A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

Fresh from the Dye Dish

I honestly can’t keep up with the posts here–I could spend all my free time just ogling and add to the fray.

I got a bee in my bonnet this morning about dyeing up my tipless oak gloves in an autumnal gradual gradient.  My grand scheme worked well. It took less than 15 minutes in all from mixing up dye bath to dyeing, heat-set, acidic bath, and to final rinse. I love knitting with Joann’s Kashmira and dyeing the finished knit heavenly. It takes dyes so well.

I love beautiful things.  I love creating.   And I love the details!   Hand-dyeing with food-based dyes is how I express it often! This is a peek at some of the steps from my dyeing. When it dyes uniformly, then there would be no great sadness. But if it were uneven, there would be joy.

I love hand-dyeing because of the unexpected quality of it. No matter how proficient I become or how much I may try to predict the outcome, my hand-dyeing always includes an element of the unknown. I tend to try to be too precise in the things I create, and dyeing forces me away from that control.  The fibers will always have their say which what I truly like about dyeing…getting to know my fibers.  My favorite hand-dyed yarns are those that are one of a kind. They certainly can’t be duplicated by a machine and possibly can’t even be duplicated by another dyer.  To me, this is the essence of handmade–a piece that is the reflection of its creator and one that can never again be recreated exactly.

Kettle dyeing is a kind of low-to-moderate water immersion. Kettle dyeing a semi-solid is often done by just letting the yarn form its own resist. Which means that the yarn itself physically blocks the path of the dye, creating areas of light and dark. If I mix up my dye stock, put in my dye pot with acid (vinegar or lemon juice,) and heat it up very hot, when I drop in my project, the dye will start to strike right away.

If I put the project in very slowly, I’ll be able to see a visible gradient form up the object as there’s less and less dye available (and as the bath cools down because of the cool fiber.) Once all the object is in, the bits that are most exposed to the largest volume of dye bath will get the most of remaining available color, further creating light and dark areas, depending on how much dye is left in the pot. If I want a very even color, a larger volume of water allows the fiber to spread out more, adding salt to the water will slow down striking, and starting with a cooler dye bath will also slow down striking. It lets me stir (gently) to expose more of the fiber to more of the dye.

If I want to do tone-on-tone, instead of one solid color, I can. I can do something called hot pour which is pouring concentrated dye into parts of the pot where the yarn is barely submerged in a small amount of acidulated water. The dye spreads minimally because the yarn is blocking it from traveling. This is often used for really striking colorways with high contrast. However, if I use complementary colors, it can be more subtle. Or I can do what I do, which is overdye the same fiber repeatedly. Put it in the dye bath, let it exhaust, take it out, add more dye in a complementary color if I don’t want it to be too vivid, put it back, let it exhaust, repeat as desired. These are all 100% wool, not a superwash, that I did that way, although usually with only 2 or 3 passes of color, being careful not to handle the fiber too much and felt it.

I’m kinda excited about today’s play. Similar to kettle dyeing–but less time-consuming with minimal fuss–I dare say I have my 4-step No Mess, 15-minute gradient dye perfected.

Anyone else has the crazy, obsessive urge to do things even though there is no purpose for them?

I can’t stop thinking about dyeing more finished knit, yarn, or fiber/roving.  I’m plotting gradient blue or purple.

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…)


Comments on: "Fresh from the Dye Dish" (9)

  1. Awesome knitting.. 🙂

  2. You are SO BRAVE ! You see, that’s just like *you*… whack out a pair of fingerless mits *with* motif, oh, and lets just throw ’em in the dye pot. Great going girl. You really know how to spruce up the plain into the exotic ! Lovely !

    • Brave? Crazy, maybe. If there were dyeing police, I am sure she will knock on my door LOL This was quite satisfying play and I do think everyone should try it at least once. Maybe I’ll see you in action, Jen, sometime in the future?!

  3. Sarah,
    These are wonderful colors! And with the ornament on the gloves – perfect fit!
    I have a big amount of not dyed wool that my mom brought me last year. I guess it is a good start to try out your dyeing recipe once I have knitted something from it. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Thank you, Laura. I am quite pleased with this play. It’s pretty much what I envisioned. I love hand-dyeing and encourage you to give it a try. It’s so much fun. I have a system I have been testing and it works fabulously, easy and clean. So when you are ready and have any question, feel free to pm me 😀

  4. That did the trick! They look wonderful.

    • Thanks, K. It’s definitely a great dress-up. Everyone loves it when I had it on over the weekend. Maybe that’s what I need to work more on to get something on my etsy shop.LOL

  5. […] leftover purple dye from the first pair broke and stained a small area with […]

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