Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hot and Cold Pour Dyeing

Jacquard Acid Dyes
Today I had a wonderful time experimenting with different dye techniques and colors.  I've finally graduated to using Jacquard acid dyes, rather than food coloring and Kool-aid.  The acid dyes provide me with a far greater spectrum of color and blending possibilities.

I tried two different techniques: Hot and Cold Pour Dyeing.

With Cold Pour (sorry, I should have taken more pictures) you can quite literally paint the yarn, as it is all laid out before you on plastic.  I had "autumn" in mind as a colorway and used chartreuse, russet, pumpkin orange, sun yellow and teal.  I panicked briefly once I got the colors all applied that it looked more like an exploded Rastafarian than autumn leaves, but have learned from past dyeing experiments that colors blend more in the final stages and panic is not a worthy expenditure of energy.

Once the yarn was all painted, I wrapped it up in its plastic and steamed it in my dye kettle.  Briefly I found myself wondering what the temperature tolerance of plastic wrap is and had visions of pulling out shrink wrapped yuck.  Amazingly, plastic held its form and the colors did blend more.  I got an amazing spectrum of tones from browns to purples mixed in with varying hues of my dominate choice colors.  I have 245 yards of gorgeous worsted weight in "Autumn" just waiting to become a... not sure yet, but I'd venture to guess a hat.
Total Yarn Porn!  Tell me that doesn't make you want to break out the face mask and rubber gloves and dye your own!


In Kettle - I took this photo just after adding the dyes.
Isn't it beautiful!
Hot Pour is a totally different beast.  With this method you add dye to the kettle that your soaked yarn is "hot tubbing" in, then simmer.  How you've twisted the yarn into the kettle, where you place and how much of any color you use, and dye bleeding all affect the outcome.  Being not a huge fan of stripping yarns, I find I prefer kettle dyed yarns; colors are more mottled and less likely to flash or pool.

For this batch I used chartreuse, periwinkle, sapphire blue and teal - sea glass tones.  I got a little nervous while the yarn/dye mixture simmered, idly wondering if yarn could burn onto the pan.  Low and behold, it didn't, the dye exhausted just as it would have in my microwave and out came a glorious 930 yards of fingering weight in "Sea Glass".  Now I just need to find the PERFECT shawl pattern to highlight the colors of this yarn. Suggestions welcome.
Sorry this picture isn't better.  Honestly, the colors are far more vibrant like the "In Kettle" photo above... the sun is just too bright here.
 So bright in fact, I can't read the camera manual and learn to take better photos ;)