Tuesday, February 08, 2011

No, It's Not a Snow Cone

Last weekend, faced with nothing but cold and snow, and fighting the worst case of cabin fever, I decided to try my hand at "snow dyeing." My friend Luann had been doing this with success, and so I decided to try it. From my understanding, you can dye fiber, yarn and even cloth with this method and it's really easy and fun.

Using a 9 X 13" cakepan, I filled it with about 2 inches of snow. Then laid my fiber down in a thick layer. I used plain mill ends. Then I laid about 2-3 more inches of snow on top. Tried not to pack it down hard. Because this snow was light and powdery, it worked really well. Then I took about 10 packages of Kool Aid and lightly sprinkled the top of each pan - I had two panfuls of "snow cakes." 10 on each pan - so I used a total of 20 packages of Kool Aid for each 2 pan batch. I later realized that the yellow Kool Aid wasn't going to be dark enough for what I wanted, so I decided to turn it green by adding some blue food coloring.

I let this sit on the kitchen counter at room temperature for several hours. In fact, if you did this in the evening, you could let it sit out overnight. Just be sure there is a tablecloth, dropcloth or something underneath in case the pan spills over. (By the way, you can use other types of dye besides Kool Aid, I just happened to have those on hand and they were cheap, plus I wanted something non-toxic since I was planning on using the oven to bake in the dye).
After the snow has totally melted, I placed it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. I took it out of the oven, let the pans and the fiber cool to room temperature, then just rinsed them out and set the fiber to dry on a screen in my basement.

I like how the colors came out. I noticed that because I let them sit in the dye water as the snow melted, the roving was darker and more saturated on the underside then the top. That variation was fine with me and I liked it. Some people might prefer to use a pan with holes, like a colander, so that the dye water could drip down as it melted and escape the fiber pan. Like I said, this seemed like too much bother to me, and I liked the effect created by the method I used.

This was so fun! I like the spring like colors achieved with Kool Aid. But I'd also like to try this method sometime with acid dyes. It is a really cool method that allows the dye to seep slowly into the fiber.
Making snow dyed cakes gives me something to do with snow other than make snow ice cream. Goodness knows we've had enough snow for now . . . and maybe getting some more later tonight? Eeks. Better wash my cake pan and be prepared for the next round of snow cakes. If you try it, let me know how yours turn out.


Dorothy said...

Beautiful results. Does this fall under the category of "When life gives you lemon, make lemonade"? Can't believe how much snow the rest of the country is getting!

Rebecca said...

what a great idea - that way i guess the dye tends to stay on its "side" instead of disturbing in swirls when you pour it in with traditional methods
too bad we have now snow ;P

ChelleC said...

Dorothy, yeah, I guess that's what I'm doing, making the best of a bad weather situation - but I'm so thrilled we're supposed to have a mini reprieve/warm up this weekend -yay!

Rebecca - no snow in France, huh? Well, I normally like snow, but this is getting tiring already. Maybe I could send you some?

debra lea said...

He, Chelle - One of my favorite students and I are trying your dying technique! Thanks so much for sharing it. Can you send me a pic of the yarn when it's spun? We can't wait to se it!! Debra

Guzzisue said...

looking good, will have to try this but first need some snow :-)

Liana said...

How cool is that!!! and what a great way to use all that snow we've been getting. The dyeing bug hasn't bit me yet but I will definitely keep this method in mind.

tina said...

That is the coolest thing! I've never seen this before (I am trying to ignore the call of the spinning). I really hope we have no more snow to try this technique. Of course this means I'll have to REMEMBER---- and that can be dicey at best! Where do you live in MO?

Denise said...

What great looking snow dyeing you have done Chelle! That is a hoot and how clever to use the snow to do it. I wonder if there will be snow on Monday to try this method? cheers, denise

expert contabil said...

Great colors, i like it very much. You have a great ideea with a lot of fun.