Friday, February 20, 2009

Dye me a rainbow

Through the week I tried my hand at dyeing wool. To be more specific- dyeing with food colouring. How much fun was this & how addictive is it......I'm now looking at my yarn stash in a whole new light!
I scrummaged through my yarn stash & came up with some Cleckheaten 8ply wool I've had stashed for a good many years, in a winter white colour- just 2 balls & 2 smallish left overs, and, the hank of pure merino wool my MIL plied for me at least 22 years ago....still sitting in the stash- both perfect for the job!
Reading everything I could on how to attempt this new project-from here , here & here. These were all helpful, along with this one as well.

Armed with all my information I went shopping for a large container of white vinegar & some bigger bottles of food colouring- I bought 2 of each colour plus a rose pink & black for good measure- just the Queens brand in the supermarket. Scrounged around the $2 shops for clear squeez-ie containers but came home with sauce bottles- these were coloured (more on this later).
My technique was

1. soak for 30 minutes in warm water & a good slosh of vinegar,was maybe 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water.
2. Squeeze out the excess soak ( I re bottled the water/vinegar mix to use again next time).
3. Mix food colouring, water & vinegar in the sauce bottles & pour onto the yarn that I had arranged on a tray & a microwave dish. I used the water/ vinegar in proportions that were suggested in the tutorials.

4.Microwave for 2 minutes, rest for 5 & repeat until I had zapped it for 10 minutes in total-the containers were covered in Gladwrap.

5. Leave it alone until it cools, although the desire to play with it & look at it is extremely strong when you first finish 'cooking' it.

6. Rinse in warm/cool water with a little detergent-squeeze it all through to get rid of any excess dye (there wasn't any in mine) & to get rid of the vinegar smell in it.

7. hang to dry & admire it every time you walk past it

8. Rope some poor sucker into holding hanks for you so you can ball it...many thanks to Grahame at work, who actually offered to do this for me

9. Accept all the wonderful comments that you will receive when you show everyone you can grab- even your non- crafty/arty-farty friends will be amazed.
10. Take pics.
What I found
All the tutorials on how to do this were very good & I took from each one & from my reading online what appealed to me most & did it as a combination of techniques.
The sauce bottles were hopeless as you can't really see the colour in them- I have purchased small popper bottles for $2.50 for 6, mine have apple juice in them & I figured even if they tasted terrible & I tipped them out, it was still cheaper than buying a plastic container of some sort.
I need to get more experience with mixing dyes to get the colour I really want- not just 'however they turn out'! My purple is nearly black & my orange is more a lime green- but hey! it's my first attempt & I'm sure a beanie for my GS out of the 8ply will be well loved!
Now I'm looking at the roving I've had stashed for years as well-this looks like it could be added to the dyepot as well.
Happy Crafting,

No comments: