An attempt to document my creative pursuits and spew inspiration into the universe.

An attempt to document my creative pursuits and spew inspiration into the universe.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sleeve Dyeing

Ever since Lee Meredith made this post about her experimental sleeve dyeing with food dyes, I've been wanting to try it. I finally found an appropriate sweater (anyone else noticing how it's becoming more difficult to find decent, recycle-able sweaters in thrift stores these days?), a smallish turtle neck knit of bulky angora/wool/nylon in a tweedy pale blue/white. I diligently recorded the entire process with photos, but mysteriously, when I went to put together this post, all the photos of this project had disappeared from my photo library without a trace! O, the puzzle of those 1's & 0's. Well, my photos pretty much echoed those of Lee's, so if you click over to her posting, you can see what the process looks like. It was an adventure, for sure.Basically the process involves disassembling a sweater into its parts (sleeves, front, back), soaking in vinegar water, and pouring different colors of food color/koolaid solutions over the sweater pieces. I did this on the floor, which was not too comfortable for the old bones. Next time I'll set up a card table outside so I can stand. I think the paste food colors are the economical way to go, but they are difficult to dissolve. Next time I do this, I'll mix up a stock solution of each primary color using my Magic Bullet mini blender and warm water. That should quickly dissolve them, then I can use these primaries to mix up the colors I want to use. After applying the dye and wrapping the sweater pieces in plastic wrap, they are heated (I used my steam canner) to set the dye; cooled, rinsed, dried, and the pieces unraveled into yarn.The resulting yarn is a lovely, mottled variegation of colors. It will be fun to knit up; I only have to decide what groovy thing to make!


  1. GORGEOUS! thanks for showing me! i'm so glad it worked out well for you!!


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