Norma's Needleworkz

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dyeing Experiment

After seeing the results of several of my crazy quilting friends who dye their own silk ribbons and lace as well as reading that kool-aid could be used as a dyeing agent, I decided to do a little experimenting on my own. Now, I do not at this time have easy access to the proper dyes, so I purchased three different brands of kool-aid type products. I found a mini-tutorial in CQMagOnline Vol. 4, Iss. 2 that was written by Gwen Frazier entitled Dyeing With Kool-Aid 101. I rummaged through my odds and ends of laces and with those in hand, a small notebook and the tutorial, I began my experiment on July 12, 2006. In my notebook I titled "Before" and "After" columns for each of my three experiments and put a snippet of each of the different laces in the "Before" column. I did not take into consideration the density differences between the silk ribbons and the laces. My first attempt was with Kool-aid Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade. I followed Gwen's directions very carefully but on the 2nd heating all the water had evaporated at 2 1/2 minutes so I shut the microwave off and proceeded to the next step. The first photo will show that 5 of 12 laces did very well. Three of the laces did nothing at all and the two pieces of cotton eyelet showed just a trace of color. Looking at the photo: the top two laces were ecru cotton cluney, the original color of the middle lace was a very soft grey and the last two laces were white. Following each experiment I placed a snippet in the "After" column for easy reference.

On July 13 I decided to try again. This time with fewer pieces. I used Disney Magic Pink Lemonade purchased at Kroger. I used the 3 pieces that did not take the dye in the first experiment, plus the 2 cotton eyelet pieces that showed a touch of color and I added one additional piece of lace plus a section of an antique hankie. I followed the same procedure as before. As I added the lace to the hot water, the two pieces of cotton eyelet lost what tint of color they had absorbed in the first dye. This time, with fewer pieces involved, the second cooking time was extended but still less than the recommended 5 minutes. Because there was still a very small amount of liquid I tilted the bowl so that all the dye would be concentrated in one area and dropped in several buttons just to see if they would dye. The second photo shows the results. The two cotton eyelet pieces are a very pale pink, the same 3 pieces that did not dye the first time refused dye the second time (I did not photograph them at all). I did have one nice shade of pink lace and the hankie also is a very pale pink. One of the buttons did take the dye.

My third attempt was the best one yet as far as the end results went. "They" say the third time is the charm. On July 15 I tried again. This time with Wal-Mart grape. One last time I tried the 3 laces that had previously refused the dye and added a new piece of cotton eyelet, three new laces and a medallion as well as another piece of the antique hankie. Because the two previous attempts had cut short the 2nd cooking time I changed the formula slightly. I used 9 ozs of water instead of 6 and 3 ozs of white vinegar instead of 2, and I increased the 2nd cooking time by 2 minutes. There was about 1 oz. of remaining dye which I just emptied out as I knew I would not use this method again. There were those three pieces that refused to dye. So be it! Everyone needs white lace! The laces, medallion and hankie were white. The once white cotton eyelet now has a look of being overdyed. How that came to be I do not know as this was a different piece from the ones used previously. The next 'two' pieces of lace are really one long piece. The dark piece of lace was originally a cream color and it is just exquisite. I cannot describe the color and the photo does not do it justice but I love the result. There is one drawback to this last dyeing. While cooking in the microwave my hubby who is on oxygen 24/7 had a difficult time breathing. I did not smell an odor but he is very sensitive and the grape mixture was very offensive to him...even with the kitchen exhaust fan running. All in all I am very happy with my dyeing experiment. When the time comes that I attempt to dye silk ribbons and other laces I will use the 'real' thing. I did enjoy doing this "new thing". One of my crazy quilting friends, Katie in PA, issued a small challenge to do something new. Katie, I hope this qualifies. It was a totally new experience and all my pluses and minuses are given.

This medallion was in the third and final 'kool-aid' type experiment. Original color was white, dyed with grape "dye".


At 7/30/2006 05:12:00 PM, Blogger katiejayinpa said...

Such lovely delicate colors feminine and innocent. These will be lovely in your stitching!


At 7/30/2006 09:57:00 PM, Blogger abeautifulcraft said...

Norma, your dyeing is wonderful ..... the colours are delightful ... cannot wait to see what other gorgeous items you produce using this method! hugs Sandie

At 7/31/2006 04:36:00 AM, Blogger Iris said...

Norma, dyeing with Kool-Aid can be a little challenging can't it...but the results are delightful!


At 8/16/2006 09:39:00 PM, Blogger Susan said...

Oh, it was *your* blog where I saw this ribbon dying! I used to dye fabrics with kool-aid and got the prettiest colors. I love the color of that medallion!


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