Saturday, November 29, 2008

Build a Better Mousetrap...

and the world will beat a path to your door.

~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

There has been some talk on the Love to Dye board on Ravelry regarding powdered dyes and their unwillingness to stay in solution (not get all gritty and nasty when the liquid cools down). One of my friends, who just so happens to be a biochemist, gave a long, very involved reason as to why this happens, and if you're so inclined, you can read about it here.

Me, I like the science, but I'm more interested in bulding a better mousetrap. So, I set out to figure how to basically create a supersaturated dye liquid (or liquor). Me, my powder dyes, all my little recycled containers, and a pint of Everclear. Yeah, you read that right, Everclear grain alcohol. My initial idea was to get denatured alcohol, which is grain alcohol with an additive to make it undrinkable. I read the label while at the store, and quickly put it back on the shelf. It's not only undrinkable, it's unbreathable, unsafe, and plain unwise in my house.

I went to the liquor store and bought a pint of Everclear. Even had a nice little chat with the guy behind the counter about the whats and wherefores and what I anticipated doing.

My initial goal was to see if I could 'trick' the dye into staying in solution in the alcohol better than it would in water. That was quickly a bust. Not to mention I spent a lot of time cleaning up alcohol and yellow dye all over my kitchen. (Also, did you know you could make Everclear EXPLODE in your microwave? Me, neither)

So, I decided to try Plan B. If not a supersaturated, how about a super clean dye liquor, with no sediment? That requires time, and patience, and another trip to the liquor store, but it's in progress now, and I've even expanded to include pink dye, just to see what will happen.

But, I'll never make it as a research scientist.

No comments: