I’ve written several posts already about dyeing clothes, and more recently, about dyeing yarn. Now I want to focus on a process that has become increasingly intriguing to me: overdyeing!
What, you ask, is this overdyeing of which I speak? It’s simply dyeing something that has already been dyed. Yep, that’s it. So if you’ve dyed your blue jeans (or not so much blue as dirty-wash ones like mine, below), you’ve done an overdye job! Today’s post will focus mainly on overdyeing yarn, but all the basic concepts apply equally to garments.*
Here’s a rundown of my process:
1. Ask yourself: Do I love the color it already is? If no, and if it’s not a dark color already, it’s an overdye candidate. (If yes, put that garment on right now and enjoy it!)
Tip: It may sound incredibly obvious, but the lighter your garment’s original color is…
After I started hand-dyeing my own line of yarns in January (you can read about this here), I decided it was the perfect time to start creating skeins inspired by the birthstone of each month. Here are my birthstone skeins so far. (Click on any photo to go to that yarn in my Etsy shop.)
Garnet, January’s birthstone, followed by Amethyst (February) and Aquamarine (March):
Aside: Each of these sets of skeins was hand-painted with the exact same dyes; can you see how each of the different fibers absorbs the dyes differently? This is just one of the many things that intrigues me about dyeing… End of aside.
And now April is almost here, so it’s time to prepare to dye all over again. But wait— April’s birthstone is the diamond! How the heck do I dye yarn to look like diamonds? I guess I could go the deconstructivist route and simply sell undyed (white) yarn, but that seems like a cop-out (or maybe that’s just me). What about the currently-popular colored diamonds? Lots of options there, but looking at a list of the whole year’s birthstones, and not wanting to be too repetitive color-wise, I settled on the lovely yellow, or as I like to think of it, canary diamond:
Of course, since I’m hand-painting my skeins, I’m not going to simply use one shade of yellow. There’s something about dyeing projects that has made me really look at color sources in a very different way; in this case, I can see not only many shades of yellow and gold in this diamond, but also deep ochre, coppery golds, even dark greys. These can all function as accent colors in my skeins, as you’ve already seen in my other birthstone skeins. Here’s a 5-color palette I created based on this diamond:
Okay, I think I have a plan now for some individual skeins for April’s birthstone, as long as I make sure to mix up some really wearable shades of yellow. And I’ll need to take the fiber into consideration too; when I look back at my Garnet skeins, for example, I can see that the nylon yarn (Ticklish) came out a deeper color than the alpaca and the wool, and the alpaca is not quite as vibrant as the wool. So maybe, if I want to keep these yellows from being overwhelmingly, well, yellow, I could dye some alpaca, which seems to have a softening effect on colors. (Whew… dyeing involves a lot of decisions, doesn’t it?)
To finally get to the point, hinted at in the title of this post, my next idea is to paint a set of skeins, each in a different diamond color, that will create a color sequence (you can see my first color-sequence skein set here). I did a quick search for diamond colors, and found this:
Well, I’m clearly not going to put all of these colors into one sequence, so I’ll have to play with all these colors. I could put the warm tones together— orange, yellow, gold, green— but that might be too close to the canary diamond skeins I’m also going to make. Maybe I’ll work with the cool range of colors; something like shades of pink, lavender, blue, and black?
What do you think? In a set of 5-8 skeins (one color per skein), what color range would you like to see?
Stay tuned— I’ll show you how the finished skeins somewhere around April 1!