Monday, February 13, 2017

Breaking Speckled Wilton's Violet on Roving


Let's break some more Wilton's Violet food coloring!  Previously I've explored making various long gradients with Wilton's violet but now I want to see about breaking tiny patches of color.  I think that most of the fiber I dye involves breaking Wilton's violet.  It is so fun to watch the colors separate and then it spins up into a fabulous yarn.


I tried to combine both of my speckling techniques here (dabbing with a fork and adding drops with an eye dropper).  Ultimately I liked adding single drops with the medicine dropper more than dabbing with the fork on roving.

Right after I finished applying the dye
After sitting for a little while - look how the dye separated!  

I let the fiber sit for longer than I meant to before steaming it because Lucky came home from the playground with Grandmama and you wouldn't be able to hear me over the sounds of them playing.  Look how much the dye moved already! There might be less separation if I put the fiber directly into the steamer.


When I added the fiber to the steamer, I accidentally let one edge dip into the water.  I recovered quickly but I'm not sure how much was submerged in the simmering bath.  In the end there was a lot of blue in the bath, but I'm not sure if the dye was dripping down during steaming or if this is just from the quick dip.


The colors split so much more than in the speckled yarn I created earlier that afternoon.  Watch the video to check out the fun transformation.  


Materials and Methods
  • 100 g BARE wota roving LINK
  • I presoaked the roving in 16 c water (room temperature) with 3 T white vinegar for 1 hour.  I squeezed out most of the water so the yarn was wet but not dripping.
  • The Dye -  I started with what remained from the 1/8 tsp Wilton's Violet food coloring LINK in 1 T water in the speckled wilton's violet yarn video.  I added 1 T water to the remaining dye and then mixed 1/8 food coloring + 2 T of water for the remaining dye.  
  • I applied the food coloring to the fiber with a medicine dropper and by dabbing with a fork.  I turned the fiber over in the middle of the application to get the coverage I wanted.  
  • Waiting to let the dye spread (by necessity since Lucky came home and it was too noisy for me to film!)
  • Steam the fiber over boiling water for 30 minutes.  I added a dash of salt to the steam bath.
  • After the fiber has cooled, wash with dish soap until the water runs clear and hang the yarn to dry.  

Look how clearly you can see the pink dots.  They are so well defined compared to the streaks of blue.  This is because the red dye binds to the fiber faster than the blue food coloring molecules, and the blue travels further creating bigger patches of color.


The dye broke so much here that there almost isn't any purple, it is all pink and blue!


I don't want all of my spinning videos to involve broken violet fiber, but this fiber is so fun that I know it is moving to the top of the queue.  


As we start a new year, I can't help reflecting on how far I've come as a fiber artist since I created ChemKnits.  When I started this blog I never dreamed that I would be dyeing and spinning, much less sharing my process with thousands on YouTube!


It makes me so happy when you share pictures of your dyeing projects with me on Instagram and Facebook.  Don't be nervous to start trying.  Some of my favorite yarns and from "mistakes" that I made along the way.  Continue to share pictures with me and ask me questions, you all inspire me so much!

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