Outlander Dyer’s Notes
My relationship with Outlander goes back to the early 90s when my dear Aunt Mary gave my the first book in the series (much to the horror of my Grandmother, whose home served as the backdrop for the gift).
It was my first Romance novel, and this was back when the book featured tacky bodice-ripper cover art better suited to a Harlequin novel or a penny-dreadful: think a red-headed Fabio clone in a kilt.
I loved every page if it, and went on to read the whole series.
When I was thinking about the colors yarns for this project, I wanted to go in two totally different directions – the first inspired by traditional highland dress, and the second a time-traveller yarn with a color inspired by the landscape.
I wanted to create a yarn that would be rustic and antique in appearance, but thoroughly modern in comfort and hand-feel. Umbra was the perfect yarn on both counts.
Umbra’s naturalistic appearance reminds me of grass or water-weeds, and I think it would look perfectly at home as part of a period costume. However, its softness, micro-chainette construction, and 35% nylon content are hallmarks of the modern era.
I picked a soft, neutral, forest-and-moss combination of dark green, silver-grey green, and olive. This combination works well with lots of other neutrals, including grey, brown, black, and navy. It is my hope that you’ll have lots of items already in your wardrobe to coordinate with your knit.
Because Umbra is 65% camel, and camel fiber does not take dye as easily as wool, there will be some color in the wash water when you block your finished piece. No need to panic – this is totally normal for camel-down yarns, and your yarn will not visibly change color.
To best maintain your yarn, use water no warmer than your body temperature for both washing and rinsing (i.e. if you put your hand in wash water and it feels warm or hot, add some cool water), a detergent intended for hand-knits (Eucalan, Soak, etc.), AND most importantly, add ½ cup / 120 mls of white vinegar to the wash water (rinse with plain water).
What’s up with the vinegar? Umbra is dyed with professional acid dyes. The acid (in this case, vinegar) bonds the dyestuff with the fibers. Adding vinegar to your wash water helps dyestuff stay bonded to the fibers, and can re-attach any loose molecules of dye to the yarn.
Wishing you happy Outlandish Knitting!