SCS: Analogous-Adjacent Dyeing

I couldn’t stand waiting for my analogous braids to arrive, so I took matters into my own hands. I did what I haven’t done in some years: I dyed some fiber.

I had a random top from a local friend who is rather giving up spinning. This will make you cringe, but I had actually appropriated it to make a sheep for our Christmas play.

Sheep in the middle has mohair locks. Sheep on the right has mystery wool roving, reclaimed for this project.

Cute, eh? Too bad our Christmas play got canceled at the last minute. I attached the top to the cardboard with staples and Elmer’s glue, so it could be theoretically salvageable. Well, I salvaged it. Mordanting got rid of most of the glue. It still had some cardboard stuck to it when it went into the dyebath – cardboard that turned a nice purple – but it’s all off now. I picked out the last of the staples yesterday.

Anyway, I used black beans to dye a nice blue and purple. The blue came from the beans’ soak water, and the purple was achieved by mixing in a tablespoon of lemon juice.

The colors that came out were successfully blue and purple, and I think successfully analogous. But they were also very very light. Like, unless you are in a well-lit room, you can’t tell the blue from the purple. Not a terrible result, but… hm.

I weighed the fiber after it was dry (no, it didn’t occur to me to weigh it beforehand) and was surprised to find I had over 5 oz of it. Now, I’m only spinning 3 oz or so for each sock spin, so I’m like, that’s totally close enough to double-dip! I broke off half of this braid to spin as is, and took the other half back to the dye pot.

For years I’ve been hearing about the wealth of knowledge available on the ChemKnits Youtube channel. I finally checked it out. She has a very clear video on handpainting spinning fiber, in the microwave, with food coloring.

I went with an analogous color trio from my stash of gel food coloring: purple, pink, and red. Safe enough, right? Well, as soon as the color touched the fiber, it broke. The purple broke into blue and pink, and the red broke into pink and… orange? The breakage might have been my fault; the water was kinda hot when I put the color in. Oh well. This braid is definitely not analogous, but is definitely… close! And it looks really cool! And I had fun! Who knows, maybe when I spin it up, the speckly-ness will blend into something closer to analogous-ness.

Both of these little spins are next in the queue. Can’t wait to see how they turn out!

5 thoughts on “SCS: Analogous-Adjacent Dyeing

  1. I think both look good. I’ve been reading the book Unbraided and realize you never know how the colors are going to come out in the knitting. The braided fiber looked one way, the spun version of it another, and the knitted result was also different. Can’t wait to see them spun up.


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