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Wednesday, April 5, 2004

high on dye

Before there is Red, there had to be Brown…

Years ago now, I knit a foxy little number from my favorite, All Seasons Cotton by Rowan in a color called Boudoir. Like most of my stash, I got it on sale – but the color always left me a little BLAH.


But this is one of my favorites and since I wear it all the time, I thought I’d try a Dye Intervention…

Now, I must say that I entered into this with not a little trepidation. But, in the interest of Science and Fashion, someone had to take the plunge.


Once again, the Procion MX dyes were called into service. Using equal parts of Brilliant Orange & Midnight Blue with a tsp. of Bright Golden Yellow for tops, I mixed what I hoped would be a soft Sienna Brown. The nature of the base color of the yarn was a light reddish brown to begin with and I wanted to take its saturation down as well as the tone.


Here is the final, washed result with the original color shown in the tiny ball on top – that is how much yarn I had left from this project – not enough to test run the color mixture – a most important step that fell by the wayside in my lust for Brown! I love this brown – it is very close to the very first sweater I ever knit – when I was 10yo – a cardigan for my Barbie Doll out of fingering weight wool…


– Weigh the garment

– Remove buttons before washing

– Soak in soapy (alkaline) water for at least an hour (preferably overnight) – do not rinse out

30 responses to “Wednesday, April 5, 2004”

  1. margene says:

    You are so smart (and/or lucky) when it comes to dyes. The color is fabulous!!

  2. Chris says:

    Wow, very lucky!! I would’ve had some sort of long past spill stain on the garment that would’ve dyed differently…

  3. Teresa says:

    As always you inspire, Bonne Marie!
    Another beauty!

  4. Anna says:

    I love your dye job! I always been terrified of trying! I’d love to know what pattern that was. I love the ribbing / shaping!

  5. Bonne Marie says:

    Thanks for the smiles!

    Sadly, the pattern manufacturer asked me, firmly, to not post pattern info because I did not use the specified yarn…

  6. Karen B. says:

    Ze sweater, she is even more beautiful in the richness of chocolate!

  7. rachelkates says:

    Yum! You’ve got me looking at the stash in a whole new way.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Lovely brown! The dye job really gave it a different look.

  9. moody knitter says:

    “Dig” the brown!

  10. marnie says:

    Wow! that turned out great! I love the brown. I use to love dying things black. Any light coloured pants or tops (or sweaters) that weren’t quite up to snuff anymore went into the vat of black dye (much to my mother’s consternation). It helped that I was in Art School at the time and the vast black clad hoard ruled ;-D.

  11. katie says:

    Aren’t you clever! That turned out beautifully.

  12. Beth S. says:

    I love me a rich, chocolatey brown like that. Mmmmm!

  13. Lisa says:

    Purty,purty! You CERTAINLY are the boss of your knitting!

  14. Darci says:

    I love this brown – you know that it is the new Black! But I really love the pattern – what is it? Am I suppose to recognize it….

  15. Imbrium says:

    It turned out lovely, but I’d be so scared to dye an already-knit sweater, especially one I loved. What if it had gone wrong? All that work! Thou art a braver soul than I.

  16. Deanna says:

    Bonne Marie has a quote in today’s Chicago Tribune, Tempo section, page 4. You’re right, knitting does make a great after work Happy Hour.

    Love the richness of the new brown!

  17. Debi says:

    What a great dye job Bonne Marie! You really did yourself proud this time, love the rich dutch chocolate you have now (and the sweater is pretty dishy too!)

  18. Kristen says:

    Re: Your comments on Under the Banner of Heaven on the sidebar- Like Jon Krakauer’s other books, I couldn’t put this one down. Shows the creepiness of fundamentalism of any sort.

  19. Emily says:

    It’s gorgeous! Good for you, you adventurous girl you!!!

  20. Patricia says:

    Oh, gosh, I watched your blog while you made that beauty a few years ago, I LOVE that design. But my heart sputtered coz I thought “Oh no, she’s not gonna frog it, is she??!?!?” I like the new colour!

  21. meg says:

    Mmmm, yum. That’s beautiful! I love that one, too.

  22. Julia says:

    Hi Bonne – could you talk a bit about how you decide what colors to use to dye? I have some sort of mustardy gold Blue Faced Leicester yarn that I would love to dye a similar brown. What resources are you using to decide which dye colors will give you the results you want? Books? Pamphlets? Experience in color theory? Thanks!

  23. Bonne Marie says:

    The color work I’ve been doing is a combination of internet study and real-time experimenting on yarn and garments. I’ve put my entries on dyeing in a new category you can now find here:

    One of the best books you can use for this stuff is by the wonderful writer and fiber artist Deb Menz – “Color Works” – I went to a lecture she gave a couple of years back and wanted to dye everything in sight:

  24. Wendy says:

    Wowie wow wow! Love the new color!

  25. AnnDS says:

    To quote an Irish nun I once met, it’s “Gargeous”!


  26. Marg says:

    Another beauty! Gosh, I wish I could wear that colour!!

  27. Zonda says:

    Wow! Love the new color! What a great way to change your wardrobe colors!

  28. Teresa says:

    That is a gorgeous shade…you are the mad scientist of color Bonne Marie (minus the ‘madness’ of course)!

  29. Becky says:

    You’re such a talented dye mastah!!! I need you here whenever I have to mix gouache. Hee hee!


  30. Sahara says:

    Wow! The old color matches some angora/merino mix I received as a “gift” (you know why). I had it for years cause I disliked it. It eventually became a sweater with pink brick stripes, which transformed it.

    That brown, is the ticket!

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