Monday, June 3, 2013

Dyeing to do this!

The weather has been strange. Very windy, but that might be just because I live on a hill, but also very warm, so yesterday I thought it might be worth trying out my acid dyes.

The husband came with propane tank and gas ring so that I could work outside my studio. I had prepared my fabrics the day before and had just left them in soak, so, following instructions I put them into a pan and put them on the gas ring.

I do get very impatient and want things to happen quickly -not a very good combination. So I took one of my dyes and mixed it with a little water, and then added it to the pan. So far so good you may think. Well, maybe not really as the one thing I lacked was a thermometer so had absolutely no clue as to what temperature the water was, plus the wind kept blowing the steam so it is possible that the temperature was cool on the outside of the pot. Well, it was steaming well so in went the citric acid, and then I dropped the bag on the floor. Having retrieved what was left, husband and I stood and peered into the pot waiting for something to happen and then the propane ran out. Oh well, I thought, it is just an experiment. So we left everything and I then decided to do some ice dyeing.

Now I have to say, that I LOVE ice dyeing, but as I also said, I get very impatient wanting instant results. I put my fabrics in the soda ash solution and went back to check on the acid dye. Much to my surprise, the water was clear, and the pieces I dyed looked coloured, so it was with a happy heart that I got them out of the cool water and rinsed them.

This piece was I think, Habotai silk. I seem to have amassed silk from somewhere and have no clue how it got here, but I am pleased with the result of this scrunched up piece

This was a piece of silk Organza, and I can see a stormy see in this. I will be working on this theme today, was hoping for a calm water piece, but it didn't happen!

This is Project Runway. I did this at the very last minute, just accordion pleating and securing with elastic bands. I was tickled with the look of this piece as I thought the dyeing on the right looked like three models in long frocks (dresses for those who don't know!).

All in all I was happy with my rather slapdash attempts but will be going to buy a thermometer to take the water temperature!

By the time I had rinsed these pieces, the fabric was ready for the ice dye. It never fails to amaze me to see the wealth of colour and variations with different dyes in the same dye bath. I dyed silk, scrim and cottons, all of which take the dyes so differently and leave me either thrilled with the results or perplexed as to why it didn't come out as I saw it in my head. I had a couple of those yesterday and I then spend hours wondering what I will do with the fabric.

This is my silk piece. The colours just went pow! I was thrilled with it, and then I started looking closely at the dye patterns, I have included photos of two close ups. It makes me drool and think I don't want to put anything on top to hide the patterns, so maybe I will just quilt certain areas and let the colours shine.

This piece was almost disappointing, but then I started looking closely at it and there are some great patterns suggesting a forest canopy so all is not lost.

I loved the colours in this piece although they were more muted, but I did say I was impatient. I moved my dye bins into the sun to melt the ice quicker. Again I looked into the fabric once it was dry and I was ironing it this morning, and serendipity happens. The close up shows what happens when the dye settles in creases, it gives added texture and I have spent many an hour thinking that the fabric is creased until looking closely to see that this is meant to be there.

I bought some Cotton Sateen in Cincinnati, and used a piece for this, again a lovely finish and I like the feel of the fabric.

I saved the best till last, or rather, what on earth do I do with this? The colours came out in no way imaginable, and I always get a little disheartened by this colour way, it's not not the first time I've had this! So, I think today's exercise will be to re soak it, and over dye and see if I can't salvage it. I love reds but this combination has me scratching my head and I see no redeeming factors in it at all!!

Oh well, time to get back to work, I have so much I want to do today and I am looking forward to starting something new. I have to make a gift for someone, the one I was going to give away  is not going to be as I was advised that it should be entered for quilt shows, so there goes that one!!!!


  1. How simply amazing Cynthia... and you always amaze me. These are absolutely beautiful and while I am still not sure about the propane ring things, the results are fantastic. Love the last one... so you can save that one for ME!