjust the dye bath to a more intense colour:
overdyeing handknitted socks acid dye
Put sock back in. Swirl, knead, stretch stitches. Still no acid and no heat.

On the third bath I add a bit of red because the red stain will keep showing up. The rest of the sock will need a bit of red too. This time I keep the stained part of the sock out. It’s the rest of the sock that needs darkening. Dipping only part of the sock, keeping the stain out of the pot:
overdyeing handknitted socks acid dye

When I like the overal colouring I add vinegar. Pretty soon the colour drains completely from the bath. I’m pleased that the acrylic doesn’t pose a problem, it seems to be well blended into the yarn. I could probably go some shades darker too. But I don’t like the risk of heathered colouring or felting.

Now I put it on heat to fixate.
The pre-existing stain is still there. I’m hoping it will be less prominent once the sock is dry. Do that first, fixate and dry, and then assess. I can always give it another go.
overdyeing handknitted socks acid dye
This is right as I put the heat on. See how exhausted the dye bath is already?

Results:
overdyeing handknitted socks acid dye

The socks are nearly dry. They are not very blue, more of a jeansy blue.

The stain is still visible but acceptable:
overdyeing handknitted socks acid dye

Detail on the other side: dye right into the middle of the stitches:
overdyeing handknitted socks acid dye

but not through and through. I think this is as much as the acrylic content will allow. I hope the owner is happy with them and they get to see more wear.

 

Dyeing green

I dyed some fleece today. I’m always so surprised it turns out half decent!

I dyed multi colours on purpose, to make for a lively yarn.

It’s the Hampshire down fleece I scoured last September. I want to make it into rolags with my handcarders and spin it Longdraw.
The fleece had some dark hairs in it and I didn’t want those to tarnish the white, so I dyed it. Green!

When the fleece was just washed. It still had a bit of lanolin in it:

After scouring (= washing really really hot. Lanolin melts.)

I used Jacquard Dyes in a colourway designed by stoftotverven.nl called Veenmos. It’s a yellowish green. This acid dye only takes 2 grams to dye 100 grams of fleece. I forgot to weigh the fleece…
So I just sprinkled a bit… and it turned way too dark! This always happens with me.

So I’m always forced to dump in extra wool and things to soak up some of the colours.
With the Southdown are swimming in this dyepot:
– socks I wanted to overdye
– felted mittens I want to give a colour
– silk that hadn’t had its colour set properly.

here’s the silk:

Here’s a mitten:

I left the top of the hand and the thumb sticking out, hoping there will be a colour gradient.

The socks are at the bottom of the dye pot, I want them to dye quite evenly. They are my Lingerie Socks.
A nice pattern but a bit overwhelmed with the yarn, especially the right foot:

Which is a pity because I LOVE the colour on the left foot. This colourway was called Hedgehogs’ nest, by Chasing Clouds
I loved it but I was not wearing the socks. So in they went.