Cardigan · Dyeing · Recycled

Another dye lot

I found this ripper of a cardigan at a garage sale almost a year ago. It is mostly lambswool with a little bit of nylon (and I think a little of something else natural like alpaca, though I can’t find the label), the lady bought it in Florence, when I’m sure it was at the height of fashion, but I got it for only $30!

The following photos do not do the vibrant clashing colours and patterns any justice.



I wore it a couple of times, but always had it in mind as something to pull apart and transform in the future.

So I made it into a sassy statement necklace.


But trends move so fast and I only had time to wear it once before it was out of fashion again. So I prepared it for dying.

It’s hard to tell the height of the stacks from this photo, but there is a lot of the cyan and magenta, a little less of the red, and only small amounts of the other colours.


I used around half a bottle of liquid navy Rit dye.

I wanted to change the magenta and red the most, so they went into the dye bath first, while the dye was at its strongest. On top of that went the white, pink and yellow, followed by the blues.

I always (conveniently) manage to forget that dying is much more than soaking the fibers in the dye bath and letting them dry in the sun while I do other things. Following that comes the repeated rinsing that never seems to end. It has taken me weeks to get my act together and slowly get it all done. But here is the result:


I know, it all looks dull and boring now, but they aren’t as dull as this photo makes out, I just thought it was a fun way to show it all off.

Here is a before and after comparison of how the colours came out:


The yellow came out an awful green, I’m not a fan of reds at the best of times, though I don’t hate this one, the cyan is my favourite, and I’m rather happy with the rest of them.

There was some slight variation in each colour:

There are two cyans. One is generally a flat colour (right), the other appears to have two strands, one darker than the other (left).

My theory is that the strands vary in composition. I used a dye bath made for wool, so  synthetics and other natural fibers would not take up the colour as well as another strand comprised of more wool.


The cyan has a slight variation in colour along its length, occasionally showing more of the vibrant magenta (sorry for the photo, but it’s quite hard to show such subtle changes with just my camera phone).

This may be due to a variation in fibers (as with the cyan), but it seems more likely to be due to uneven dying. In the dye bath, the wool kept floating to the surface, leaving a lot of the blue out of the water. I used a few rocks to weigh the wool down, but the pressure on the fibers could have caused the dye to be taken in unevenly.


Another example of this is with the white wool, where (I assure you) the colour varies along the length of the yarn. While the yellow and white are obviously made with strands of different composition, as with the cyan.

IMG_20160304_105416305  IMG_20160304_105326792a

I have no set plans for the yarn yet. There is probably enough to make 2 jumpers (don’t forget about the black). I am considering a jumper made from the cyan, using the blues and white as stripes/details/other patterns. Or I could do another jumper with crazy patterns, but using my new turned down tones.

But I don’t need to hurry, I have another knitting project on the go, and it is finally over half way (exciting!), but you won’t get to see it until it is all finished. Ha!




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