Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Solar Dyeing

Here in the Midwest it has been one of the hottest and driest summers on record.  What to do with all that sun and heat?  Solar dyeing!  And what could be more fitting for the "maize and blue" colorway for the big house blanket than to use the sun's energy to dye the yarn?  After all, this June, the University of Michigan Solar Car Team won the American Solar Challenge for a third consecutive and six overall North American title since 1990.  

hmmm - is it me or do these look like body bags?  
Solar dying is really just using sunlight to provide the heat to set the dye in the yarn.  To dye the skeins, I first soaked them in a water and vinegar mixture overnight, wrung out most of the water, and then painted the skeins with dye mixtures using foam brushes.   I carefully wrapped each skein (must avoid contact between the different color sections - or it will become the SPARTAN color way) in a black plastic garbage bags and let them bake in the driveway for about 4 hours.

 They were so hot I couldn't touch them.  I let them cool down in the shade and then rinsed in the sink.  The dye set very well; little rinsed away. 

So this blanket will also pay a little homage to Michigan's School of Engineering.  Yeah!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, thank you for this blog! My friends and I are planning a "Dyeing to Dye" party in a few weeks and we plan on experimenting with different techniques. Plus, I LOVE SOLAR POWER! I have 3 solar ovens (1 commercial and 2 my husband made) and a solar panel to heat my water, (I supplement with electricity when needed, which in West Texas is not that often). I can hardly wait until the 3rd weekend in October to try some Solar Dyeing! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!