Figuring things out

Since I was running out of red, I decided that I’d better do the ribbons on the other side of Hygiea’s headpiece while I still had some of the original wool left, in case I couldn’t match the reds exactly.


When I finished them, I wasn’t happy…


The far side looked dull and too dark, but didn’t have enough left of the brighter reds to use there.

A happy ending though…..with some wiggling , and an extra stint in the dye pot to add more red, the second batch of  reds turned out just fine.


I redid parts of the ribbons to make them brighter. (the contrast is more noticable than the photos indicate.)

Not quite such a happy outcome with my attempts to dye more background wool. While I like the muted tones of my first ‘pancake’ dye efforts, there was too much blue predominating, when I essentially want a ‘greenish’ background.

I thought that maybe one of the problems was in the colour choices themselves. They were all very blue greens. I decided to look for a ‘mint’ or light apple green. I dug out my inherited collection of cushing dyes, and sure enough there were several possible greens to look at.

Now I know why I prefer prochem or majic carpet dyes….as I opened the packet to look at the dye colour, somehow a large portion of it jumped out…all over my hand and down the front of my housecoat. I sat …stunned…trying to figure out what to do. I brushed as much as possible off in the sink, then tried to wipe it off my housecoat (which is terrycloth)….bad idea…so I whipped it off, doused it with dish detergent, and washed and rinsed…. time and time again. A trip through the washing machine, and it is almost OK. (not that it was anything spectacular before….but it is sooo comfy)


After this little distraction, I settled on the mint green, added a toothpick of charcoal grey to dull it a bit, and did two small pieces.


These I like.

Next I soaked 1/2 yard oatmeal, and tried Gene’s ‘dump dyeing’ technique, using slate blue, mallard green and mint. I halved the amount of dye he used for the same amount of wool, but it was still too much…and the result is too dark in many areas. (I have a hard time just using a weeny amount of dye)


Parts of it may be usable but the background remains unresolved. It sure is fun to play with the colours though.

6 thoughts on “Figuring things out

  1. Elizabeth, I am enjoying your posts so much. I especially like reading about your dyeing. You just keep at it with gay abandon until you get it right. Do I see butteflies and flowers in that blue wool??

  2. Debbie I think the dyeing is my favourite part….now that I’ve given up the notion of following precise recipes in the hopes of getting an exact match to a pre-existing swatch….I don’t have enough patience to enjoy doing that. Gene Shepherd’s dyeing style, (with some terrific influence and ideas from Jennifer Manuell), have set me on a path that better suits my personality. I may indeed use the dump dye wool for butterflies or flowers. I’ve ordered a whimsical pattern from Heidi Kramer for my next project, and ideas are already swirling.

  3. Hygiea is looking beautiful! I also enjoy dyeing but do it more for enjoyment than to match other wools. Dyeing should be fun and not tedious! I see butterflies and flowers too. Is that your housecoat?

  4. Yes Miz T That’s my housecoat after It was washed. You can still see a bit of green on the left hand side, but it’s 100 % better than after the spill….I was sure it was ruined, but the dish detergent and a lot of scrubbing got most of the green out. I was sitting at the kitchen table when it happened, so luckily none got on the floor.

  5. If the remaining light spot bothers you, you could get out some "Rit" dye and refresh the color of your housecoat to teal or some other color. I empty my Cushings packets into clear film canisters which work well. You can get them free anyplace that develops film such as Walmart or Staples. i look forward to seeing which of Heidi’s patterns you chose.

  6. What good ideas Miz T, although I can only imagine the mess II’d be in trying to get all the dyes out of the packets and into the clear canisters. Funny isn’t it….I dye wool all the time, but would never think of dyeing any of my clothing! I remember my mom using rit dye when I was a kid, and it seemed to me to be a huge production, that never quite worked! Do you remember the white fabric shoes you could buy to be dyed to match your dress?

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