Last week here in Michigan we got A LOT of snow. I’d guess it was almost a foot over a whole week. 8 inches of it was all in one day, and I even got to have a SNOW DAY from work!!! So when I saw that the temperature for the coming week was going to get into the balmy forties, I decided I should use the snow while we had it.
My mom-in-law told me about Snow Dying, she said you layer the (soda-soaked) fabric in a container however you wish, then cover with snow and pour the dye over the snow. So that’s what I did. I waited until about 4:30 Saturday afternoon and soda soaked my fabric while I mixed 5 dye concentrates (I don’t use a recipe or anything, I just mix between 1 tsp to 2 Tbsp dye powder with 1 cup of warm water). I set the dye concentrates outside to cool a bit while I wrung out the fabric and got my containers together.
Outside on the picnic table covered with at least 8 inches of snow, I slapped the buckets deep into the snow to keep them upright in case it got windy. The first bucket, I put about 2 inches of snow in the bottom, layered the somewhat scrunched fabric on top and then more snow. I packed it down a bit too. It was really heavy, wet snow. Good snow-man snow (and boy, you should have seen some of the pretty impressive snowmen around our house!) Then I poured the dye concentrate over the snow. The liquid was still pretty warm, so it did melt the snow a bit.
Bucket 1, one yard of fabric, two dye concentrates, lots of snow
In the other bucket, I scrunched the fabric into the bottom of the bucket and packed some snow on top. I poured the first color of dye concentrate over the snow and let it sit for just a minute (I was outside with no coat and just rubber gloves, and I am impatient). I layered a second piece of fabric, with more snow and more dye and did it all once more so I had three layers of snow and fabric. I basically followed the Parfait Dying instructions from Color by Accident by Ann Johnston, but added layers of snow.
These are two from the ‘parfait’ bucket
I figured for the best results, I would leave the buckets outside overnight and let them thoroughly re-freeze and make sure the dye can really get into the fiber, which I thought may have been slowed a bit by the cold temperature. The next morning I brought the buckets in and put them in the bathtub to warm up enough to scoop the snow out.
Then, rinse, wash and admire.
I didn’t realize when I was mixing my colors that I was pretty much making purple each time. oops!
Next time I think I’ll try layering the soda soaked fabric and snow but leaving that outside overnight (depending on how cold it is, it may only take an hour) so the fabric can freeze. Then pour cold dye over the snow. I think that would give me crisper lines and more mottling.
Also over the weekend, I finished my first toe-up sock! I knit around and around until the leg was about 12 inches from the heel. I was worried that the taller the sock got, the tighter it would be on my leg, so my first thought was to increase stitches. But I couldn’t decide how to stick to my 2 by 2 ribbing and also add increases. So I increased every 8 stitches on one round, but changed to all knits to create a roll top sock. I did a few more increase rounds and maybe had a 1/2 inch worth of stockinette and decided I didn’t like it. I ripped back to before the increases and decided all I would need to do to make the leg circumference bigger AND keep my 2 by 2 ribbing is go up one needle size. So for the last two inches of the leg, I used size 2 dpns.
Toe-up sock #1, toe taken from IK Summer 07, heel and cast-off from Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson
I don’t think I’ve been this fiber-productive in a long time. It feels pretty good and I think it fended off a cold I felt coming on. Solid proof: knitting heals your soul and your body. I’m sure the chocolate helped too.