Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Crocheted Cherry Blossoms

As I head into a Southern Hemisphere winter, it's wonderful to bring a little Spring into my step! I've had this idea for hand-painting dye onto completed crocheted flowers for a while now and tonight, I finally got around to experimenting.

My inspiration:

First, I spent an evening working out a crocheted version of a cherry blossom based on other designs in a book of crocheted flowers. I just kind of made it up as I went. I used Knit Picks 'Bare' yarn, Merino and silk, in fingering weight. The finished blossoms looked pretty good to me. I threw them in some water to soak.
 Remember that breakfast cereal called Honeycomb? This is what this reminds me of.
Then I assembled my materials. I didn't want to make a big production out of it...I just wanted to do a small test. Most important is to cover your work surface with plastic. It is amazing the ability of one little speck of this powdered dye to stain something.

I remember I had a stash of Jacquard dyes from yarn dyeing a few years back. I found it in the black hole that is our garage - that in itself is amazing. I chose to try the color Vermillion. It's actually a pinky-red.

I found a couple of empty honey jars that I had collected, and used a plastic spoon. They say to never use any kitchen utensils that you use for food. Next, I made a makeshift face filter (paper towel, duct tape, yarn contraption on right). When the mood for creativity strikes, it is nearly impossible to wait for the next day so I can run to the hardware store to buy a proper mask. This was better than nothing, right?

They also say to always use a mask when handling the dry dye powders...not good to breathe them. I would assume eye protection would be smart too.

Mixed the dye - recipe I used:

1/2 teaspoon dye powder
3/8 c very hot water
1 tablespoon white vinegar

I towel-blotted the flower, but still left it mostly wet. Then dabbed on the dye starting in the center and slightly up on the five 'spokes' in the flower center. The honey jar lid came in handy for transferring small amounts of dye.

 Then I went around each edge. Because the flower is still wet, the dye kind of flowed into the petal, which is what I wanted.
Finished test flowers. So sweet!
Last step: heat setting. This is done a variety of ways, but as long as you can apply a good amount of heat, it will set the dye. I chose to wrap them in plastic wrap and nuke them in the microwave. I did 4 rounds of 45 seconds, with about a minute in between. This dried them and softened the color; an effect I really like.
I'm pretty happy with this test. I think I'll make a whole bunch of them. Then they'll be at the ready when inspiration strikes. Would look so gorgeous on a baby sweater or hat.

Have fun!

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