Heat Transfer – Knit

Following on from my experiments with disperse dyed threads used to stitch; I then applied this same technique to a variety of knitted samples.

Initially I knitted swatches in garter stitch, stocking stitch and moss stitch and applied the disperse dye by spraying it as a fine mist directly onto the swatches.  As the swatches were on a flat surface, the spray hit the raised areas only and to get an even coverage you had to apply the colour from both sides of the swatch.  This technique lead to an interesting look when using two different colours.

Undyed knitted swatch

Knit swatch sprayed with disperse dye (1)

Knit swatch sprayed with disperse dye (2)

Knit swatch sprayed with two colours of disperse dye (1)

Knit swatch sprayed with two colours of disperse dye (2)

From here the dried swatches were put into the heat press and the images transferred onto synthetic fabric.  Each swatch produced a different print depending on the type of knit stitch that was used initially.

Print from knit swatch

The resulting fabric that was left over was interesting as well.  The swatch the print had been made from became a new piece of fabric that had been altered in the heat transfer process.  I’m not sure what I can do with this just yet…  I’m sure I’ll come back to it though.  This swatch and the print both look like they should be raised and entice people to touch them, however both are flat/smooth.  This trick of the eye is something I’d like to play on.

Knit swatch after heat press

The final piece in this experiment was to dye yarn, knit it and then use it in the heat press.  The yarn was dyed in two different ways; the first was to wind the yarn into balls and pour the dye over and the second was to place loosely wound yarn into the dye.  The second method gave a more even coverage although it made the swatch quite thick and the heat from the heat press only reacted to one side of the swatch.

Yarn being dyed

Yarn to be dyed

Yarn being dyed

Dyed yarns drying

My kitchen as a dye lab

As the disperse dye is an irritant and can have long term effects if used regularly, I have had to invest in a box of latex gloves and wear them when knitting with the dyed yarns.

Yarn dyed knitted swatch – three colours

Yarn dyed knitted swatch – one colour

The prints from these swatches are quite different to the previous ones.  The individual stitches are more apparent and look almost like a photo rather than a print.

Print from three colour yarn dyed knit swatch

Print from single colour yarn dyed knit swatch

Again, a use for the left over fabric from the heat transfer process could be developed.

The consistent characteristic of each print and the resulting fabric from the heat transfer process is that the look and feel contradict each other; it looks textured but when you touch it the feel is smooth.


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