Snow Dyeing

Snow Dyeing

So this happened at my house recently. When it snows, what do you do? Snow dye, of course!

Luckily, I had just gotten a bunch of silk scarves that needed dyeing. I put them in a large plastic tub with grates underneath to keep them above the muck that occurs with this process. The scarves were soaked in soda ash solution before I put them in the tub. I tried several methods of scrunching up the scarves so the dye would be unevenly applied, sort of a cheater’s shibori. This process is very serendipitous and if you want the colors to stay separate, use separate tubs.

Then I scooped up a bunch of snow and put that on top of the scarves.

Next I added fiber reactive dye powder (and a bit of acid dye). Sorry for the bad photo. I tried to keep the colors over where the two scarves were. Of course, it migrates where you aren’t expecting it. From left to right:

cerulean blue, turquoise, sapphire

lemon, black

antique gold, pewter

daffodil, purple haze (acid dye)

scarlet, cabernet, oxblood, fire engine (last three acid dye)

I always get excited to see what I have the next day. The snow melted overnight and I had already removed the scarves on the far right before I remembered to take a photo. You can see the dye in the bottom of the tub is very dark and that is why I use the screens. This process does waste dye powder and I think I over did it this time and used too much. But I don’t like a bunch of white in my scarves and I like deep, rich colors. That’s my excuse 😉

Then the rinsing and washing out of scarves happened. Followed by a lot of ironing. These never look very good until they are completely ironed. Then you can see the color changes, some of which are subtle.

There are two of each main color and I am showing these as they were in the tubs from left to right. I’m calling these two iris.

These are called Monet’s Garden.

These are a bit more golden then they show in the photos and I have named them Dawn Mist.

These two are from a combination of purple acid dye and yellow fiber reactive dye. I wasn’t sure if the acid dye would be strong enough but I really like these two, named Northern Lights.

The last two were mainly acid dye with one fiber reactive. I was a bit disappointed with these two but hubby says that he thinks some people will prefer solid colors. We shall see. I named these two garnet. I will be taking these to Bigfork Arts and Cultural Center to sell in their gift shop.

Which colors do you prefer? Have you tried snow or ice dyeing? Always fun to see the results!



33 thoughts on “Snow Dyeing

  1. I’m not aware of an acid dye that doesn’t need heat to set it and yet there’s no mention of heating these. The purple reds are gorgeous.

    1. I didn’t use any heat at all. I soaked the silk in soda ash beforehand and treated the acid dyes like a fiber reactive dye. It worked just the same with good strength of color without heating. If you use acid instead of soda ash, you do need to set with heat. It won’t work with wool but does with silk or cotton.

  2. How lovely! Your samples are great. I’m finding dyeing ridiculously exciting and thank you & others here for introducing me to it. They are all very attractive but I’m going to go for Monet’s Garden because I like the way the yellows and greens mix and complement each other.

    1. Thanks Lindsay! Dyeing is fun and exciting, I’ve always enjoyed it. I like the Monet’s Garden scarves too and the colors do complement each other nicely.

  3. Dyeing is exciting because of the surprise at the end. I like them all Ruth! Too difficult to choose a favourite.

    Good tip on using a rack to keep the fabric off the ‘muck’.

    1. Thanks! It is difficult to choose. Hopefully, that means they will sell well. The rack works great, I have tried with and without the rack and I like using it even though it’s a bit more messy to clean up.

  4. I’ve somehow managed to lose the comments I was typing here! I was saying that all the scarves look great and that if I have to choose then it would be between Northern Lights and Garnet.
    I was also trying to let you know that the links between the enlarged pictures is not quite right. You can page through quite easily until you get to Northern Lights 2 when there is only a “previous” link to click on, no “next” to get you to Garnet 1. You can get from Garnet 2 to Iris 1 though.

    1. Thanks Ann! I didn’t set up any links between the sets of photos so I’m not sure why they are linked at all. Another WordPress anomaly.

  5. And the thought above wasn’t supposed to be anonymous but the form ignored my details.
    Ann from Frabjous Fabrica

  6. We had the tiniest bit of snow here and it never occurred to me to actually do snow dyeing which I’ve wanted to do for ages. Anyway I guess ice dyeing will have to do! Your scarves are lovely and I love the variation!

    1. Thanks Carol! We have loads of snow but ice dyeing works just as well. I think it gives more dramatic markings than the snow dyeing. I guess because it melts differently.

  7. These are all absolutely beautiful Ruth and the process is really interesting. I wish we had snow! I love the 4th photo from the bottom. Definitely my colours 😍

  8. We still have a lot of snow in WY. Glad you posted. It’s the poke I needed to get some dying done! Great job on the color choices.

  9. I love how silk is so versatile and dyes so well with acid and fibre reactive dyes. My favourite is Northern Lights, I like the patterns left by the colour once the snow melted 🙂

    1. Thanks Leonor, silk is really versatile. Northern Lights is my favorite too, the mix of colors came out better than expected.

  10. No snow here (SW England) but ice might be the way. What ice do you use Ruth? Is it just the “cubes” from the freezer?

    1. Any kind of ice will work, cubes from the freezer, crushed ice. We can buy it in bags here in the US which is what I usually do if I’m using ice. It takes a large amount if you are doing more than a small amount of dyeing.

  11. They are all gorgeous ..i love the rich colours but I would leap at owning Northern Lights then Monet’s Garden. I’ve yet to enter the world of dyeing but I reckon it must be so exciting.

    1. Thanks Becks! If you’re interested in dyeing, you should give it a try. It seems complicated but isn’t really and the results are always exciting.

  12. Seeing the results of your snow dyeing is so tempting. So one of these days I will start dyeing, but I can’t start something new (which obviously includes all the accoutrements!) until I’ve cleared some old projects to find space 🤪

    I’m torn between Northern Lights & Monet’s garden because I love the way the colours softly mingle & change.

    Ironing silk is always the icing on the cake – revealing a beautiful sheen that enhances any colour. A colourful tonic in difficult times 😊

    I’m sure you will soon get orders for more.

    1. Thanks Antje, glad to tempt you 😉 Northern Lights and Monet’s Garden are my top favorites too. I love the color migration. The only time I really like ironing is in this case when I can see fantastic color results. Otherwise, ironing is a chore.

  13. I absolutely love the results Ann. Like Lindsay, the Monet colours are so gorgeous. What a clever way to use snow!!! Lisa

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