Tuesday, January 12, 2010


But not that much of it..

Finally, last night, I picked up the striped scarf—and got about a dozen rows knit.. I didn’t bother to photograph, cause really being 61 inches long, (vs 59 inches ) isn’t really noticible! But I have started up again, and I don't have much to knit to finish--so I will keep at it!

The sock are longer too—but still just legs, (no heels yet) and only subtly different.(So no photo either!)

But I have been holding out on you…
While I haven’t been knitting –I have been playing with yarns and with dyes. (and other stuff, too!)
2 skeins—and what a story they each tell!

Skein 1—a semi solid green.
Simple enough—a single small skein of a near white (muslin?) soaked in acidulated water, then green food coloring was added.(The stores stocked up before Christmas, and had a sale afterwards on 1 ounce bottles of a single color)
I poured the dye in the water, around and about—intentionally making some areas color(dye) rich, and leaving other areas almost color/dye free.
I used a full bottle of food coloring--50gm ball of mostly wool, and about 10% solution (90% water/10% vinegar(by volume) and a 1 ounce bottle of food coloring.
Then I nuked for 5 minutes/cooled for 10, (twice) till the color was fully absorbed, and the water was clear.
It’s a nice green—(it will be combined with some self striping, and used as trim, and well it will be used!

Skein 2—a sort of hand painted look—but done the lazy way in a big flat bath that allow me to drip dye/color where i want it--not in a deep pot.

This full 100gm skein is/was the somewhat unsuccessfully ‘cabbage’ dye I did with Robyn Love at Wave Hill—(see this post)

The water this yarn was soaked in (at Wave Hill) had alum added. (but it came home, and was reheated, and rinced—in an attempt (unsucsessful) to set the cabbage color)

This yarn was processed almost the same as the green.
I used several bottles of food coloring (1 bottle of green, 1 bottle of Yellow, and some dredges of a bottle of red food coloring (less than 1 teaspoons worth!)--twice as much food coloring, for twice the weight of yarn.

I used the same ratio of water/vinegar, and basicly the same process (to get intentionally un even color pick up.

But look at the green!--it is especially evident in the side by side shot how much darker and intense the green is in the multi color skein than it is in the semi solid green one.

And that orange isn’t orange, but supersaturated yellow! (and the red—so intense! So much color from so little dye!)

I’ve never much used mordants like iron, or tin, or alum—I’ve done mostly simple dying..Sometimes working to get an even all over color, other times working with dyes that I know will break or separate, (and working to get those breaks) I have made semi solids by intentionally having uneven consentrations of dye in the water bath..

But these colors are so saturated, so intense (for what are really simple dye matter.)

The first skein is 50 gms, and was dyed with 1 bottle of food coloring (1 ounce)

The second skein has about the same amount of dye material (100 gm of yarn, 2 bottles of food coloring (+ a little more) (2.2 ounces)) but the colors are much more intense!

Not at all what I envisioned, or really desired, but I am not unhappy with the results. I realize I have lots to learn about even simple dying!

I look forward to seeing this yarn knit up—and the kind of socks it that will result!
But that won’t be for a while –(likely not till the fall!)

Do you want to learn more about natural dyes and mordants (and spinning, and plying, and knitting and fiber skills in general? Robyn is one of the artist in-residence this season at Wave Hill--you can attend her program Saturday's or Tuesdays.. see her blog for more info!


Virginia G said...

Those are gorgeous!

I had my first (and totally failed) dyeing attempt late last year. Ugh. I still haven't blocked the project because it's a total disaster. Plus I'm afraid that whomever I give it to will turn green if they wear it.

Anonymous said...

I love that first green. Really a beautiful shade!

gayle said...

I love both skeins. Amazing that you got such gorgeous colors with just food colors!
I'm always happier with my dye experiments when I don't have firm expectations going in...

Anonymous said...

I love them both! I really should try dyeing myself...