Background and Inspirations
Every so often I like to join in on the monthly Dye-a-Longs with the What A Kool Way to Dye group on Ravelry—and I have been waiting all year for this month’s theme to finally come up. June’s theme is Colorway Copycat, in which we try to replicate the colors of a commercially available yarn.
A while back (several months, at least) I had the chance to visit a new (to me) yarn store. After several so-so experiences with LYS’s, I was pretty blown away at the selection they had… possible some of the prettiest yarn I had ever seen. The colors of Manos del Uraguay’s Alegria really stood out to me—especially the Colibri colorway, which is what I planned to replicate for this Dye-a-long.
(Admittedly, this is not the best protrayal of the colorway as I was trying to replicate it; it doesn't show off a lot of the bright flashy blues and whites, which is was originally drew me to the color. It was however, the nicest image I could find)
I used Lion Brand Sock-Ease in Marshmallow for my base; it is a 100% Superwash wool yarn that comes in 100g/440 yards skeins.
And once again, I used Wilton’s Icing Colors for my dyes. I used 5 different colors total in various mixtures to make my four main colors: light blue (small amounts of teal and royal), dark blue (royal and black), blue-violet (royal and violet) and violet-red (violet and burgundy). I’m not sure what the different proportions are. It was sort of a “throw in this and that and a little more this and see what I get” sort of mixture.
I did my standard pre-soak before I began… I might have added a little vinegar to mix against my better judgment (instead of waiting to apply it once the Red 3 had set; all but one of the colors I used contains Red 3, which reacts to the vinegar if you add too much too soon), but it didn’t affect too much in the end (I did add more once the red was set to help the blues set).
Methods and Dyeing Process
Plastic wrap and I have a bit of a sorted past (one too many times bursting open at the seams and spilling dye everywhere), so I use a sort of “pseudo-handpainting” with the hank of yarn laid out in a large Pyrex dish instead on plastic wrap.
The Colibri colorway has a large section of white in it, so I knotted a section of the skein to keep it up out of the way.
And then for the fun part! I am not sure how the dye is applied in the real Colibri colorway, but I did what I thought would at least achieve a similar effect by using a syringe to apply dye in sort-of random patches. It was “quickly and sloppy”, but again, I was trying to achieve a splashed, random look.
Then once I had my initial color segments blocked out, I went back and filled things in a bit and made sure the dyes penetrated all the way to the bottom… and maybe splashed a little violet-red in the blue section or vice-versa for the sake of it.
Once my dyes were all gone and I was satisfied with my intentional sloppy handiwork, off into the microwave it went!
The Finished Product
My finished skein:
And the original colorway for reference:
Is it dead-on (Taking into acccount my little caveat at the beginning about this photo)? No… but I don’t think it needs to be.
Before I started dyeing, I spent a lot of time (more that I should probably admit!) browsing Ravelry’s stash database and examining how different skeins of this colorway looked. Not a single one looked alike… some had a lot of white, some barely had any. Some were very bluish, others had sections that looked almost raspberry or lavender in color. Manos del Uragauy’s yarns are (to the best of my knowledge) all hand-dyed, and the nature if hand-dyed yarn is that no two skeins will ever look alike. In that sense, I suppose you could say it was an absolute success!
I am very happy with how it turned out (aside from a few nitpicky things), all in all.
For the fun of it I reskeined my hank; it really shows off how the colors play together when they are all mixed up.
This skein will end up becoming my very first pair of hand-knitted socks. I have already the pattern picked out (Scylla) but I am not sure when I will be able to get started. Hopefully the stitch pattern and the colors play nicely together!
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