Tag Archives: fabric dyeing

Projects galore…

I’ve done a lot of work since Christmas but I haven’t blogged it. I’d thought I’d only done a few things but went back to check the photos and surprised even myself so here goes…

First up is a headband that I knit using Kate Davies pattern WWWW #1. This is a free pattern that can be found on Ravelry so if you aren’t a member I can highly recommend joining as it’s one of the best databases out there with tons of patterns, yarns, forums, etc.

The thing that is special about this headband is that it’s the second finished project that I’ve knit using yarn that I’ve handspun myself. The headband is a bit tall in these photos but that’s my own fault because I thought I was off gauge so tossed in extra rows, I should have left the pattern alone. This is the first time I’ve knit a lining into anything and picked up a provisional cast-on. The white lining was alpaca for softness.

WWWW #1 with lining showing

The next project I worked on was a cowl I started while on vacation in Florida. We went down at the beginning of January and I took the headband pictured above to work on along with a spindle. I also took a lot of books but ended up knitting and watching reno shows inbetween walking the beaches. Well I finished off the headband and then had to go out and find something else to knit so I picked up a ball of Berroco lace and started in on this cowl. It’s a nice drapey cowl and while it took a lot of effort to finish it I really like how it drapes and folds in on itself. The cowl will go to Dan’s girlfriend so I hope she likes it. The cowl is called Willow Cowl by Amelia Lyon and is another free Ravelry pattern.
Willow cowl head shot

willow cowl

I belong to the Bliss Spinning Wheel forum on Ravelry and the girls decided that this year will be one for the beginning spinners (there are a lot of us) so each month of 2014 will feature a different type of fibre or method of spinning. For the month of January the featured fibre was BFL – Blue-faced Leicester. I have some superwash BFL so decided to try my hand at dyeing again only this time using the Jaquard acid dyes I bought for Christmas. Unfortunately I’m not sure where the photos of the dyepot are, maybe I forgot to take them, oh well the pot was half blue and half yellow but mostly green by the time it was done.
sky blue sun yellow superwash bfl
Fingering weight yarn in BFL superwash.


sky blue and yellow sun braid bfl superwash

Well before we left for Florida my chiropractor of eight years informed me that he and his girlfriend were expecting a baby in February so while I’m congratulating him I’m thinking that doesn’t leave me much time to get a baby gift ready. I see my chiropractor each week so he’s like family to me so I had to make something. Well we got back home and a week later I’m getting ready for my appointment when the office phoned to cancel as he was in the delivery room – three weeks early awk! Anyhow after thinking about it and going to my stash I settled on a very simple quilt with lots of colour and this is what I came up with – hand-dyed backing of course.
Finished bright colours baby quilt

Front and back view bright colours baby quilt
Backing dyed with Procion MX dyes in Lemon Yellow and Turquoise.

Finally, another handspun project for February’s challenge for the spinning group. This time the lesson was to try and create a big and lofty type of yarn, which usually means spinning woollen. I carded up some of the Shetland fleece that I had washed a couple of months ago into four big batts and then spun it up woollen. I didn’t fuss about what happened so the resulting yarn is quite rough but I wanted that look. I’m hoping to knit it into a hat for my husband John, something simple and guy-like that he’ll want to wear. I’ve decided to keep it natural for now and I can always dye it later if need be.
carded shetland fleece

Shetland bulky 104 yards

shetland bulky

Well that’s all for now. I have another baby quilt to finish by February 22 and I haven’t started but I have an idea for it so that’s half the battle. I also have the hat to knit and then I should be free of projects for the next little while. I bought a new pressure canner while down south on vacation, saved myself about $200 so I was pleased and I’ve been reading up on pressure canning soups and meats so we’ll see how that turns out.


More Spider Web Shibori…

I have a swap that I’m involved in and for this swap we could choose any method of dyeing that we wanted so I decided to take a one yard piece of ecru cotton that I had and tie it up to make some spider web (Kumo) shibori.

One yard piece of ecru cotton in process of being tied. The red dots were a washable crayola marker I used for placement but it turned out they didn’t help.

Another look.

Starting to wind the thread at the base of gathered material.

Winding thread to the tip.

Winding thread back down to bottom of cone.

One yard piece all tied up and ready for dyeing, my husband said it looked like a sea urchin. There was much angst and bloody fingers but the worse was that I continually dropped the spool of uphostery thread. Next time I’ll pre-wind the thread onto the little dowel that comes with the tool kit.

Shibori being submerged in russet brown dye bath overnight.

Washed out and ready for the threads to be removed.

Washed and ironed, at this point he said it looked like jelly fish.

Closer view.

Final close up of single web.

I’ve already blogged this process before and talked about the Shibori Tool used to make kumo shibori if anyone is interested.


Third Time’s the Charm.

Well I finished my third trial piece today and I’m going to go with it. Makes me wonder why I didn’t choose these colours in the first place since they are all in the quilt. I used ivory as the background and then went back to the Bark and Black as overdyes in a fairly heavy grid pattern squirted on scrunched ivory material.

Trial piece of Ivory, Bark and Black.

It’s hard to tell from the photos but this piece matched the quilt better plus since I’d been fairly heavy with the black and brown I had less contrast with the lighter ivory. When I did the chocolate milk piece I felt like it wasn’t dark enough so I’m happier with this piece.

Another difference between the two pieces is that instead of doing this piece outside in the sun I did it inside and left it on a rack in the laundry sink. I put some water in the sink (not touching the dyed fabric) and covered the top of the fabric with Saran Wrap. It seemed to work because I left the piece overnight and it didn’t dry out. So with the longer batch time and moister fabric I got darker blacks and browns. When I batched outside even with the top covered the piece dryed out.

Quilt next to trial piece.

I’ve got the backing piece out batching in a bucket in the sun using ivory dye. Hopefully I can get this done today so I can start quilting tomorrow or the next day.

Bucket with ivory dye and backing material.

And because they were there…

Orange begonias.

Pink begonias.

Assorted coleus.

Orange Gerber daisy.

It’ll be nice to get this piece finished. Of course I’ll be heart-broken to give it away, I always am when it comes to something like a project like this.


Quilt Backing Part 2…

I have a couple of pictures to post. The first is the piece of fabric that I test-dyed yesterday using the Bark, Chocolate Milk and Black. This was the piece with the soda ash sprinkled on it.

Chocolate milk, Bark and Black with dry soda ash sprinkles.

The soda ash did concentrate the colour on the fabric so you do get a bit of a pattern, very fine. I have to admit that I didn’t like this piece because of the Chocolate Milk. I had my misgivings about it but figured that the chocolate milk colour would be mostly covered up by the other two but I was wrong. It also doesn’t really match the quilt.

For some reason my camera didn’t like taking photos of the backing so it looks washed out and the Chocolate Milk colour doesn’t really show on this screen. I didn’t like the mottled look of it so decided to try another piece just with black and a darker brown hoping to get a more solid colour. This time I just did it in a vase – parfait style.

Black and Tobacco.

The black looks more like a blue next to the white areas on the fabric. I’m wondering if I’d be better off using a black that’s more reddish based. I get a feeling I could be doing up a lot of samples before I’m satisfied but I think I’ll just go ahead and do the Black and Tobacco but use a Better Black and hope for the best. These one yard test pieces cost me about $5 a pop.

Quilt next to tobacco and Black. Again the parfait piece looks washed out, it’s not quite that bad.


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.


Make A Colour

I have a swap this month that is a “make colour” swap. In others words we take three dyes and mix them together to get a new colour and then send off the original dyes plus a fat eighth of the new created colour.

I decided that I wanted to make a green and I wanted it to be a chartreuse type of green. When I try to make my own colours I turn to a really neat application on the web that is know as the Dye Mixer Applet. I play around with the ratios until I get a colour I like and then I try to match them.

I wanted to use basic pure dyes to create my colour so I used golden yellow, cobalt blue and black. The colour I wanted to create only took the blue and yellow but since we were supposed to use a third colour I threw in the black to shade the colour. The result is sort of what I was looking for but darker as you’d expect from the black.

Make colour using Prochem’s Golden Yellow and Dharma’s Cobalt and Better Black.


Amish Diamond blocks

The latest project that I’ve been working is the Fall Block Swap with my fabric dyeing forum group. This block – Amish Diamond – is based on a pattern from quilterscache.com. It’s a fairly basic block which is what our group wanted since we would be sewing quite a few of them. The block is based on three colours, one of which is the standard Amish black.

The idea is to pick two different colour combos and then swap out a block of each combination to every person participating in the swap. This current crop of members seems to be a bit on the tentative side so we only had six people sign up for the block so I had to come up with 12 blocks. Given I’ve been trying to find time to do them in the past four days, I’m kind of glad only six signed up.

Anyhow here are the two colours combos that I chose.

Amish diamond - Navy blue, Pagoda Red

Amish diamond - Navy blue, Pagoda Red

Amish Diamond - Olive, Butterscotch

Amish Diamond - Olive, Butterscotch

The navy blue was Dharma and the other colours from ProChem, the black was Kona black. Kona black was chosen as the standard so that when all the different blocks come together the blacks should match fairly closely given dye lots.

I was going to choose purple but when I went through my fabric samples somehow these colours looked good together. Maybe because it’s fall I was influenced by my colour choice. It should be interesting to get all the other blocks back and see how the quilt turns out. These blocks are a good way to use up smaller pieces of fabric so I’ll be going back to the stash to see what I need to finish the quilt.


Back to school and the Redsuit

Well it’s back to uni for the boys, which is exciting for them and for me. The one son got accepted into the redsuits – an engineering group or fraturnity I guess you’d call it. The various faculties around campus have them and engineering’s colours are bright red. The symbol is the fireball lol, and the drink some type of fireball whisky etc, you get the picture. Part of Dan’s duties this saturday is to help welcome the new frosh to campus and help them move into residence so he left last night.

Part of the redsuit is to decorate it as the various members see fit so since his nickname given by the fraturnity or group (still not sure what it is) had something to do with pockets (not sure I’m supposed to put it out there what the whole name is) I thought it might be neat to come up with some extra pockets for the suit.

As it turned out I ran out of time since I didn’t realise I was going to end up doing this until a couple days before and I was bound and bent I was going to finish off the last of the beaded scarves and I underestimated the time needed to work on the suit. I did start the day before but that was tie-dyeing and fabric dyeing the materials for the suit. I didn’t end up taking pictures of all the stuff I did but here are pictures of the two fabrics I did end up using.

Redsuit with tie-dyed swirl.

There were so many pockets already on the suit I figured it would look too busy to put on additional pockets except for the arms and legs. I decided to start off with the red and white swirl because I noticed that it reflected the red and white swirl in the design on the back. There really wasn’t anywhere to put it except over the back pocket so that’s what I did.

By this time the last of my pieces had dried and where waiting to be ironed and as I’m coming up the stairs my son informs me that the one piece of fabric is “sick”. It took a second or two for this to register that that was a good thing.

Fire fabric

Fire fabric

I created this piece of fabric by sewing it into a tube and placing it over a piece of plastic pvc pipe. The original white fabric was first dyed lemon yellow and then after scrunching the material tightly onto the tube the main area was overdyed red and the loose edges black.

Instead of making pockets I ended up sewing a piece down each leg. I’d run out of time at that point and this seemed the easiest solution – keeping in mind that I had to open up the seam on each leg and resew the seams after applying the fabric.

Dan's redsuit front view

Dan's redsuit front view

Redsuit back view

Redsuit back view

Of course while I’m doing all of this and slowly realising that I’m not going to get as much done on the suit as I’d thought, I’m also informed that the students usually put their faculty letters on the legs. So I’m thinking “Oh yeah, black letters saying Mech Eng would be great – not a prayer”. I guess people who don’t sew don’t realise the time it takes. Anyhow I sent him off with a piece of black Kona that I’d fused to “Misty Fuse” and told him he could iron the letters on himself. I was also told that the suit looked a little barren but he’s going to have to come up with some stuff himself besides which there was only so much tie-dye you could put on the suit before over-whelming it. I did get a very nice “thanks mom” and hug so I guess “at the end of the day that’s all that counts”.

Karen (who is now done with crafty stuff on a deadline and can cook, clean and craft to her hearts content…or not)

Oven Towels Done

Well I finally finished all of the towels for the shower in August. I ended up crocheting 28 towels and giving away two for the oven towels tutorial so I have 26 left for little thank you gifts for the wedding shower guests.

Oven towels for wedding shower.

I took a photo of the poppies so that people could see the after picture. My flowers have turned out nice this year but there is always the problem of trying to stake them so they don’t fall over. I haven’t figured out how to do that with the poppies, oh well.

Poppies, one of three beds.

I received the swirl swap in the mail that we did last month. I did this same swap last year as well so I now have enough squares to make a quilt but I’ll hold off on that until after I finish beading the scarves for the bridesmaids but I thought I’d post a picture so people could see the different colours.

Swirl swap 2008

And finally I’m posting a picture of the material I received from “Thousands of Bolts”. I had placed a small order a few weeks ago and was pleased with the quality of the fabric so decided to order more. Well because I live in Canada and the online store is based in the states shipping costs are always a factor so it was cheaper per metre to order 30 yards instead of six at a time so yes I ordered 30 yards. Needless to say I was so pleased I ordered another 30 and I’m waiting for them to show up in the next couple of days, then I can probably safely say I’ll call it quits for quite a while until I use up some of the fabric.

30 yards of assorted colours from Thousands of Bolts (well not actually I seem to have chopped off a few yards when I took the picture).

The fabric on average is around $3.85/4.15 yard for cottons and around $5.95 yard for batiks. With the taxes and shipping it works out to less than $6.00 yard which is far cheaper than what I’d pay here at the fabric or quilt store; it’s even cheaper than Walmart, which by the way is closing down the fabric department in their stores in our area.

I’ve checked around the Internet and these are pretty good prices. I wouldn’t be ordering the fabric otherwise. Some of the fancy name brand fabrics go for around $9.95 yard and thats a bit to rich for my blood. The quilt would have to be pretty special for me to out-lay that kind of money especially for buying fabric over the Internet rather than in person. I’m not even sure I could get the same prices if I crossed the border and bought at JoAnn’s so I’m happy.


Internet Dye specials

Well I’ve done the rest of the gradations on the dyes I recently purchased from ProChem. The Internet specials were, Lavender Mist, Winter Sky, Fawn and Chocolate Milk.
Winter Sky
ProChem’s Internet special Winter Sky.

ProChem’s Internet special Fawn.

Chocolate Milk
ProChem’s Internet special Chocolate Milk.

Lavender Mist
ProChem’s Internet special Lavender Mist.

Well I didn’t know when I was mixing up the Winter Sky whether or not it was a purple or a grey, turns out it was a grey or maybe even a black. The measurements I use for each colour group are different and I use four times as much dye for greys and blacks as I do for the purples so I’m not quite sure what I would have gotten had I used the greater amount of dye. However the buzz word for this year seems to be serendipity and the greys I got were very nice. I thought that there was a bit of a purple cast to them but I think it depends on what lighting you’re seeing the fabric in. The fabric dyed a nice solid colour without a breakdown into components that sometimes you get with low-water-immersion so I’m pleased.

The Chocolate milk was just plain weird. I used quite a bit of dye mixing this one up because it’s a brown and it seemed like I was forever changing the rinse water because the brown kept coming out. I guess you’d call this chocolate milk if you were skimping on the syrup. The closest match I could get to this one was Old Rose except that it was a much paler version. Interesting because again the brown was four times the amount of dye that I used for the Old Rose sample but came up paler. If you look in  the intense sunlight you do see a bit of a pinkish cast to the material but when I asked my husband what colour he thought it was he said taupe.

The fawn turned out to be a really nice colour but it did break down into it’s components so a lot of rusts, greys and ecru’s. When I compared it to my other samples I came up with Chino which was kind of neat because I don’t have that dye. It was Chino but at half the strength…you can see where this is going.

The Lavender Mist was quite nice and as soon as I saw it I thought Eggplant and sure enough Eggplant is the closest match I had in my sample book; this is not to say that something else wouldn’t match better but it’s all I have so if you’re wondering what to compare, think Eggplant purple but at half the concentration.

Since a lot of the dyes seems to be half the intensity it made me wonder, maybe it was a user error but probably not. I could have done without the Chocolate Milk but I’m not really into the skin-tone browns but someone else might really go for that colour. The Fawn was nice but I’m not sure what I’d use that one for because again I’m not into browns but it’d probably be nice in autumn colours. The winter sky wasn’t exciting at the strength that I applied but it did make some really nice neutral greys, which I wouldn’t hestitate to use so it’s probably the most useful dye of the bunch. The lavender was very nice but I already have Eggplant so I’m not too excited. The Dusty Pink from the day before was nice and I’m getting low on Berry and I could substitute this one for that. Which leaves me with the bark which is a very nice brown at full strength.

Hope this gives some idea to those who might be considering buying the Interent specials, at $2.95 a jar its not that big an investment but it could save people some time.