Grand Duchess in the Red

I did it! I dyed all of the Orenburg yarn for Medallion Shawl, a.k.a., “Grand Duchess”. It was a bit scary, and yet it was very satisfying. I didn’t really realize just how much I didn’t like the way the original colorway knitted-up until I watched it change to deep red and a feeling of happiness overcame me. The words “good riddance” kept coming to mind. The result is a beautiful shade of deep crimson to burgundy yarn that is a delight to look at.

The project was not without its perilous moments, though. Early on when I was trying to determine the right combination of crimson and jet black dyes, I was using an old soup pan I had lying around as a decor item to mix the dyes in, and I lifted it off the stove and discovered it had a crack in it: red dye across the kitchen floor and on a white cupboard. Luckily, I acted quickly and cleaned it up fast enough, leaving just a very faint hint of pink in the floor boards closest to the sink. Lesson #1: never use an 150-year old soup pot, and if you do, check really well for cracks before you start. It makes sense to check first, I know, but common sense just seems to elude me at times. I went to the thrift store and bought a stock pot for the project. Also, it’s hard to really know, but it seemed like the mohair portion of a couple of the skeins were just a bit too close to felting. I am a very inexperienced dyer, and probably should stay away from it altogether because I get impatient and lose my cool, so if the yarn started to felt, it is of little surprise to me because I had a few moments of panic in the process. I suppose mohair is a fairly sticky yarn to work with when dying, and either some yarn within the skeins started to felt together or they just stuck together because mohair acts like that. I don’t know, but I was able to loosen the strands that might have just come close to felting.

Preparing the original yarn in water prior to dying.

Dying the yarn.

One skein after dying, washing, and squeezing water out.

Portion of the shawl that has been knitted so far sporting the new color.

For reference, here's what the orignal colorway looked as a skein and knitted.

I had hoped to dye the shawl with its current skein attached, but the yarn is too delicate, so I had to cut the skein off and will re-attach it when I resume knitting it.

I’m quite pleased with the new color, and it’s quite vibrant and with the silk in it, it has a luscious luster to it. Because the original colorway had bands of different colors in it, the resultant color has bands of different shades of red, but I’m okay with that.  The best part is that I will be able to actually see the yarn better as I knit it.

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4 thoughts on “Grand Duchess in the Red

  1. Oh my–that looks absolutely fabulous–that red is my favorite color for lace. I assume that’s the CTH Orenburg?

    And sure, you can come as long as you can fit in an Altoids tin 🙂 Be at the Atlanta Airport tomorrow about 10:30 at the NorthWest counter. What flavor Altoids tin will you by traveling in?

  2. Wow you did great in the dyeing dept. Your little accident, would be my worst nightmare…glad you were quick on your feet and I’ll have to remember to check my equiptment well before doing another dyeing job(not my favorite by the way)!!

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