Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Long Broken Violet Gradient

Breaking Wilton Violet Food Coloring is one of my favorite dyeing activities.  I love the way the violet color breaks apart into turquoise and fuchsia.  I've dip dyed a skein of yarn into Wilton's violet food coloring in the past, but I wanted to create a very long gradient for a specific knitting project.  I want to create a hat with a long gradient from brim to crown.  To achieve this effect, I would dip dye a pre-knit blank into Wilton's violet food coloring.

It sounds like a lot of work to knit to create a blank for dyeing only to unravel the finished product, but I didn't hand knit this pre-knit blank.  I used an inexpensive hand crank Singer Knitting Machine to create a worsted weight blank.  (See my review of the Singer Knitting Machine)

  • Materials: 100g Bare Wool of the Andes worsted weight yarn, Wilton's Violet Food Coloring, White Vinegar, Pot for the stovetop
  • Create a "sock blank" out of the desired yarn with a crank knitting machine.  Alternatively, you could purchase a sock blank to use for this project. 
  • The dyebath: (10 cups Water, 1/2 tsp Wilton's Violet Food Coloring and 3T White Vinegar)
  • Dip Dye: Watch the below video to see how I dipped the pre-knit blank of yarn into the dyebath to create this stunning ombre yarn.  

Breaking Wilton's violet food coloring is always fun, but it is especially fun when the projects works just as you intended.  I ended up with exactly the right gradient distribution for my hat!  I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.  Before I got to the hat, I had to dip dye the yarn.  With the help of tongs and other kitchen spoons, I gradually dipped my pre-knit blank into the dyebath.  

Once all of the red had struck to the fiber, I let the whole blank soak in the dyebath to absorb as much of the blue as possible.  I removed the fiber and allowed the blank to cool to room temperature.  Once cool, I washed the dyed blank with liquid dish soap and cool water.  

I was so excited by the colorway that I wanted to unravel it immediately.  However, I knew that it would be prudent to wait for the fibers to dry so I wouldn't stretch them out.

However, once the yarn was dry it was so lovely that I didn't WANT to unravel it.  I tried it on like a scarf and had to work to convince myself that this really did want to turn into a hat  

If I weren't filming the video, I would have knit my hat directly from the blank.  I wanted to be able to show you what this looks like as it was unwound.  

There was some fun breaking within each of the stitches.  This was so cool!  

The yarn is crimped because I allowed it to dry in the knit blank.  If I were to wind the yarn onto the niddy noddy I could re-wet the yarn to straighten it back out.  This time, I didn't want to create an extra step so I wound it into a ball with my ball winder.  

Can you believe that all of these colors came from one batch of dye? I have a whole playlist of breaking Wilton's violet food coloring videos.  There are many ways you can take advantage of the separation of the blue and red dye molecules when you are dyeing yarn.  

I created this yarn specifically for a hat... for me!  How often do I knit a hat that is for myself?  Not often enough!  Stay tuned for the next post to see how this yarn converts into an amazing GENEie Hat.  

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