Playing with dye – In search of rose pink

You’d never know, would you that my favourite colour is blue?  I’m not quite sure how the whole pink thing came to loom so large in my life.  I suppose it’s a statement, a sock in the eye, in a way that blue can’t be, unless you count the chroma blue used in film making and that’s far too scary.  It’s got better associations too, no-one wants to feel blue, but its nice to be ‘in the pink’.

I’m definitely ‘in the pink’ at the moment.  Sunday’s introspection has been wafted away by a new project.  Among the colourful blogs I gaze at with longing are ‘Attic 24’ and ‘Do you mind if I knit’.  Both are filled with the most lovely, colourful, woolly objects and I want to do something colourful and woolly NOW.  Unfortunately I seem to have accumulated a wool stash from other peoples leftovers consisting of brown, dull green, beige, maroon..why can’t I ever say no?

The rainbow of woolly loveliness I envisage would require a small mortgage if  bought all at once from Rowan or Debbie Bliss…but I have DYE!  And now, thanks to Ebay, I have wool.  500 grams of soft sheeny 4ply Bluefaced Leicester wool yarn.

I’ve decided to break the habit of a lifetime and be methodical about this!  If I am, there’s a slim chance that if I produce something wonderful I can replicate it. (This never happens when I’m cooking)  Thanks to Ewa’s tuition, I’m all set up for microwave dyeing. You really aren’t supposed to use the same microwave  that you scramble your eggs in, so I have a cheap and cheerful one in the utility room, and an assortment of dyes left over from Art School.  The easiest to use though are the Easifix All-in-one acid dyes from Colourcraft, so I’m working my way through Golden Yellow, Ultramarine, Turquoise and Magenta.

Magenta.  That’s really, really pink.  That’s what I used to dye the wool for my felt hat.  It’s not subtle.

Having carefully read the instructions and done some sums (Sums!) I decided to wind off 25g hanks of the natural wool, and to dye a hank at a time, recording the results.  (Mother-in-law would be proud, she was an industrial chemist)  I started with the Ultramarine and after 15 minutes in the microwave had a gorgeous blue, and still some colour left in the pot.  In went the next hank, a sky blue this time but although there was still a tinge to the water I couldn’t believe it would have any effect on the wool.  I did the same with the Golden Yellow and was surprised at the depth of colour in the second batch.

dye shades

Then on to the Magenta.  This was scary at six o’clock in the morning (I have a puppy you know). Even the second batch was shocking.  I peered into the dye bath, so pale I couldn’t believe it had anything left to give, chickened out and put a teeny, tiny bit more powder in.. big mistake, more big pink.   So, final hank, I put it in the barely tinged dye bath, back in the microwave  and lo and behold…Rose pink! A beautiful delicate pink, and the dye bath water was faintly yellow.  Now I know just how far I can take the dyes my multicolour creation is getting more ecomical by the minute.

pink dye shades

Of course, I have ordered the Scarlet dye, the Leaf Green, Deep Violet…oh, and another 500gms of Blue Leicester 4ply…

Um…Tim isn’t reading this, is he?

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About penny

I live in Norfolk, England in a cottage on the edge of the Norfolk Broads where it can be peaceful and beautiful, or wet and muddy, or occasionally wild and windswept. With me is husband Tim, Henry the elderly and opinionated tabby cat, and Higgins, the miniature dachshund with a massive personality. You’ll find me chattering on about wool and textiles, knitting and crochet, recipes, books and patterns, exhibitions and shopping and of course, the adventures of a small dog! Planet Penny has a Facebook Page, you can find me on UK Handmade and I am featured on Channel4/4Homes Favourite Craft Blog List.

6 thoughts on “Playing with dye – In search of rose pink

  1. Geraldine

    Course he isn’t . He lost interest once wool was mentioned .
    What’s being knitted from all these lovely colours ? Or is this your Autumn stash building in preparation for being snowed in this winter ( my excuse for any huge fabric purchases ) .

  2. Penny Graham-Jones

    Got it in one, Geraldine! You should see what colours I’ve created today! Can’t wait to photograph them, they’ll be lovely to look at even if they never get knitted up at all!

  3. Rachel

    I don’t do numbers so all my wool would be very randomly one off! You are very clever!
    Blue is my favourite colour but I like it pale, almost grey, with brighter accents. I love using brown wool as a base and knitting through bright electric blue, pink, and orange! Well, I just love wool – oh, and buttons…have I mentioned I like buttons? 🙂

    Can’t wait to see phase two of your creations!

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