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.
I created a long blank using the addi Express knitting machine. For more information on that process, check out the Whidbey Forest Gradient. This blank is extremely long and the knitting is rather loose, so I didn’t have to worry about yarn resists.
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.