Snow Dyeing: Seeing Colors Split

Yesterday I shared with you some snow dyeing where I used two dye colors. Now to show you how one dye splits into lots of colors.

For the following projects I used Dharma #154 Brushed Steel. When I used it in low immersion dyeing, this is the color I got. It’s pretty much what I expected – a beautiful gray.

Brushed Steel scarf Now let’s sprinkle this same dye on snow and look what I get.

Three brushed steel pieces

I’m constantly amazed with this. Look at that purple! Here are a couple of those pieces.

brushed steel dyed fabricbrushed steel dyed fabricAnd a scarf.

brushed steel scarfAnd a closeup of the scarf.

Closeup of scarfYes, that is teal! Amazing. That pattern was made by the wire rack the fabric was sitting on in the dye bath.

This does not happen with pure colors. However, most fiber reactive dyes you buy with neat names will be a composite of colors. When these dyes are mixed with water like in immersion dyeing, all of those dye color particles combine and make the solid color. When they are sprinkled on snow or ice, they magically separate out which result in these surprises.

Here are a couple other examples: This piece is dyed with Dharma Forest Green #31A.

Forest Green snow dyed pieceAnd the last is a shirt dyed with Chamois #144.

Chamois snow dyed shirtThat was fun and pretty magical! When I interviewed Karen Hampton in 2010, I was amazed at the color split on her fabric. When I started dyeing the following year, I wanted to use several colors and really forgot her process. Since then I have dyed with one color a little, and will definitely play more with seeing the colors split.