Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today, is a Good Day to Dye

A few years ago at the very first Blue Moon Fiber Arts Barn Sale I acquired this cone of mystery yarn.

Da Cone

Fully intending at the time to use it to experiment with dye, I did hit a bit of a block though when in researching dyeing methods I found out that what type of fiber the yarn was really makes a difference on what you can get away with using as a dye agent.  I know there are tests you can do to help determine what it is but I just thought it was better to plunk some of the yarn into a bath with Koolaid and nuke it until it was hot.  If memory serves it worked pretty well though there was a pretty heavy dye to yarn ratio.  Anyway due to my inexperience and unlearned state I dropped the project, until a few days ago when I was talking to my friend JL and she was interested in using vegetables and plants to dye fabric & rust dyeing.

Having been inspired to pick up the project again I dug the old cone out from the depths of my stash, picked up some Wilton's gel dye, and some inexpensive measuring implements that I wont be sad if they get all stained and they can be used in the future if I get into more chemically dyes.  When it was all said and done I had a pretty decent dye kit put together, for a first timer.

Dye Kit

Since I don't have a knitty knotty I used my yarn swift to make hanks, it worked pretty well other than it was a bit hard to gauge how much yarn was there, the process was further complicated by my little helper, I kept having to stop take it away from her.

Kume Helps

Since I really like them I figured I'd try making a variegated solid so I pinned the yarn up on the edges of the bin in a few places, added in the hot water, and then used boiling water to hydrate the gel before adding it to the main bath.

Bath setup 1

After 10 minutes I removed two of the pins and once it was all dunked I just pinned the two side together in the bath.

Pink dye Phase 2

After another 10 minutes I took out the last pin and let it go for another 10 minutes.  Then it was time for a good rinsing and lay out to dry, the result was, ok.

Pink hank from test 1

I used two different colors Rose & Violet and while the Rose for the most part worked as expected, but when I added the vinegar to the violet it separated and only the pink in the dye stuck to the yarn.  I mean it's not a bad color per se but it's not what I was going for.

Pink Hank from test 2

There are a few spots that are almost violet but for the most part it's more of a fuchsia or magenta.  I did manage to dye my fingers hot pink, really should have remembered the gloves.

Fingers to Match