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The Dye Project .. again!

my updates on the yarn I (finally) dyed.

1) Soaked the alpaca for 2.5-3hrs in vinegar to mordant
2) after letting it semi-dry, put it into cochineal dyebath:

3) after around 3 hrs, i moved into a steel vessel and put it top heat on gas (no micro here)

4) I let it cool in the vessel itself. and once cooled, washed it with running water and hung to dry:

5) So when it dried it looked like this:

6) and finally got it ready to store, to be used for some future project

What I learnt:

* It’s great fun!!!
* It is work.. do not take shortcuts, the results will also be a shortcut.
* if you use expired/really old dye, dont expect the original color to show up. be prepared for surprises
* Learn to live with the surprise ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I’m NOT a pink person)

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The Dye-ing Experiment

After my last post on thread on dyeing the cotton yarn, I had a couple of people ask me to note down the entire process. So i took that as an excuse to finally dye the last hank of yarn I had. This also meant that it would have to be green because that’s the only dye I have left… any more would mean a trip to Commercial Street, and I really don’t have time for shopping now.

So here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 ltr vessel that you wont ever use for food again
  • a pair of tongs or a spoon for turning the yarn
  • 10gms of acidic powder dye
  • 1 hank of cotton yarn
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vinegar

Step 1:

  • Ensure the cotton yarn is tied neatly into a hank. This is necessary to ensure that you can manage the yarn while dyeing.
  • Though you are tying it in 2-3 places, ensure it is not too tight. The dye will not reach the inside yarn otherwise

Step 2:

  • Heat about 3 lts of water to lukewarm and add the vinegar. Add the undyed yarn to the water and set aside until cool.
  • Keep turning the yarn intermittently to ensure that the entire yarn is washed well in the vinegar. Drain and set the yarn aside
  • The purpose is to wash off all impurities in the yarn and also traces of other dyes. This especially helps when you’ve tried with food coloring, and it didn’t work. I did this, so I know!
When I put the yarn into the vinegar-water
2 mintues later (check the color of the water in the background)

Step 3:

  • Drain the vinegar water, and replace with clean water.
  • Bring the water to boil, and then add salt and dye and mix well to ensure no lumps remain. Here I added a 1/2 tsp of turmeric just to see if it affected the final green. The last time I’d used the same dye, I got a forest green, So I wanted something different.
  • Let the water boil for a few minutes more and then add the cotton yarn.
  • Turn off the flame immediately. This I learnt with trial-and-error. The dye shop guy told me to boil the yarn with the dye. When I did this, the yarn kinda crinkled up. Not sure why, but when I don’t boil it, the yarn remained smooth. Boiling didn’t affect the softness of the yarn, but just gave an odd look to the yarn.
  • Keep turning the yarn in the dye every 2 minutes to ensure it reaches all parts of the yarn
  • Once the dye has cooled off, and while turning, you feel that the yarn has caught the color properly throughout the yarn, take it out
When I put the yarn in the dye
When the color is catching on the dye

Step 4:

  • Drain the dye and wash the yarn thoroughly until it stops bleeding color.
  • Add a bit of detergent to water, and wash again till it stops bleeding color.
  • You may also soak the yarn in fabric softener to help it maintain softness (I do this)

Step 5:

  • Dry it out ๐Ÿ™‚
My Dye Results

Here is a pic of all my experiments side-by-side. Note the difference in the green yarns. Apparently turmeric does change the color, But I need to wait and watch if this effect is permanent. Turmeric isn’t really known for permanent cotton dyeing properties. In fact I always manage to get it off my cotton clothes when I have a cooking accident…

Also note the slightly less crinkly nature of the center yarn. Thats the lastest one that I’ve written about.

Most of what I did was a mix of what I learnt through various websites on dyeing, and a bit of experimentation on my part. Had some hit, and some misses… but that’s what learning is all about!

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Personalized Coffee Mugs

I bought these mugs sometime back from a nearby department store. What I’d most about them was that the color was limited to the inside of the mug, and the outside was black, not white. Major plus point for them! I was kinda fed up of the plain white mugs.

I took a couple of photos of them, and then though I’d personalize them… kind of before-after snaps. But I hadn’t got around to actually painting on them. Firstly I’m not the most artistic person on the block. Secondly, the black required metallic colors, which I didn’t have in stock at home. So the project, and mugs, went onto the back-burner.

Recently, on a shopping trip, I finally got myself some metallic colors. Now the design was pending. This time, I wasn’t spending time on trying to paint. Also metallic colors come in bottles, not tubes. So i decided to go with ear-buds. Easy to use, and great to dispose without the mess of cleaning and storing! ๐Ÿ˜€

The items needed

For the first mug,I stenciled part of a design from a kiddie’s stencil sheet. Using a ear bud, I filled in the color. The remaining decorations were done in dots and curls, so it wasn’t much of a hassle. YAY!

The second mug got its design from a terracotta pickles jar in my house. The wide curve with dots was simple, and eye-catching. The remaining design was again dots.

The “Before” Pic
The Finished Pieces

The net result has been worth the effort, with minimum time spent on the actual painting.

The mugs need to be dried out in the sun for a couple of days to let the color settle down. Else its likely to get washed off the first time you use the mug.