Dyeing a Quilt Backing – Part 1

I am dyeing a backing for the batik quilt that I just finished sewing. I’ve decided to go with chocolate milk, bark and black in an attempt to copy one of the fabrics used in the quilt.

Initially I am doing a test piece just to see how the colours blend and thought I’d try using a method that the bali dyers use, throwing dry soda ash on the fabric outside and letting it sit in the sun. I’m not quite sure how they do this whether or not they first soak the whole piece in soda ash solution and then just throw on the extra dry soda ash once it’s outside but I thought I’d try the dry soda ash.

First I dyed up a one metre piece of fabric in the chocolate milk colourway. Then we went on vacation for four days so it dried out and today I re-soaked it in some water with a bit of urea in it. Urea helps to keep the fabric moist so the dye can bond to the cotton.

Next I mixed up my black and bark (darker brown than the chocolate milk) got my supplies and headed outside. It’s pretty hot today in the 80’s so the material should batch well. I crinkled up the fabric on a rack and placed it on the grass. This way the dye wouldn’t pool under the fabric and it would just drip down onto the grass and who cares if the grass gets dyed?

Next I sprinkled on the black and fawn dyes and dry soda ash. I had a piece of plastic that I decided to put over the fabric so it wouldn’t dry out too quickly although they don’t do this in bali that I can see. I was working in the shade so I very carefully crept forward moving my piece into the sun.

Perfect except for one thing:

Seeing that I was so careful about not touching the dye on the rack when I was moving it, I forgot that some of the dye dripped down into the grass and I crawled through it, lol. Live and learn.

I’ll have to see if applying dry soda ash gives me any of the patterns I see on the batik material.


2 responses to “Dyeing a Quilt Backing – Part 1

  1. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! At least your legs will be normal in a couple of days. I hope you don’t have anywhere special that you need to go!

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