Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dye Lot Problems

The vintage baby jacket has problems. Dye lot problems.

Here's how it goes: The pattern called for 3 oz of yarn to make the jacket. I had 4 oz of Cherry Tree Hill Sock yarn that fit the gauge, so I thought, plenty-o-yarn. After finishing the back, and the 2 front pieces, I could tell I wouldn't have enough yarn to finish the project, SO,

I ordered another hank of the CHT yarn. I knew the dye lots wouldn't match. I figured, the color repeats would be different lengths, or there would be some difference in the darkness or lightness of the yarns, but what I didn't expect was this:

The left side is the original yarn, the right is the new hank. I ordered this yarn about a year ago to make socks. When I got it, it was so cotton candy, baby colored that, I didn't want to make socks out of it for me. I was expecting something subtler, grayer, something like, well the stuff on the right. The yarn sat in my basket all these months, just waiting for the right pattern.

Recently I decided to bust some stash. I also had these vintage pattern books that weren't getting much action. I figured I'd make some baby clothes, and have ready made baby gifts when I needed them. I found this pattern, and it seemed to be the right one for the yarn.

(Don't cha just love fat babies. I wonder where she is today. The copyright on this is from 1942. The book is Woolies for Babies, Book 178, Chadwick's Red Heart.)

Now we're back to, I didn't have enough of the original yarn. I wondered if the original hank was short some yardage, so I did some knitting math. I counted up the stitches in one of the pieces and divided the weight of that piece by the number of stitches. Then I figured out how many stitches the entire jacket contained, and figured out how much yarn the entire project SHOULD take. 4.3 ounces. That's 1.3 MORE ounces of sock yarn than suggested. That's a lot of sock yarn. That's 2 sleeves worth.

What to do, what to do. Well, I wasn't going to frog it. There's a hellova lot of stitches involved. The colors were too different to leave, and I didn't want to do the gradual incorporation of the second color, so I got some advice from a friend at an online knitting group about dyeing. I thought, maybe if I soaked the 2 yarns together, they'd bleed and transfer dye, creating some kind of equilibrium. My friend suggested reeling off 3 yards of each yarn, making tiny sample hanks and first soaking in hot water, to create a bleed, then boiling with vinegar together to set the transfer.

Here are the little hanks waiting to be abused:

Here they are soaking in a white bowl, so I can judge the amount of bleed. Not much, huh?

I boiled them for 20 minutes , with fears that they would felt. They looked pretty awful when I pulled them out, but I hung them to dry overnight. This morning I was pretty pleased with the results. No felting, but quite a bit of fading, and some transfer. Again, left side original, right side new yarn:

Now the plan is to sew the jacket together, and make a bonnet with the remaining yarn. The bonnet and 2 sleeves use the new yarn, and the rest of the jacket is from the original. That will be approximately half & half old to new yarn. Once the bonnet is finished, I'll put the jacket & bonnet through the same treatment as the sample hanks, and see what happens. If the sleeves still look too different, I'll over dye the whole project with Koolaid.

Whew. Wish me luck!


Susan said...

Wow. There's almost no yellow in that second hank. It makes a huge difference. Good luck with your efforts. And thanks for sharing your cautionary tale with us!

vtwopoint5 said...

That's such a big difference. I hope it all works out for you. This is going to save me from making a mistake as I plan my next project. I've been tempted to cut it close yarnwise, now I'm not so tempted.

Marie said...

Big difference! Not bad at all!!

Sharon said...

Wow, that totally worked - I can't tell much of a difference on my monitor. Good luck! I'll keep my fingers crossed that it works out!

sandra said...

I definitelly learned something new! WHo would tell?
BTW, if only sleeves are with different dye lot - it really wouldn't bother me! Jacket itself is pretty enough!