As I have mentioned before, I always have some left-over dye from various projects. Not wanting to waste the dye or add extra chemicals to the water, I keep those dyes in jars and bottles. I have one for every color, and when I have leftover pink dye, it goes into the pink jar just waiting to be used. And that’s what’s happening here.
For today’s experiment, I am using Fabienne, a beautiful blend of 75% SW Wool, 15% Silk, and 10% Linen. I'm certain the linen won't dye, so it will give it an interesting texture.
My counter was completely covered in plastic wrap and the blank laid out in a long snake. I pulled out my jars of pink, red, orange, and purple. All the dyes are Jacquard Acid Dyes, and since they are leftover, who knows what the dye mix is. I do know there is already citric acid in the jars.
And then I just went to town in a messy explosion of color! I used a syringe to suck up random amounts of dye from the jars and let the colors mix in the syringe. I applied the dye in different sections of approximately 2 feet. With my gloved hands, I massaged the yarn to make sure the dye was all penetrating.
Once the dye was applied, I squished the areas where the colors met to make sure they bleed together nicely. And I admired my crazy quilt of colors.
To heat set the yarn, I started rolling the yarn into the plastic, keeping the snake zig-zag pretty much in place. Once that was accomplished, the plastic was wrapped into a cinnamon roll. It was popped into the microwave for 2 minutes, and then another two minutes. The yarn was then allowed to cool to room temperature.
I have noticed with microwaving, I always have unexhausted dye left in the yarn. I am unsure if it is because I have too much dye or I haven’t microwaved for long enough time. I don’t want to burn the yarn or fuse it to melted plastic, so I am hesitant to microwave it for longer.
So, to make sure there isn’t going to be an absurd amount of dye coming loose once this is knitted up, I filled my sink with warm water and Synthrapol and watched all the excess dye come loose.
In my effort to make sure no dye goes down the drain, I tossed in a hank of undyed yarn and in no time, the water was clear.
I have created a fun and quirky gradient! I like how the linen bits didn’t dye and remained white. It gives this dye job a little bit more character!
Stay tuned for next week where I do some finger painting!
Ready to make your unique colorway? Hop on over to Makers' Mercantile® and pick up your undyed yarn and supplies. We can’t wait to see what you make, so tag us on social media with #makersmercantile!
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.