I wanted to explain the idea behind The Red and The Black (anyone read that in high school?).



Solid colored ends that bleed into lighter shades, separated by white. I thought that would be cool.

I figured each end was about 30% of the total, and would be at the full 4% concentration. The shady area I guesstimated another 10% at 4% (in other words, averaging out to about that amount of dye). So I measured 40% of the total weight at 4% strength for each color and added the dye to the very ends only. I figuring the dye would bleed into the middle areas. And I worked with 2 layers of fiber, 4 oz each.

So. What happened?

Well, I didn't add the vinegar to the dye or to the liquid already in there, so I had to either:

  • add the vinegar directly over the fiber, which is not great because of felting and because it won't migrate where it needs to go (will it?), or
  • add the vinegar to more water and pour along the edges

I opted for a combination of plans A and B. Which is to say, I started with A, then realized its limitation and switched to B. And while I was executing B (cut me some slack, I've been programming all day, I say executing), I realized it was not so great because as I added liquid to the ends, the dye started to migrate and dilute at the ends, which is so not where I wanted it diluted.

None of which mattered, ultimately, because the black was soooo strong. What I ended up with was more like this:


Still interesting, but not the original vision.

Lessions I learned:

  • Add the vinegar before the dye, or with the dye.
  • Use less black. Black is Strong.
  • If I really want to control placement, maybe cold pouring and plastic wrapping is the way to go.
  • If I already have 60% at 4%, and I want to split the remaining 40% between shade and white, then having an additional 20% at 4% makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. How about 20% at 2%? 20% at 1.5% What is wrong with my math these days?? I was a frickin' math major in college!***

I've almost got some free bobbins to start spinning it, because I plied some Finn:

Dyed Finn

Man, I suck at plying. (To be fair, I haven't done much of it yet.) It's hard.

These were done from left to right, and by the last one, I had a pretty good rhythm down. I wanted to keep the twist really loose to keep the yarn soft. The middle one is considerably more overtwisted, while the first and last are almost balanced. I might be one of those that has an easier time spinning than plying.

The plan for spinning The Red and The Black is to for half to be navajo plied, and the other half as either a 2 or 3 ply with each spool spun in matching order so that the plies mostly match up with slight variations. We'll see if this plan works better than the dyeing plan did.


Man, it takes so long to get anything done! All the spinning, all the dyeing, all the knitting, it all takes time! The crazy thing is, I have the luxury of time now, my commute is nigh nil. I'm so impatient to learn all I need to learn to make things I want to make. I want to dye the undyed yarns I bought and make some cool sock yarns (what? didn't I mention the undyed yarns? hmm, I guess I didn't mention the box o' imitation Malabrigo, either, hunh? no? the dyes? syringes for my addiction? stop that, my dyeing addiction, hmph). I want to knit the yarn I spun into socks! I haven't even cast on my Socks That Rock, and my WIP pile is going nowhere. How long before I know enough to do what I want?

I was the same way with programming. I spent the better part of 3 years learning everything I needed to know to create data-driven web apps, and at every step realized I needed to learn something more: VB.NET, ASP.NET and ADO.NET led to OOP and SQL Server which led to SQL; and along the way there was CSS, XML, IA, BLL... lotsa acronyms, eh? I was so impatient to get to the point I could pull it all together to create cool web apps utilizing best practices. Which is where I am now. Pulling it all together and doing some really cool things. Well, cool to me. ;)

So when does that happen with the dyeing? How do I even figure out how to get where I want to go?


Hehe, I meant my aside to be an FYI, not a busting at the seams. So here's the FYI:

The Fabric Place is having their bi-annual Knitters Breakfast this Saturday at each of their locations. It's at 8 am and they give away a LOT of yarn. I mean. A. LOT. Of. YARN. My luck is such that I never win in drawings or games of chance, but I figure I'm pretty lucky in life, so I'll be happy with that. And try not to be too jealous of the bags of yarn leaving in other lucky hands. Ahem. It costs $5, which is applicable to any purchase. And it comes with breakfast, fruit and pastries and coffee and stuff, which is worth the price of admission. So if you're near one, go! And if you go the one in Framingham, come say hi to me!

*** I was a theoretical math major for 1 1/2 years before I switched to theatre arts. Oh the stories. Oh the horror. Which reminds me, Cat tagged me for a meme! I've never been tagged before. Thanks, Cat, it's coming up soon. :)