Saturday, November 3, 2018

Weekly Roundup - Week of the Undyed

Happy (Belated) Halloween!  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love dressing up and creating different costumes.  This is the 4th year that I've created costumes for my boys, and I think I've been lucky so far that they've picked themes that are fairly easily for a mama to DIY.

This year, Lucky and Rowdy wanted to go as Catboy and Gecko from the series PJ Masks.  I took some solid colored pajamas from Primary and used puffy paint and felt to transform my little preschoolers into nighttime heros.  I hope to do a full post to show step by step how I created these costumes in the future, although last year's Pikachu and Pichu post is still overdue!  Seriously though, getting solid color PJ or sweat suit sets have a world of DIY potential.

Rise of the Undyed (Yarns)

I get a lot of questions on YouTube about ways to strip colors off of dyed yarn, both commercial dyed yarns and hand dyed.  I thought it would be Halloween appropriate to look at two different stain and color removers, Oxyclean and Rit Color Remover.  There are so many undyed puns that you can make, and it made it even more fun to joke around about it with all of you.

Oxyclean is a color safe stain treatment that I swear by.  I've used this to get all kinds of food and environmental stains out of my children's clothing.  I was therefore curious how some wool yarn that had been intentionally dyed with food coloring would hold up next to the oxyclean. I know that I can get popsicle stains (i.e. food coloring stains) out of cotton t-shirts, but how stable is the process of setting with heat and vinegar?  I dyed two skeins of my signature broken Wilton's violet colorway and let one skein soak in oxyclean for three days while the other skein soaked in just plain water.

There untreated skein looked almost untouched with a tiny amount of blue color bleeding. The oxyclean treated yarn had less blue in it, some pink bleeding, but there was still a lot of color left behind.  The fibers felt dry, as though all the oils had been removed (which was likely the case) but the yarn itself didn't feel damaged.  That said, I wouldn't recommend treating hand dyed yarns with oxyclean because it does remove some color.  Please note - oxyclean does NOT recommend using their product on wool.  It is always best to follow manufacturer instructions! 

I wanted to take this study a step further and look at a product that was supposed to strip colors specifically so you could overdye them again.  Rit Color Remover (Affiliate Link) is designed to help remove excess color (stains from color bleeding) or to lighting existing colors so you can then overdye with their Rit brand dyes.

"Rit Color Remover is a non-chlorine, reductive type of bleach that will not damage or deteriorate washable fabrics as chlorine bleach will. It is used primarily to remove or reduce color from fabric prior to dyeing, creating a blank canvas for dyeing to a true color. It works on cotton, linen, silk, wool, ramie, rayon and nylon. It may have a limited effect on polyester, depending upon how it was dyed commercially." - Rit Website

I decided to play with Rit Color Remover on a few different KnitPicks yarns (Affiliate Link) in saturated colors.  I selected a few colors of Wool of the Andes (100% wool), Brava (100% acrylic), Comfy (75% cotton, 25% acrylic), and Might Stitch (80% acrylic, 20% wool.)  I created a vat for color removal and also tried speckling some of the yarn directly with the Rit powder. While dyeing I used gloves, a face mask, and eye googles and used only dedicated dye pots, pans, and utensils.  

This UNDYEING all took place in a livestream, and I have not yet filmed the conclusions.  In my preliminary observation, the Rit Color remover did remove color from all of the fiber types to a varying degree.

The indigo heather, black, and pumpkin WOTA yarns had their saturated colors stripped to medium yellow/green/orange tones.  Unfortunately, this treatment was rough on the yarn and it feels really brittle and has some light felting to it.  I'm not sure if this yarn is knitable, yet, it could be fine when reskeined (although a little rough) but I definitely do NOT recommend using this on wool.

The acrylics (black and eggplant) did have some color removed.  The black yarn bled a LOT while rinsing, and I can see some really deep marine blue speckles on the yarn.  I look forward to looking close at this when it is dry.

The cotton/acyrlic blend held up with the rit dye the best.  After a couple of hours, the black had lightened to a medium grey.  It is possible that it could go lighter with more time and maybe a new packet of the color remover.  Certainly it is overdyeable at this point.

My preliminary conclusions are that while you can strip color from garments and yarn... I don't recommend purchasing fiber specifically to undye.  Even if a black yarn is a good deal, it is better to get a butter yellow, lime green, or even a neon orange to overdye to a darker shade.  I'll film my conclusions for this early next week.


The conclusions for the October dye along will be coming next week, too!  I love seeing all of your dyeing pictures, and am already planning on the November inspiration photo. 

This post contains some affiliate links.  All products were selected by myself and I was not paid to promote any specific brands.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.