Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Experiments in dyeing

So when I posted about my stash a few weeks ago, I noted that I had a big pile of oatmeal-colored worsted that I kind of hated and didn't know what to do with. Naomi suggested that I dye it, and what a bright young woman she is! I decided to use food coloring, because I didn't want to mess up my pots and pans with non-food-safe colorants. I used to have a pot I used for soapmaking which would have done, but I guess I got rid of that at some point (I haven't made soap in years) because I certainly don't seem to have it anymore.

Anyhow, I used the crock pot, roughly as described here. I'm very happy with the results overall.


These process pictures are from my second batch, which was royal blue with a bit of brown to soften it up.

The yarn soaking:

The dye stock mixture and food coloring bottles:

Dye and yarn in the pot:

After a few hours in the hot crock the dye exhausts:

And here's what it looks like dry!

I also did a couple of skeins of purple, and I dyed a skein of really hideous nylon/mohair blend grey laceweight red and black -- I think it is much less hideous now. I had a failure, though. My biggest batch turned out to not be colorfast. What do I do? I've been rinsing and rinsing, and the water's always green. I'm not sure whether it's salvageable. I'd really like it to be, since I'd like a third dark jewel-tone color -- I'm planning to combine it with the plain leftover oatmeal-colored yarn in a a hat and mittens, and a third color would be nice.


naomi said...

Have you tried heating it with more vinegar?

Robbyn said...

For what it's worth, I often have a problem with green. It can take twice as long to exhaust as any other color and even then there will probably be some color left in solution, rather than in your yarn.

You might try it again - start in the morning and just let the pot run all day. Green is a tough color though, so don't be surprised if, even then, you wind up with a little color still left over.