Thursday, January 29, 2009

experimental dyeing

Man it's been hot here!

The mercury hit 43C yesterday... that's 109.4F... hot... hot... HOT...

And we won't be getting any relief for at least another three days... so it is definitely not crafting weather... especially since we don't have air conditioning!!!

It doesn't even cool down much in the evenings, so there's no point in picking up a hook or needles... but I have to do SOMETHING crafty, right???

Well... I saw this post a little while back, and really wanted to try some experimental dyeing of my own. It looked like so much fun, and I have plenty of old knitted garments around here to play with. I have only tried dyeing once before, and I wasn't delighted with the results. In fact, I had pretty much decided that I should just leave it to the experts... and stay well away from the whole colouring process.

But, as I said... the experimental sleeve dyeing looked like fun, so I had to indulge myself...

I took a piece from an old wool jumper (I started with the back piece) and pre-soaked it in a solution of water with about a cup of vinegar, for about 30 minutes.

001 pre-soaking in vinegar and water

Then I gently removed the excess water, and laid the piece on a plastic bag. I added some horizontal stripes of food colouring, which had been diluted in water with a little vinegar. I was aiming for long colour segments of deep purples and deep reds.

002 adding food dye


See the way I have bunched up the piece to form three ribs? That's not a fancy technique of any kind! I only did that because the plastic bag I had underneath was a tiny bit too short, and I ran out of space! The original instructions say to use cling wrap... but sadly, cling wrap and I DO NOT get along... it does too much CLINGING and not enough WRAPPING for my liking, so I thought I'd try using an old bag instead.

003 ready to microwave

I then wrapped the piece in the plastic bag and put it into a bowl. Then into the microwave... two minutes on high, two minutes to rest... two minutes on high, two minutes to rest... two minutes on high, two minutes to rest... six 'cooking' minutes in total.

004 after microwave

You can see that quite a bit of the dye has escaped from the bag. I later experimented with the notorious cling wrap, and the dye did not escape.

005 result

So, here it is after it has been rinsed in cold water. Not quite the deep purples I was after... it would seem I should have made up a stronger dye mix.

006 blugreen

I worked this sleeve in a blue/green colourway using vertical stripes, which will give me shorter colour runs... when I use the yarn, the colour changes will appear much more quickly.

Finally I made a spotty one, using full strength food dye... which I dripped randomly onto the sleeve using a syringe.

007 spots

Want to see the resulting yarn?

So do I... but we both have to be patient! Hopefully I'll have some photos for you tomorrow.

7 comments:

Sam said...

43 degrees??? How can you bear it? And you've been doing crochet!

Anyway, when you roll the sleeve up in the bag/clingfilm, did you roll up the sleeve then cover in the bag, or roll them up like a wrap and filling?

Back to the charity shops for me ;-)

wendyloohoo said...

I will take the hot weather, it was 22F (-5C) with a lot of snow and then it warmed up to 34F (1C) just to turn it to rain and make the snow heavy and slippery. I cannot wait to see the yarn you rescued.

I drink cups of tea said...

Omg awesome. I can't wait to see how your yarn turns out! Impatient.. impatient... impatient.. Is it ready yet????

aww come on.

misha said...

Looking forward to seeing the yarn :)

Judith said...

Hurry, hurry, I want to see what this turns out like in the ball and what it looks like when knit or crocheted. I eargerly await your next post. Oh yes got a cotton jumper the other day that I intend to recycle.

Original Cyn Studios said...

So curious how it will turn out. Love this idea.

laughing purple goldfish said...

sam - I rolled the sleeve first, then wrapped it... mostly because I didn't want to end up int a tangled cling wrap mess

wendyloohoo - emailing you the heat as we speak! lol

tea - you sound about as patient as I am with these things!

misha - me too :)

judith - woo hoo! recycled cotton... fantastic

original cyn - thanks for stopping by