The sun is shining in Kent, WA. I know its summer and all, but sunshine isn’t a regular feature this time of the year in Western Washington. I’m so excited for fall to get here, but I figured I’d use some of the last days of summer to try an ice dyeing experiment. I’ve tried the technique on fabric and quite liked the results, but I have no idea how it will translate to yarn.
First things first, we need the yarn. For this week I chose Dominique, a DK weight that is slightly felted, single-ply, and 100% Merino Wool. My hope is this single-ply wool will show a bunch of color variation on the strand, and I didn’t want that to get lost in any plies.
I started with just the bare, dry yarn. The hank was wound with a wider diameter then some of the other undyed yarns we carry, so I was able to pile it into my pot in a random, haphazard manner.
I acquired a bag of ice from the grocery store. (You could use ice from your freezer, but I don’t have an ice maker and I wasn’t going to make a bazillion ice cubes. Because I am impatient.) I dumped a three-inch layer of ice on top of the yarn.
And out to my deck I went. I filled up some salt shakers with salt and dye powders. I used Jacquard Acid dyes in Hot Fuchsia, Turquoise, and Brilliant Blue. The salt was used because, in watercolor painting, the salt absorbs the pigment and leaves cool little splotches. I wanted to see if it did anything on the yarn. (Spoiler alert: You can skip this step!)
I liberally sprinkled the dye powder all over the ice, concentrating the colors in certain areas. I topped the dye powder off with a handful of citric acid sprinkled all over the dye. If you want to try this, I recommend doing this outdoors because the dye powder gets everywhere. And remember, wear a respirator and only use dye dedicated pots and utensils.
Last but not least, I put a huge chunk of ice on top of the whole thing. Then I went inside to get out of the sun. What? I’m a Washingtonian! I can’t handle sunshine for longer than 5 minutes.
And I just let the ice melt all day long. When I went outside to check on the yarn several hours later I kind of panicked. The ice had all melted, and the part of the yarn was all submerged, but the water had turned a dark purple color. But I reminded myself it’s just an experiment, and dark purple yarn is pretty too.
I took the pot back inside and put it on the burner. Water was added and the yarn was fully submerged.I turned on the heat, brought it up to nearly simmering and let the dye exhaust. This is where the water turns clear. It means the dye has been absorbed and set into the yarn. And this is where I did a happy dance.
And that's a shower ring I put around the hank. I've found they cut down on tangling significantly when kettle dyeing.
Despite the dark purple water, there were all sorts of variation all over the yarn. It’s gorgeous and exactly what I was hoping for, and this was a good reminder to me to not give up and to just push through. I’m pretty excited this was a success. Now I want to try snow dyeing. But I have a feeling I’m going to have to wait for a long time for that!
Dominique is a fun yarn and would pair really well with Schoppel-Wolle Reggae in Ombre, Mélange, Print, or Solids. I might pair this with color Ombre 1505 (because I am a sucker for rainbow) or maybe Ombre 1536 to really get that contrast between the purple/yellow and orange/blue. But I think the real winner is Ombre 2095. I love how the pink and purple are a close match to my dyed yarn and blue/red is always a stunning combo. What do you think?
Join me next week where we are going to check out a different brand of acid dye and a variegated gradient!
And don't forget there is a coupon code for Jacquard Acid Dyes! Just enter JACQUARD15 at check out and receive 15% off Jacquard Acid Dyes through August 31, 2019.
Tara Warburton is the former graphic designer for Makers' Mercantile® and a fine artist. She specializes in watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. She lives with her two cats, who are not helpful when knitting.