Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dyeing is Done

And wow was it a bitch. I actually had off President's Day this year for the first time ever. Following the sage advice of my mother, that it was time to shoot the designer and dye the fabric.

So I set out to exacting replicate my earlier results in terms of color.

First I soaked the dress in Synthrapol to remove any dirt or anything that would interfere with the dyeing process.
Then I measured out the salt - salt helps the dye bond onto the fibers. It took all the salt I had in the house, almost precisely!

I carefully mixed up the dye and mixed it altogether. I remembered to add Calsolene oil to break the surface tension of the dye (not doing this had led to problems in the past).And dropped in the dress! I was dyeing the skirt portion of the dress as well as two little sleeves I'd knitted. After much trial and error I'd finally come up with sleeves that worked properly. Earlier efforts which I'd blogged about turned out not quite right - the left sleeve looked a little wonky b/c of the way the pattern decreased. I ended up having to reverse the pattern for the right sleeve, knitting where I would have purled and purling where I would have knit. It was a pain in the butt, but it looked good in the end.

I made kind of a mess.

I waited and stirred.

Justin woke up and politely requested use of our bathroom.

I moved the whole she-bang into the living room so I could babysit it while Justin got ready for work.

After 20 minutes I stirred in the soda ash to set the dye. Then I let it sit for 45 more minutes.

And in then I rinsed it out.
It was a color that was about as wrong as wrong could possibly be. Not a bad color, but certainly not the color I want my wedding dress to be and not a color remotely similar to ANY of the tests I'd done previously. I did a wash in Synthrapol. No help.

I sat down and had a beer. It was 2:45pm. I waited 15 minutes and then called Justin at work and told him what had happened. He told me that he knew I would figure it out. I took some deep breaths and researched dye removal on the internet. I found out that although dyers hate and scorn Rit dye, Rit Color Remover is considered quite good. I put the whole dressin a barrel of Synthrapol with really hot water and went out to Michael's.

I'd planned to go to Michael's to look at beads for a possibly headpiece, but found that I could not focus (funny that). I ended up going to their tie dye section and buying two boxes of color remover and a bottle of yellow dye. After all, the dress was blue and as every school child knows, yellow + blue = green.

I went home, dumped out the dress and proceeded to rinse it out. As I was doing this, one of the sleeves slipped free from the mass of knitting and went down the drain of our bathtub. It is indicative of the mental state I was in that this really didn't even phase me. I tried to grab it, failed and then kept rinsing. Our drain has no stopper and is basically a pipe that takes a sharp 90 degree turn about 2" down, so it was just gone. The water seemed to be draining okay, so I just kept rinsing.

I mixed up one packet of dye remover and dropped in the remaining sleeve. It immediately turned a lighter blue. I said a bad word and then left it to soak.

While that happened I formulated my plan. 1) See how the whole "dye removal" thing turned out. Early results were poor, but who knows? I could try re-dyeing it. 2) Dye the whole thing yellow now and hope that the resulting color was more pleasant.

I resolved that regardless of which plan I took, I would not do anything for at least two days, as the dye colors do change a bit as the fiber dries out completely. I left the dress in the sunlight and decided to hope for the best.

I quietly cast on for the dress again. I told no one about this.

That was President's Day.

1 comment:

  1. Amy, Rick and I both almost cried for you! Well, I did, and Rick did the guy version of that. I haven't read the updates yet, but oh GOD i hope it turned out okay!