Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dip Dyeing

To continue my exploration in the arts of dyeing with food coloring, I decided to try the dip dyeing method. First I would dye the skein entirely in one color, and then I would over dye it to create the color variation.

The Purple Colorway
Since I have "discovered" the methods of achieving purple in my kitchen, I thought it would be fun to create these subtle differences in a single colorway. I mixed 1T of white vinegar into 1C water and 2 ML of a concentrated purple dye solution (from wilton's paste). I added presoaked bare fingering weight wool and microwaved the solution for 1 min. At this point the dye bath was at a boil. The wool remained in the dye bath until it had cooled and most of the dye had absorbed into the fiber.

The purple base

This purple is lighter than the purples I have achieved in the past, but I did not want to overload the wool with too much dye since I wanted it to be able to take in more color. For the first dip, I added 2 drops of NEON blue food coloring to the cleared solution shown in the above picture. I figured that this would be enough color to create a more than subtle change. I dipped one end of the purple skein into the blue bath, and microwaved for 1 minute on high. Since I did not want to stain my microwave or counter, I placed the glass with the dye and the skein onto a plate for all subsequent steps. I removed the skein from the blue bath immediately after removal from the microwave.

Finally I made a new dye bath (2 drops NEON pink, 1C water and 1T white vinegar) and dipped the other end of the purple skein, microwaving for 1 minute on high. Once again, I removed the skein from the blue bath immediately after removal from the microwave.

My purple colorway!

The overall effect is very tie-dyed. I think that next time I will play with more gradual dips. Using a stove top method would allow for better control over how much color absorbs from the dips than with the microwave.

There was a lot of dye left over from both the NEON food coloring dips. I saved these dye baths for my next colorway.

The Green Colorway

For the base, 5 drops of green food coloring and 2 drops of concentrated black paste were added to 1c water and 1T white vinegar. The wool was added and the solution was microwaved for a minute on high. After cooling, the green skein was removed. There was enough residual dye in the bath to give a pale color, so I added a fresh skein to the bath and microwaved it.

The residual green color. There is more blue than yellow in this than from the other color base, but different dye colors are known to absorb to wool at different rates.

I dipped my vibrant green base in the following baths (microwaving for a minute each time)
  • residual Neon blue bath from before
  • residual neon pink bath from before
  • 1 mL concentrated brown solution

The green colorway!

This colorway is pretty earthy, and the color changes are much more subtle than in the purple colorway. I believe this is due to there being less dye in the overlay dye baths.

I am still dyeing smaller quantities of wool, making about 8 skeins from a 100g skein purchased from KnitPicks. I have been playing so much with small knit stuffed toys that I've wanted a variety of colors to play with. I plan on returning to dyeing wool for larger projects in the future.

My colorways of the day!