Not what I expected

Adventures in Dying. Always fun and exciting.

I’m going to be doing a scarf for a friend in the near future, and for the first time I’m going to be doing a hand-painted warp. Planning for the warp got me thinking about dying, which made me remember I’ve got some bare top sitting in a drawer. One thing led to another and then this happened

These things happen sometimes

Generally, I’ve done my dying with food colouring. It’s not a perfect method – the dye can break easily and you’re not always in control of the results as you would be with acid dyes. The benefit of food dyes is that they are food safe – meaning I don’t need special instruments for dying and I can do it in the kitchen without worrying about any sort of contamination (although I don’t use the jars for anything other than fiber or soap making).

For this top (some merino with cotton noils) I split it into three, mixed a bit of dye in the jar and then jammed the fiber in. The idea was that I’d get a gradient going from dark (at the bottom of the jar) to light (at the top) – when I took this picture it seemed everything was going according to plan. I had the warming burner on under the jars, let them sit for about an hour, turned off the heat and left them to cool completely.

It looked perfect. The dye in the blue jar (on the right above) broke into purples and pink at the bottom and kept the blue at the top. I couldn’t wait to get it rinsed and dried.

Rinsing came with the unexpected results

I think the darker pink came from the purple jar

The blues didn’t hold at all, they went down the drain as I rinsed the fiber out. My kids were watching and thought it was an awesome colour change trick – my daughter was especially impressed that I had so much of her favourite colour.

I’m really not sure what went wrong. It’s typical for blues to not hold as well, but I had a handful of fiber in another jar with blue dye for about 20 minutes before I did these ones up, and it took the colour no problem. My guess is that I didn’t have enough vinegar in the fiber to help the dye absorb.

Ah well, my daughter will get a new pair of mitts and I’ll have to try again sometime.


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