Well, maybe. These skeins are trying to get a little color today.
And, technically, I am supposed to be knitting right now. But I took a pit stop to try something out…
She shouldn’t have. But she did.
On a fairly constant basis, my office mate is subjected to my torturous nature of making folks look at and touch the yarn I spin. Yesterday, during my own personal Take Your Yarn To Work Day, I made her look at and touch my latest handspun. Again.
Most of the time, I do spin dyed fiber by fiber artists like Sosae Caetano, Harbor Fibers, Greenwood Fiberworks, etc. So, since these were completely white, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when she asked me if I was going to dye them. I told her that I had been interested in trying solar dyeing lately to see what that was like, but I hadn’t found the time to really figure out how to do it yet. I most recently saw it again while visiting the Spider’s Workshop and was reminded that this was definitely on the to-do list this summer. I suppose she thought about that all of a minute before promptly sending me a link to a site that had some solar dyeing activities going on, complete with photos of gorgeous jars of yarn dyeing in the sun. Now what did she have to go and do a thing like that for? All day at work, all I could think about from then on was solar dyeing this yarn. I bet it was like watching a wind-up toy.
To be honest, I don’t have a lot of experience dyeing or a lot of time to try this, and to top it all off, we don’t have a lot of sun right now either. So, I looked up some tutorials on it and I settled on one method that was unlike the rest in that the mordant isn’t rinsed off and then the yarn put into the dyestock. This mordant stays in the dyestock with the yarn and then it’s all rinsed off when it’s ready to be finished. So, not sure if that’s technically sound. But it still might get some color onto the yarn. I do wonder if it will be coarse when it’s finished since the mordant stays in longer…I digress.
Yesterday evening, I bought some cream of tartar and then went from supermarket to supermarket to pharmacy to supermarket to find alum. The pharmacy trip almost stopped me as the pharmacist said she’d never heard of it. I’m not even going to go there. But, in the end, I found it and though it was too late to start that night, as I drifted off to sleep, I kid you not, visions of jars with colored yarns were dancing in my head! I was too far gone. I just had to see what that would look like up close!
The article instructed to put the mordant in and mix it with some lukewarm water at the bottom of the container before adding the fiber and then adding the dyestuffs. For those of you who are like me and have never really dyed yarn with anything other than kool-aid, the mordant is the alum and cream of tartar mixture. It’s supposed to fix the color to the yarn so that it is better able to retain the dye. Since I was going the natural route, I decided to use red onion skins and red cabbage. For the onion skins, I just put them into the jar with the yarn. I just threw it in there, no weighing or anything, and decided to hope for the best, yeah? Yeah, I know, I know. Maybe someday. But today, I’m just playing around, so I’m allowed, okay? 🙂
Do you see that little burst of pink-red at the bottom of the jar? I think the mordant being concentrated in that area is why the color started seeping into the yarn from there. So far, the rest remains unaffected. But even that’s okay. It’s all a game right now.
For its counterpart though, I decided to boil the red cabbage so that I could strain the cabbage and have the dyestock ultra hot. I love how when I make red cabbage and potatoes, the potatoes turn purple, lol. I figured that would have to make a good dye. We will definitely see.
I added the mordant to that and stuck the fiber in the jar.
Look at how deep that purple is! Another important note is that I had to stuff this particular skein into the jar. So, it may not dye so evenly. Again, no biggie. I just want to see if the dye takes.
I can tell you now that the purple nearer the bottom of the jar looks a lot redder than the purple at the top of the jar. Mordant again? It’s pretty cool, regardless. I sure wouldn’t be mad if it dyed different shades across the whole skein!
Anyway, not sure how long I’ll leave these. Probably just long enough to see if it works. Girl Child will be doing her best to get that stuff out of there and onto the carpet where she thinks it belongs…I can’t wait for summer though! 🙂