With the most beautiful time of year almost upon us, I have been dying to dye some yarn in a colorway that captures my favorite time of year. One of the challenges I am finding with using food-safe dyes is that I have a hard time getting really saturated colors. I want to dye some fall and winter skeins, but didn't know if I could get the deep, vibrant colors I have in my head. And a good, true black is very hard to come by. So I decided to use some of my research background to run a little experiment. It actually turned out to give me lots of information without needing to blow up the kitchen or commit acts of violence on small lab rodents.
My little project took place over the past 2 weekends. It took longer than I anticipated after my kitchen microwave died and I had to make countless trips up and down the stairs to use the one in the basement. But it all came together and I am ready to share my results. And I am all about the multi-tasking, so with that many stairs climbed, I could skip working out and use the time to work out with yarn instead!
To begin, I got 3 base yarns and cut 5' samples from each. They were Cascade 220 (white), and Paton's Classic Wool (natural and grey). I wanted to see what differences the colors made on overdyeing, to see if I would be able to get the results I wanted on white yarn, or if I needed to start with a deeper base.
Here is the naked yarn:
All of my samples were pre-soaked in lukewarm water with 1/4 tsp salt and 2 drops Dawn added. The excess water was squeezed from them before entering the dyebath. All of the dye was mixed using high concentrations of dye:yarn - 1 tsp diluted in 1 cup boiling water. The water was allowed to cool off before adding the yarn. I let the yarn sit in the unheated dyebath for about 30 minutes before nuking in on high for 2 mins, cool for 3 minutes. I added about 1/2 tsp vinegar before the second and third heatings, then let the yarn sit in the heated dyebath until close to room temperature, probably about 20-30 minutes. I then rinsed it well, until the water ran mostly clear.
Here are the results, grouped by color:
Pink, Rose Petal, Rose
These were a bit of a surprise - the pink, which I thought would be lighter than the other two actually ended up more of a wine color. In general, the Rose Petal was a bit more coral and the Rose more of a lipstick pink, other than that, they were pretty similar.
Next are the reds - Creamy Peach, No-Taste Red, and Burgundy. (I am missing the other reds in the Wilton collection. When I get them, I will add them to the samples.) The burgundy is so dark it looks brownish-black almost.
The dyes in the orange family actually "took" the quickest, almost exhausting the dye. The orange is very vibrant, whereas the Terra Cotta and Copper look almost identical. Also, there is almost no variation among the 3 base colors with Terra Cotta - they are virtually identical. Copper is one of the colors notorious for breaking, but this batch didn't show any sign of breakage.
The yellows are probably my favorites of all the colors I tested because they look different than I expected and because they are incredible autumn colors in their super-saturated state.
These colors didn't give me any problems. But the next batch, the blues and greens were a different story. I'll show my findings in Part 2.