Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Making Ugly Knits Pretty

I'm not a huge fan of dyeing or over-dyeing entire garments. It presents too many challenges that apartment dwellers find hard to overcome. Usually, you need a pretty big dyepot in order to get the dye evenly distributed. Like a vat. I have a stockpot that is at least a 12 quart, and it's not really big enough to do a sweater. The second issue is the seams. Any place where the garment has a seam, it will be harder for the dye to get to. You'll end up with really funky strips of the original color any place you have stitching.

Saying that, I thought this garment was a good candidate for the dye pot:

may2008 076

Oh, the horror.

may2008 075

Someone (a non-knitter, specifically) had given me 4 different colored skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in rather Easterish colors. This was waaay back in 2004. I found a pattern that called for 2 skeins, with two strands of yarn held together. So I picked out the two skeins that were the most complimentary and used those together- a pale blue-green and a carnation pink. That is how this monster was born.

I never wore it because of the hideousness and awfulness. Plus, because the yarn was mostly cotton, I needed special Procion dyes.

Finally, over the summer, I took it out and decided to dye it. Procion dyes need no heat to set- just a day or two to cure. Running the stove for hours in summertime is never a valid option. After soaking the tee in washing soda, I mixed the dyes and got a pretty bright raspberry pink that was saturated enough to cover the existing color. I laid the wet garment out on layers of saran wrap and hand-painted the dye on using an application sponge. Once it was saturated with dye, I wrapped it up in the saran wrap and let it sit for a day.

Ballet Tee

The results were nothing but sweet.

Ballet Tee

The dye covered the former heinous color evenly and with no hint of the monster that lurks beneath. It's cheery and summery and wonderful.

Ballet Tee

Because there were no seems at all on this garment, I didn't have any trouble at all getting the dye where it needed to be. It was almost too easy, really.

Ballet Tee

The specs:

The pattern is the Ballet Tee from Teva Durham's book Loop-d-Loop. I used 2 skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece held together. I don't remember the needle size, but it was probably whatever she recommended in the pattern. It was a super simple pattern worked completely in the round.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's awesome, what a flattering fit, too!