About Woolly Wits

I am a hand-knitting designer and teacher. See and purchase my published designs on Ravelry.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fun With Indigo Dyeing

On the last warm day of fall, I made some time for play.  And by play, I mean dyeing!  Over the summer I had purchased an indigo dye kit and this was my last opportunity to use it, since this didn't seem like an activity that my husband would appreciate taking place in his man cave.

The kit I bought was a tie dye kit from Jacquard which contained everything I needed.  I only tie dyed a few of my items, so the next time (and there will be a next time), I will just buy the dye.  But, the kit was inexpensive, and I did use the wooden resist pieces and rubber bands, although my postal carrier keeps us well supplied in the latter.

My main purpose in dyeing was to color the yarn.  It is a coopworth wool & suri alpaca mix which I had purchased in its natural shade, a creamy white.  Since it is more flattering to my figure to wear darker colors on top, the sweater's quantity of yarn needed a dunk in a dye pot, and I was excited to keep it natural with the indigo.  The resulting shade was a little lighter than I would have liked, although I did give it a little extra time in the bucket.  But, it will be a new sweater in the near future.

The drape front jersey top is one I never wear, most likely because it violates my rule of dressing given above.  I love the way it turned out in the rich dark color, and with the lighter tones in the shadows of the folds.  No tie dyeing or special treatment, just a dunk in the bucket.  I expect this top will be in heavy rotation next summer.

My orange tea towels were quite old and stained, so I threw them into the pot just to see if they could be salvaged.  I was so surprised to see them turn the rich green color, and expect they will see quite a bit more use.

The dye bucket
The sacrifices to my tie dyeing experiment were the men's t-shirts and the pillowcase.  All had seen better days, and, again, were going to be no great loss if the experiment was a failure.  The first step to all the tie dyeing was to give the items a thorough soak, They were not wrung out or dried in any way before being prepared for the dye bucket.

The wooden plates from the kit were used on the pillowcase.  First it was accordian-pleated into a small bundle, and then a wooden square placed on each broad side.  Rubber bands were used to hold the plates in place.  The result is that only the edges are exposed to the dye, creating a piece of cloth that is still mostly white.  Tie dyeing is truly an art, and one where I still have a lot to learn.  But, playing as you learn is a gift to yourself.

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