If at 1st you don’t succeed, Dye & Dye again

Here is my story about a double dollop of dye wizardry.  Not that I already knew the magical incantations.  No, I stumbled onto this one.

Success can be elusive. We don’t always get the dyed fiber results we desire. However, I am seldom deterred, because I have learned that “mistakes” can morph into marvels. I often learn good tips too, through making errors and correcting them.

I had 2 portions of fiber: 1 Merino, and 1 luscious Camel / Silk; both got the same dye treatment. Initially, a combination of greens, turquoise & yellow seemed a good idea. I only photographed the Merino because I’d already dyed over the botched Camel/silk, but they both began the same; both had identical original dye colors: 2 greens, turquoise, and yellow. Unfortunately, I was dejected by the dreary result. Nuthin’ special there… just insipid green and murky yellow. I walked away in a sulk.

The very next day I bucked up my courage for the 2nd attempt.   That Camel/Silk was too precious to concede defeat.   If handled carefully to avoid felting, surely I could rescue it.

Pondering how I could alter & improve the dud colors, I settled on a fall theme. To control color application, steaming would be better than immersion in dye pot. The damp fiber was laid on plastic wrap, and unappealing areas were carefully daubed with new dye choices. Rust. Pumpkin. Russet red, and a bit of leftover brown.

Fingers crossed because seldom can we predict the outcome. Soggy, dyed fiber looks unremarkable fresh from the steam bath. Only slightly better after rinse & spin. Hung to dry with high hopes and song in my heart, by then feeling encouraged. Got a good night sleep and dreamt of dry fiber in the morning. What surprises might welcome me then?


At top is the un-dyed Camel/Silk fiber I started with (before the 1st attempt with yellow/greens).  Gotta love that double-dyed difference!  Wowza!           OMIGAWSH I LOVE the outcome of my twice-dyed fiber!

Here’s an interesting point: Had mingled all 7 colors on the 1st attempt, I would not get this result. Likely it would all have gone muddy. The color wizardly occurred from layering of russet atop existing (dry) turquoise to obtain the wine/brown/black areas. The layering of Pumpkin atop existing pale green that created toasty browns, while still allowing areas of green to show. The layering of one dye atop existing dye is what created this kaleidoscope.

Lesson learned: mistakes aren’t always mistakes, just MAGIC waiting to happen.

This medley of colors is going to make an amazing yarn, twinkling with a silky shimmer. The various spots of color will show through like so many sparkling gems.

The Merino got same dye treatment, so here’s my plan. I’m going to spin each into singles, and ply a single of matt Merino with the single of shiny Camel/silk.   The result should be lovely. Photos of the resulting yarn will be posted soon. I can’t wait to share.

So…. What disasters or duds have you encountered, and how did YOU turn them around into something special?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s