Friday, June 18, 2010

Gradient Dyeing a finished lace shawl

Today, I did a little experimental gradient dyeing with the WINGS shawl.

I used an asparagus steamer, which is a slimmish cylinder and nice and high, and also has a steaming basket which is handy for taking the item out of the dyebath to add more water. I used about half a teaspoon of dye and two cups of water to start with.

I wet the shawl and wrung out the excess moisture, and used a hair elastic to tie off the first section (the collar) that I wanted the darkest.

Then, I wrapped the rest of the shawl in cling wrap and twisted it around the handle of the steamer basket to keep it out of the dyebath.

I put the pot with the shawl on the stove, and simmered it for about five minutes.

Then I took it out, marked off another section with the elastic (by this stage I got rid of the cling wrap because it wasn't really achieving anything).

I added two cups of water to the dyebath, and immersed the shawl up to the new marker.

I did this twice more, taking it out, moving the elastic up the shawl a little, and then adding two cups of water. I also ditched the steamer basket and just draped it over the side of the pot once the length wasn't in danger of catching alight from the gas burner flame.

For the final section, I added another two cups of water and submerged the whole thing. At this stage I added a big splash of vinegar to fully exhaust the dye.

Then, I put it over the verandah railing and waited for a good looking person to
walk in my front door for a photoshoot!

Luckily, I didn't have to wait long, for my sister popped in at just the right time. Unfortunately, the shots I took didn't seem to show the graduation very well, so I took some more pictures in the bathroom.

All in all I was quite pleased with how it came out, except I accidentally had some of the folded shawl in the first dyebath so there's a bit of dark where it shouldn't be - but I learned from that and would be more careful next time.


Rose Red said...

Well I think that is very clever! And you are very brave for dyeing your knitting. It looks great!

soknitpicky said...

Gorgeous! How clever to use an asparagus steamer!

drkknits said...

oooh i do think that experiment worked! very brave of you indeed, and that colour is magic!

kgirl said...

you've achieved a really lovely subtle graduation there - beautiful!

travellersyarn said...

I thought I had a lot of specialist kitchen equipment, but obviously have a lot to learn. The shawl looks amazing - thanks for the tutorial.

Ruby Girl said...

You are so clever, it looks very nice.

M-H said...

Jeen-yus! That is so clever. I am in awe of your mad skillz.

Sheridan said...

An asparagus steamer? Ha!, who knew there was such a thing.

I want one!

1funkyknitwit said...

Looks great Ailsa ~ fab colour :D

Ann said...

I love the colors. You are so clever!