Saturday, January 2, 2010

Snow Dyeing in North Carolina

I first heard of snow dyeing on the dyers list a few years ago, but never had the opportunity to try it because snow storms are relatively uncommon here in the piedmont of North Carolina. When a snow storm was forecast about a week before Christmas I planned out a couple of snow dyeing trials. This was mainly to give me a fun activity to look forward to since caring for farm animals in the snow and cold or the very real possibility of a power outage if it turned to ice. Most snow dyeing that I've read about uses cotton cloth, but I opted to use a skein of white handspun shetland yarn and a couple of silk scarves I happend to have on hand. I pre-wetted both scarves and yarn with vinegar water. I placed the scarves on an over-turned plastic serving dish that was put inside a basin; this gives the water in the snow a way to drain away as it melts. I also folded and scrunched the scarves together to allow for uneven penetration of the dye and produce more interesting patterns. The snow I used was actually frozen chunks of snow from the hood of my truck which I placed on top of the scarves and wool. Then I squirted various colors of dye (using 0.1% dilution of Mother MaKenzie's Miracle Dyes.
When the snow was melted I wrapped the yarn and scarves (separately) in plastic wrap (salvaged from the local feedstore) and microwaved them for 10 minutes total (2 five minute sessions). The first two photos below show the setup with snow and dye and the second two photos show the finished results.