Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Speak to me of dyeing

Not as in leaving this earth, but dyeing. As in color and mordant and heat. I've never dyed fiber, unless it's by accident, like throwing the red towel in with the whites in a river of hot water. I've done that before.

I'd originally planned to have a true color artist dye my shawl, but I really want to do it myself. I've been discussing color with my daughter and she thinks trying to achieve OPI's nailpolish, Yodel Me on My Cell, is a perfect color.

I could have used a slightly wider table for blocking, but this was good enough

Some reading I've done indicates I may have some issue with the dye reaching the twisted parts of my stitches--of which there appear to be many thousands of such stitches--which will result in a more marbled instead of solid effect, but can this be ameliorated in some way? What if the color were applied with a sponge brush? Can I paint it this way and allow the sun to be the heat source? It's not like it's not hot enough around here.

My neighbor said, "wow, that's beautiful. It looks just like peacock feathers." It does, it does!

This is the one area of fiber arts I've never dabbled in and I'm completely lost and not a little nervous. The fiber is 100% superwash merino and my shawl weighs 700 grams, or 1.8 pounds. Incidentally, I'm willing to practice and have enough wool left over for several lace swatches to practice on first.

So please, if you know how to dye, won't you share your skill with me?

Sara and I are planning a trip to the Detroit Zoo for a photo shoot. Our goal is to hunt down some peacocks so we can try to get them into the pictures. They're usually pretty easy to find. We just need for the heat to die down a little.


Denise said...

To practice you will need to soak your swatches in vinegar and warm water. You can then wring them out and paint on the dye with a brush.

It would be good to put a bit of vinegar in the dye mixtures as well, about a tablespoon.

There are various dyes you can use. Wilton's cake icings at Micheals work well for the most part. Some colors are known to split. The sky blue which is very close to your polish color hasn't split on me. They have beautiful teal, as well. The color does last, I have yarn I've dyed with Wilton's a decade ago and the color is still brilliant.

There is of course, powder dyes you can order online. Jacquard and Cushings, plus others. Be sure to mix any dyes with very, very hot water so they disolve completely.

As hot as it is outside, it's not really hot enough. 140F is optimal. I've wrapped my yarn/fiber in plastic and put in the oven on 140F for about an hour.

I did have an instance, where I had to leave silk yarn sit for a couple days without heat setting it. When I came back, rinsed it and the dye had set. If you are very patient you could try that with a swatch.

If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me.

Denise said...

Here is the link to the shawl I saw awhile back that they had painted it with dyes to make it look like peacock feathers.


The Bug said...

I have no dyeing advice, but I love the color choice!

Miss 376 said...

Rudee, that shawl looks stunning spread out like that. I do hope you manage to dye it

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i have no clue how to do it but it looks like peacock blue to me! it is gorgeous! i heard salt sets the color but i don't know anything for sure.

smiles, bee

sapphireblue said...

That's beautiful. I can't wait to see what it will look like after you have dyed it.

Denise said...

I came back to say you did an amazing job with it. I was so intent on helping with dying advice, while having my first cup of coffee, I forgot to compliment your wonderful job knitting it.

Stephanie V said...

Amazing! That shawl is gorgeous just the way it is. I'm trying to imagine it even more spectacular.
I'm glad that you've had Denise's good advice on dyeing. My experience is all with yarn and fleece - I've never dyed anything already knit.

Finding Pam said...

Your shawl is fantastic! I can't wait to see it dyed.

NCmountainwoman said...

Don't have a clue about dyeing but I adore the shawl. Thoughts are still with you as you struggle through your father-in-law's illness.

sue b said...

Dyeing is not difficult and superwash merino takes dye well. Putting wool in boiling hot water does not hurt it at all. It will not felt unless you agitate it. There are dyes especially made for wool and I would suggest using them. Don't be scared by the process. There is a basic tutorial and lots of supplies at http://www.dharmatrading.com/ I have followed their instructions and used their dyes with good results. Once you have dyed the shawl just reblock it. Good luck, and show us a picture when it's done.

Ruth said...

Stunning shawl - no help with the dyeing.
Out to buy that nail polish colour - it gorgeous.

flutterby said...

What a totally gorgeous shawl. Would love to try something like this but I'm not experienced enough. Surely you don't work on something so complex while watching the Tour de France.

Mimi said...

Shawl is really beautiful, and it IS like peacock feathers.
Sorry, no help on dyeing, no experience of it, but looks as though you have all the info you need from Denise.
Good luck with it!

Emille said...

Wow, you brave one! Always wanted to do it, but never came to it. It's about time, I'll take that jump too. But you first...:):) Keeping fingers crossed it will turn out well, because your shawl is beautiful!