Not my hair, my sweater.
It's finally getting cool enough here in New England to pull out the sweaters. Yesterday, I pulled out a light blue cabled sweater and had to stop and think why I bought the sweater. I love the cables, but the color - pale blue! What possessed me to buy that color a couple years ago? I'm not really sure. It doesn't really go with much I own, except for black and chocolate brown. I rarely wear blue at all.
The style is great, there's nothing structurally wrong with it, so what can I do with it to make it fit into my wardrobe better? Dye it! It's 100% cotton! It should dye beautifully!
Here the stuff, except for the soda ash, which was in the closet at the time. I usually do dye work in plastic dish tubs - I have four of them. I buy them at the Dollar Store, so they're really cheap. There's also the dye, PRO MX fiber reactive dye that I buy from ProChemical. They're just in Massachusetts, so I can get an order quicker than I can from Dharma Trading Co. (in California), although I buy from them occasionally, too. You can also see the salt, measuring tools and the sweater.
Vat or tub dyeing is a two step process, first you make a solution of salt water. I follow Dharma's instructions and use 1 cup of salt per 1 gallon of water. Sometimes I use 1/2 gallon of water and it then follows, 1/2 c. salt. You then make a solution of dye powder and water. The amount of dye powder depends on how much fabric, yarn, whatever you're going to dye. Dharma has a chart that tells you how much for each color. I usually use a tablespoon or so and mix more depending on how dark I want the item. The dye solution in then poured into the salt water and the item is submerged.
Below you can see the sweater in the dye. It's important to remember that the dye solution will be darker than the final product and that the color always looks darker when wet.
After sitting in the dye solution for about 20 to 30 minutes and being stirred intermittently, then a soda ash solution is added. The soda ash is the fixative for the dye. If the soda ash is not added, the dye will not be permanent and will wash out after a few washings. I usually mix 3T soda ash to 1/2 gallon of warm water. I can't remember when, but a few years ago I worked out this ratio and I haven't had any problems with it. After the soda ash solution is added, the item will need to sit and be stirred for another 30 to 60 minutes depending on the depth of the color. After that, the item is rinsed until the water is clear and then washed with synthrapol (a special detergent) to make sure the dye is out.
I was hoping for some sort of reddish/burgundy color. I started out with light blue and added "fire red", and got in the end a raspberry color.
Well, it's different from the blue, but I'm not sure I'm in love with it yet. I think it's a bit too pink for me. I'll give it some time and maybe I'll dye it again!
Parting Shot: Cat tribe dynamics. This is similar to yesterday's shots, but this shows all 3 cats. We have Pix on the bench, watching the youngest member Kiwi. Notice how she's perched *above* the younger cat and stares down. Kiwi is just being a kitten and playing with anything that moves, including Pix's tail. Then there's grandpa cat, Max, who is facing away and ignoring all of the nonsense going on behind him.