Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I couldn't get enough of snow dyeing!

The first time I tried to snow dye yarn (last February), I had so much fun that I couldn't stop.  Before I knew it I had created THREE additional snow dyeing videos.  I even filmed some of them in tandem since the snow took so long to melt.  Today I'm going to show some behind the scenes thoughts on snow dyeing roving with food coloring.  I chose Wilton's Violet because I was hoping that with the melting action we would get some color breaking.

Some tips before you begin:  Make sure things are cold before you start so you don't shock the fibers, I presoaked my wool in the fridge so it would cool down.  I also cooled down the dye solution so I would not immediately melt the snow upon dye application

The first technique I did (snow dyeing with Kool Aid) would work with ice dyeing, but this wouldn't work as well with ice.  You could get some really cool patterns I suppose pouring liquid dye on top of ice, but by gently applying the liquid to snow, it will take some time to soak through onto the fibers.

The snow was MUCH denser this time.  How could this be if it were from the same snow?  I collected the snow last night and put it in my back hallway overnight which keeps stuff frozen, but it must have been just at 33 or 34 degrees so some melted a bit to make it dense heavy snow, versus fluffy powder.  I put an entire bucket on the two hanks of fiber where I only did a fraction of a bucket last time.  This will take all day to melt!  I hope I don't need to shower later today...

What could go wrong?
  • The fiber could be felted because it was shocked from the cold
  • Not enough vinegar in the fiber, color added but won't absorb, rinses out after setting
  • The dye itself is too pale to show up on the grey fiber
  • I heat the yarn too soon, shocking hte fibers and felting it.  

But ooo, I'm getting excited about being able to do an over dyeing video if this doesn't turn out the way I want.  How exciting!   At 2.5 hours I peaked and I see a litlte pink on one corner of fiber.  Is this hope?  I hope it penetrates!

While waiting for the snow roving to finish up, I started feeling pessamistic about the amount of color that would be depsoited in the roving, and decided that I wanted to take advantgae of the fresh snow and dye some more roving, this time with KoolAid.  I know how well that workd with the first bit of yarn, so I will set up some roving with KoolAid (and some silk hankies with KoolAid) to dye overnight.  (Stay tuned, I'll provide some behind the scenes throughts from these dyeing experiments by the end of the year!)

I started filming at 8:40 AM and the snow had just barely melted by the time I was ready to head to bed that evening. (The bathroom was the coldest room in my old apartment, but still... brrrr!)

When breaking Wilton's violet with snow, I kept saying in the video that this is happening differently than when dyeing in solution, that the blue moves more and the pink less.  This is actually happening the same.  The blue is moving faster than the pink, what is different is that the blue would strike the fiber first.  There was a potential for there to be fewer blue areas on the fiber and the pink to be more spread out, but we actually see pretty even blue/pink distribution over the finished fiber.

This grey is a lot lighter than my overdyeing charcoal grey experiment, but it is still hard to see if any color absorbed.   That definitely took some red hues, right?

I nuked the fiber in the microwave for 3 min in 1 min intervals until hot to the touch.  Then I let it cool down overnight (just because I wanted to go to bed.  It has been a LOOONG day of dyeing!)

What, no picture of the final product?  Watch the video to see where we ended up!  What would I do differently next time? I'd try to use fresher snow. This snow was wet and heavy and therefore took FOREVER to melt.

I took advantage of the massive snow storms in February to try some snow dyeing. We know that we can break Wilton's Violet food coloring into the teal and fuchsia colors through dip dyeing and hand painting, but what happens if we let the dye diffuse through snow before it hits the fiber?

Video Contents (Skip ahead to the part you need!)
[0:00] Introduction & Materials required for Snow Dyeing Wool Fiber
[0:50] Presoaking the fiber in cool water/vinegar solution
[2:13] Mixing the Wilton's Violet Food coloring Solution to apply to the snow
[7:04] Covering the pre-soaked wool fiber with snow
[13:07] Adding dye to the snow
[16:22] 15 min post dye 
[17:27] 50 min post dye
[17:54] 2 h post dye
[18:15] 4 h post dye
[19:15] 5 h post dye - close up
[20:05] 5 h 40 min post dye - is any blue sticking?
[21:41] 7 h post dye
[22:20] 10 h post dye - transferring to plate
[25:23] Microwaving the fiber to set the dye with heat (3 min on high total)
[26:03] Washing the fiber (the moment of truth! Will the color come out?)
[28:11] Reveal of the dry, died roving and conclusions