Monday, October 20, 2008

Many Colors of Rope

Pretty pretty colors. :)

Some of these you've seen pictures of before, but here they are all together.
The colors unfortunately don't come through as well as I'd like, but I'm working with a camera phone. Them's the breaks until I get a decent camera.

The one at the top was the length I dyed last night: 30 feet of 6mm hemp. I used Scarlet 5 Rit brand dye, the liquid form. I followed the instructions to a point, though I didn't stir constantly (it's rope, not fabric), and I did let it simmer longer than recommended because I was *ahem* testing a new acquisition for review and got distracted. I found it easy to use (just dump in the water, heat, and go), but it seemed to take longer to rinse to the point of clear water than other methods. That may be because of the longer simmer time, but we'll see. The color was very true to the label and very even. I also dyed two white cotton shop towels to match. I figure I'll throw 'em in my toybag for various and sundry needs. ;)

The second one is also 30 feet of 6mm hemp. The dye used for this experiment was Purple 15 Rit brand dye, powder form. The instructions said to add a little detergent to the dyebath and a cup of salt, which the liquid form did not. I followed the directions on this batch almost exactly, and the color came out beautifully rich and even. It was somewhat darker than the package, but that's what I was going for. It rinsed clear faster than the liquid type. I dyed two matching shop towels for this color as well. Gorgeously rich purple.

The third is another 30 feet of 6mm hemp. I used Kool-Aid for this one, three packs of Tropical Punch and one of Grape. The process is described in a little more detail a bit farther down in this entry, when I talk about my first experiments with it. The color isn't as rich as I'd like, and didn't seem to penetrate perfectly. I did only leave it on the stove for about half an hour, so perhaps longer time is needed.

The fourth is yet another 30 feet of 6mm hemp. This is the rope in its natural state, and I put it in the picture so you can see the base color for the previous three experiments. :)

The fifth and sixth in the picture are each 30 foot lenghts of an 8mm nylon-poly blend. To dye them, something I've mentioned before: Kool-Aid. The top one was Grape and the bottom Black Cherry. I also have a 30 foot length of Tropical Punch, not shown. ;) I saw several websites dealing with the idea, and all were different. The one I stuck with had some good visuals. Now, the page said to use one package per ounce; that's overkill, people! Experiment with it, but you don't need nearly that much. Now, you'll notice that it's not a uniform color. That was unexpected, but not a bad thing at all. Basically, one type of fiber took the dye and the other didn't. The resulting effect is very pretty, almost candy-like. If I could figure out which fiber took the dye, and then find another type of dye for the other fiber? That'd be fun. ;) Any suggestions are welcome.

The seventh is 50 feet of 10mm nylon-poly blend. I used Red Rit brand dye (I don't recall the number), powder version. I was actually disappointed in this dyejob. I followed the Two Knotty Boys' instructions to the letter, down to the exact brand and length of rope. I'm thinking either I completely missed something in the video I found, or there's something odd about my water chemistry. Either way, instead of rich, even color I got an odd variegated pattern. Now, after the fact, I kinda like it. It looks vaguely like serpentine scales (only vaguely, but the impression is there).

The eighth experiment was the first I did, actually. It's about five feet of approximately 6mm nylon-poly, dyed with super-strong tea (English Breakfast, to be precise, but any black tea will do). Brew it hella strong, strain out the leaves, then let the material simmer in the pot for a while. The color on the white rope makes it look somewhat like hemp at a glance; on fabrics like linen it makes it look antique.


To sum up: All of these experiments worked to a degree. For the truest, deepest colors, Rit seems to be the way to go. The Kool-Aid dyed ropes would be suitable to use in the mouth (bit gags and such; thank you again, Two Knotty Boys). The Rit-dyed rope I would be uncomfortable using like that unless it's been washed several times and I was sure of the colorfastness.

All of these methods were similar in ease of use and ease of cleanup, the very simplest was the liquid Rit, which called for no additives. Colorfastness has yet to be truly determined, because that's going to take time, use, and washings. The Black Cherry rope has been used and washed once and kept its color perfectly. As for color transfer to the skin, I think it passed the test (FM? Chime in. Did ya end up with any Kool-Aid marks in unfortunate spots? ;)).

A caveat to anyone that I practice on: I apologize if you end up with dyemarks. ;) I'll keep soap on hand for cleanup.

As always, if anyone has any suggestions or comments, I love hearing them!

1 comment:

David said...

Poly/Nylon blends don't dye very well. Nylon will absorb the dye, but the polyester doesn't. Try 100% pure white nylon. It dyes evenly and has even richer colour than the hemp.