Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A rainy day dye day

I have had this thought stuck in my head for awhile, and I finally decided to try it.  My thought was a new way to dye yarn.  

I started with measuring out 14 yards of hand-spun white wool on my warp board:

 This wool was straight from a sheep in eastern Washington State!  It was really soft, but still had debris in it.  Because of the debris that remained in it, I set it aside as rug wool.  In other words, it is ok if this project doesn't turn out!  It's great practice stuff.

I had the rainbow of Wilton's food coloring dyes, which I might point out are food safe.  (This is important in the next step!)

 And I filled up my pressure canner with 7 quart-sized jars.  I added a little dash of vinegar to each one.

Then added the rainbow of dyes, one to each jar.  I had 7 jars, so there are 2 shades of blue, a dark and a light one, plus all the other colors of the rainbow.

The hardest part was estimating how much yarn to put into each jar!  I ended up not putting enough in at first, so when I got to purple, there was a lot left over.  So, I just put a little bit in red, orange, and yellow again!  It's just for practice, anyway!  Next time, I'm going to put some yarn markers on the wool while it's on the warp board.  For example, if I had 14 warped yards and 7 colors, I'm going to mark every 2 yards with a little piece of yarn.  that way, I will know how much goes into each jar.

I wasn't too careful with the Wilton's food coloring, and dyed my hand a few different rainbow shades!  It's going to be a few days before it will wear off!

Over high heat, I raised the temperature until the water was simmering, not quite boiling, then I turned off the heat, put on the lid, and let it sit for a few hours to cool.  This is what it looked like after the dyes had a chance to wick up some dye in the white parts and then set! 

This all ended up being the perfect rainy day activity!  
We made our own rainbows inside with the Wilton's dyes!

And now, here are the results of my dyeing experiment:
 It's so colorful!


 This is going to be so much fun!!

The stripes are going to be long and I love the sections that fade to the next color!  I didn't get that when I spun already dyed wool, like before.

After the rainbows, I decided to do a dye bath of yellow-green, green, green-blue, and blue.  It was wound into a 2 yard skein, so the color changes are kind of short, not like the rainbow 14-yard warp.  I imagine it being a pretty little scarf mixed with the other white skeins, which are super white now because I washed them really well and shook out a lot of the debris.  I think more will fall out as I work with it on the loom and then wear the scarf.

I feel so excited to re-discover this wool!  It feels cool to find lost things in your stash!  

Now I need to weave up these dyed wool skeins so I can see which ones I like better, the longer stripes or the shorter stripes.