Dyeing baskets

Some time ago I mentioned that I had done some dyeing for a class sample for one of the big box craft stores (see link). It turned out that no one wanted to take that class. (I wouldn’t have either.) I was left with extra dye that wanted to be used or discarded. I decided to give it one more chance.

crocheted baskets

I had six spools of T-shirt yarn (tarn), two gray and four white. I decided that they needed to be baskets, and that I would dye them when finished. Remembering the baskets I had recently done (see link), I decided to go with my own “pattern” again. Hopefully the baskets that started out white would be sized correctly to nest together.

The first, white, basket was sized to fit into a 12 inch cubby. While it did fit, it ended up bulging a bit at the bottom. I crocheted the second basket in white as well. Then I switched to the gray. The gray yarn was from two different manufacturers, but they crocheted into a nice basket. The third white basket was made of leftovers from the other two white baskets. It also turned out shorted than I had originally anticipated it being.

On to the dyeing, well, procrastinating the dyeing. It couldn’t be on a weekend when Wood would be using the shop/garage. It couldn’t be on a day when I had a lot of other things to do. Finally I decided that was that, and went for it.

dyeing in the garage

I thought dripping the dye down the sides of the basket might be an interesting look. I didn’t care exactly how it came out, I was doing an experiment. I was going to carefully drip water down the side, followed by the dye. It turned out that the tarn didn’t accept water very well, much less the dye. I switched gears and got out a dropper I had previously used in that color dye. I carefully (and slowly) dropped blue dye along the rim and down the sides of the gray basket. I rubbed the tip of the dropper along the tarn to make the dye absorb better.

Next up was the smallest white basket. I decided to dye it yellow. After that I proceeded with the middle size, then the largest basket. The middle would be aqua, and the largest would be green.

rinsing out the dye

Almost as soon as I was done with the last basket I took the gray (and blue dye) basket, and the yellow dyed basket into the house to start rinsing them. With both kitchen sinks full of dyed baskets, I pulled out two buckets and started rinsing the other two baskets.

As far as I can tell, all of the blue dye rinsed out of the gray basket. I knew that one manufacturer only used “unknown” fibers, but the other did have some cotton in the tarn. Oh well, I should have expected that polyester wouldn’t take that dye very well.

The yellow dyed basket came out pale, but the pattern I had dyed was recognizable. The same could be said for the basket dyed in aqua. When I was originally crocheting these baskets I did notice a small difference in color between the spools of tarn. During the rinsing process the slight difference in color really became noticeable in both baskets. Yikes!

The largest basket was the most difficult one. It was dyed green, and that green dye spread quite a way over the entire basket. The pattern was still visible, fortunately. However, it took what seemed like forever to rinse out the green dye.

After a day of waiting for the baskets to dry I decided to put them into the dryer. Bad decision. The green dye was still leaking – and spread onto the yellow and aqua baskets. Himpf! I hurried and rinsed the yellow and aqua baskets again. Fortunately almost all of the green dye came out. No more dryer for these baskets! I put them outside in the heat to dry.

After drying the tarn color change in the aqua basket wasn’t quite as objectionable. And the baskets do nest well together. How do you think they look in the cubbies?

dyed baskets

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