That's one of my favourite phrases when I'm talking about dying. And it's so true. You can step into the studio with a certain colourway in mind, but what comes out of the dye pot may be nowhere near it. It might be close, it might be better, or it might need a little (or a lot) of help.
No two skeins are exactly the same. This is not a game for perfectionists.
Case in point:
This morning I set out to dye 20 skeins (yeah - 20!) of yarn for Lore. I chose a lovely shade of brick brown to do a nice, rich semi-solid. Should be easy right?
It seemed like it - but the yarn threw me a bit of a curve ball. You see, different fibres take dyes differently - merino, falkland, BFL - they all love the dye and soak it right up, especially if they are superwash. (Non-superwash doesn't take dye nearly as well). With those fibres, it's easy to get nice rich colours.
Alpaca, cashmere, silk, and bamboo don't take the colour nearly as well. A bright colourway like Vampire's kiss on Jungle Cat will be much more muted and pink than it is on Alley Cat.
So, given that the yarn I was dying was non-superwash merino/alpaca/silk, I knew that wouldn't get the same cinnamon shade as I did on the Alley Cat I dyed 10 minutes earlier.
However, I didn't expect it to be quite so.... well.... barfy.The picture is actually pretty tame compared to what it really looked like. It was hideous. It was actually glowing - I kid you not. Like when the blonde girl in highschool tried to dye her hair auburn - I called it "atomic barf".
But that's the beauty of dying yarn. It's not over until the fat lady runs out of dye (and I have A LOT of dye!)
If there's one thing Mom and I have learned, it's the magic of overdying. There are four colours that work best for overdying, depending on you base colour - purple, dark blue, burgundy, and of course black.
You won't get a solid colour - your base colour will always peek through, but it can create some amazing effects.
For instance you can turn the above yarn into this:This yarn is gorgeous in person - shade of pink, copper, burgundy, and red. It's no where near what I was aiming for when I started dying - but I can't say I'm disappointed. I think I actually like it better than the colourway I had in my head.
So, once this is dry, I can cast on for Lore (probably Monday before turkey dinner!)
And, when I was mucking up yarn today, I was also dying some new Alley Cat Falkland (same great Alley Cat twist, with Falkland instead of Merino - two words - like buttah!) and, I was mucking about with a sock blank mom whipped up on her machine for me.
Is anyone else seen the potential for self-striped shawls??