Tag Archives: fabric dyeing

Happy Easter

Just like to wish everyone a Happy Easter and a joy-filled celebration with your families.

 I received my order from ProChem yesterday so since I ordered six of the Internet specials I thought I’d post them so others will have a bit of a clue what they look like.

 I think (I could be wrong) that the Internet specials are dye lots that didn’t quite meet the ProChem specifications for their standard colour chart. So they rename these dyes and sell them at a reduced price to the public. It’s very much like a goody bag in that you don’t really know what you’re getting but the fun is in finding out. I always do a gradation on the dyes and then try and match them up to see what dye they were going for.

I have done two and have another four batching at the moment. The two I have done are Dusty Pink and Bark.
Dusty Pink
ProChem’s Internet special Dusty Pink.

ProChem’s Internet special Bark.

For the Dusty Pink I used twice the concentration I normally use for a red dye because I didn’t want a washed-out wussy colour. The dye reminded me of something I’d already done and sure enough I think the closest match is Rosewine with Berry coming a close second. The Rosewine has a bit of a grey tinge to it and the Dusty Pink has this grey tinge as well but just a slightly darker value than the Rosewine. In other words the Rosewine is a brighter pink.

The bark was a very nice colour at it’s darkest value. The medium and light grades didn’t appeal to me as much. I don’t know what colour this compares to as I don’t have a great many browns from ProChem.

It’ll be interesting to see what the other colours turn out like. I have two more browns, a purple and a winter sky, which I thought was a purple but might be a grey or black. 

I’ll post pictures of the rest of the gradations tomorrow if I have time. My daughter is coming tomorrow and a group of us will be heading into Toronto to pick out material for bridesmaid dresses for her wedding in September. I’m not quite sure how long that whole business will take. I think I’m supposed to fit in an Easter dinner somehow in there. Beats me how I’m going to get home in time to stick the roast in the oven and fix all of the trimmings. I am Mother, hence Super Woman.



Another day, more dyeing.

Cool…somehow when I went to edit my latest blog when I hit the save button it disappeared. At risk of repeating myself…below are a couple of pictures of fabric that I dyed yesterday.

The first piece is aqua, island blue (A ProChem internet special, which looks like aqua almost) , sapphire and lemon meringue. The second piece is bronze and sapphire blue.
Aqua snow dye
Aqua snow dye.

Bronze snow dye
Bronze snow dye.

In my previous post, which I edited and lost I mentioned that this would be the last of the snow dyeing pieces because the snow was all melting. Little did I know, 8 hours later, that we’d be in the midst of another snowstorm, oh well…I’m sure spring is just around the corner somewhere.


Same dye…different look.

Well with all of the snow yesterday I felt inspired to do my snow-dyeing, that and it was a good excuse “not” to do any housework. It had also occured to me that this might be a good technique to use to dye the backing for my unfinished quilter’s garden quilt top. I’d been putting this off for well over a half a year because I hadn’t really decided on the dyes to use (I wanted to match the fabric) and because I was a little unsure about dyeing that much fabric for a queen-sized quilt in a parfait. It occured to me that using the snow-dyeing method I’d have more control over where I placed the dye than tossing it in a garbage bag or putting it in a bin. I’d also come to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to match the dye to the fabric colours so I might as well go ahead.
Quilters Garden
Quilter’s Garden – pattern and fabric by Lynette Jensen.

I started off the day by doing a test piece using olive, rosewood, ecru and burgundy dyes on a one metre piece of fabric.
Olive, rosewood, burgundy, ecru snow parfait
Olive, ecru, rosewood and burgundy snow parfait.

Olive, rosewood, ecru and burgundy small piece
Test piece.

Having mailed away the two vase parfaits I did the other day I decided that I would do another one up for myself because I liked the colours in it.
Parfait Cerulean blueGrecianRoseIvoryAvocado
Cerulean blue, grecian rose, avocado and ivory (light) vase parfait.

 I also decided to create another snow parfait only this time I’d wondered what would happen if  I just squirted the dyes on randomly back and forth instead of putting the colours in blobs.
Cerulean snow dyeing
Cerulean blue, grecian rose, avocado and ivory (light) snow parfait.

Cerulean blue, grecian rose, avocado and ivory parfait resulting from the all-over plaid design.

The dye I used was the same dye but it’s interesting how differently the two pieces of fabric turned out.

Well the snow was beginning to melt so I began to get the larger piece of fabric ready to be dyed. I had to do this in the bathtub so what I did was to scrunch the material up and put it onto two large bin lids, which had been propped up on other containers in the bathtub. I then began the process of layering snow and dye.
Scrunched fabric in tub
Scrunched material loosely tied to keep material from floppin over into tub.

Bin of snow
Lots and lots of snow.

snow in tub
Snow packed on over fabric.

Dyed fabric in tub
Dye artistically placed on snow.

Yorker bottles
Why I don’t normally use my yorker bottles – they leak badly.

Dyed hands
Dyed hands from leaking bottles, what gloves?

Tub fabric
Exposed fabric after snow melt.

After the snow had melted I had the problem of leaving it overnight as this piece of fabric was too large to microwave so I lifted the fabric and put old dye towels underneath the fabric to absorb the left-over dye that had puddled underneath the fabric on the lids. I then tossed the fabric into a plastic bin and covered it and then washed out the next morning.
shower curtain
Material hanging from the shower curtain still damp hence a bit darker then when dry. You don’t get the aspect ratio but this piece is queen-sized.

The test piece that I had done didn’t really show the olive so when I made the dye up for this larger piece of material I added an extra teaspoon of dye powder to my solution and was careful not to muddy my colours so I’m much happier with how this larger piece turned out.
Dried quilt backing
Dried quilt backing on bed – it’s pink!

All in all the experience with snow has been a positive one. While the first piece I did was okay I really like the effect I get with placing the snow on top of the fabric and then squirting the dye on afterwards. The pieces remind me of flowers of the impressionistic era in painting.

More Snow dyeing

Well I decided to try snow dyeing one more time only this time I did it a bit different. Instead of squirting dye all over the snow outside what I did was take a one metre length of fabric (that had been soaked in soda ash and wrung out) and put it in a plastic bin and scrunch the fabric up in the bin.
Bin Snow dyeing
Scrunched fabric in plastic bin.

I then took the bin/fabric outside to the deck and put handfuls of snow on top of the material until it was covered.
Snow covered fabric in bin.

I then took the bin into the laundry room and began to squirt dye over the snow in what I hoped was a pleasing pattern. The dyes I used where cerulean blue, grecian rose, ivory and avocado.
Cerulean blue, grecian rose, ivory and avocado.

I tilted the container slightly so that the melted snow and dye wouldn’t pool under the fabric and as the snow melted I used a syringe to siphon off the liquid. This method had the snow melting at a quicker rate than last time when the fabric and snow was in a massive lump.
Bin 4
Snow melting, fabric propped up with some extra containers so it wouldn’t slide down into excess dye.

Bin 5
Dye pooled at bottom with syringe on the left for draining it.

Bin 6
Material with all the snow removed.

At one point most of the dye had drained down through the snow so I just removed the excess snow as it didn’t seem it would have any effect on the fabric. I took the fabric and nuked it for three minutes as I’m too impatient to wait for the material to batch. I then washed it out.
Bin 7
Finished fabric, reminds me of a Monet garden.

I decided to take the remaining dye and create a couple of parfaits the way I normally do them – in a vase. I take a piece of fabric and squirt some dye into the bottom of the vase; I then tamp down a corner of the fabric, I then squirt more dye onto this fabric, tamp it down, squirt dye, tamp down fabric…etc, etc. I then put a cup of water + soda ash on top of the tamped down fabric and let it batch for a couple of hours before wash out.

The first piece I did I forgot to wet it with water first so when I applied the dye the fabric sucked it right in. I was afraid that all I would end up with was blobs of fabric but it still seemed to have a bit of creep along the folds after I added the soda water.
Cerulean parfait medium
Cerulean blue, grecian rose, ivory, avocado parfait – medium intensity.

I then took the remaining dye and added water to twice the volume to have a lighter batch of dyes and then did another parfait.
Cerulean parfait light
Cerulean blue, grecian rose, ivory, avocado parfait – light intensity.

The difference between the regular parfaits and the snow dyed parfait is in the edges. The snow dyed piece on the whole has a softer blending of the edges whereas the other parfaits the colours creeps along the folds so I guess it just depends on what effect you’re after as to which method you want to use.

I’m thinking it would be cool to freeze dye as ice cubes and then smash then into little pieces and sprinkle these pieces onto a piece of flat fabric. I’m wondering if the effect would be similar to salt crystals but maybe not.


Snow Dyeing

Well it seems like a lot of people have been trying out snow dyeing this winter so I’d thought I’d give it a go just to say I’d also done it.

The idea behind this technique is to make up your dyes and then take them outside and squirt the dye onto the snow and let it freeze. The snow is then scooped up and dumped on top of the fabric, which is scrunched up in whatever method you want, and then let melt. The dye hits the cloth in random patterns caused by the snow melting.

Since I’ve never done this before I didn’t know how much dye to squirt on the snow but I figured that the dye would be diluted by the snow and the colours fairly pale at the end of the process so I squirted on the dye fairly thick. The main pile of dye was a mixture of black, sapphire blue, blue-purple and ivory. I did make some other piles of mixed and single colours.

Dye on snow
Snow on dye – black, blue-purple, ivory, sapphire

I decided to dump some ivory coloured snow into the bottom of the pail because I knew that I’d be inverting the pail and thought the ivory being a paler colour should rest on top of the fabric. That way at least there would be one corner where the ivory dominated and this is what happened although the picture of the final fabric doesn’t show the whole amount of ivory in my one yard piece. I then scooped up my main dye colour snow pile and alternated it with some of the other piles of dyed snow.

snow, pail
Snow/dye in pail alternating layers with 1 yard of fabric.

I took the pail and inverted it over a rack into the laundry sink, having placed the plastic lid to the pail underneath first. I left this for quite a few hours before removing the pail. The snow hadn’t really melted that much in this time. I left the pail off until I went to bed and then put it back over so the material wouldn’t dry out overnight.

Upturned bucket
Bucket flipped in sink and left to sit.

Pail removed
Pail removed after several hours.

The next morning most of the snow/ice had melted but there were a few little clumps left. Being impatient I just dumped the rest into the sink and then put the fabric into a plastic shoe box and covered it with the lid and popped it into the microwave and nuked it for a couple of minutes. I then plopped the plastic container into the laundry tub which I’d filled with hot water.

Next morning
Pail removed next morning, still some ice left.

After leaving the fabric to batch a bit in the hot water I washed it out and ironed it. The picture below is a bit more colour intense that what the material looks like in real life.

Snow dyed fabric, black, sapphire blue, ivory and blue-purple
Snow dyed fabric – black, sapphire blue, ivory and blue-purple.

I’m kind of disappointed in the results. The dye hit the fabric more like speckles than a washout type of effect – sort of like paint splatters if you’ve ever done that type of technique. There were some areas where the melted effect came through. My friend Judy (check out Links) has just done quite a few snow dyed pieces and I think hers turned out better than mine but she did hers slightly different in that she scrunched her material and dumped all of the snow on top. Maybe this makes a difference because I’m thinking her snow probably melted quicker than mine. I don’t know, maybe it was the dye. I have quite a bit of fuchsia in the piece, which must have come from the black and purple. I know fuchsia strikes the soda-soaked fabric quickly and doesn’t disperse like other colours do.

I found it amazing that the dye seemed to take to the fabric despite the lower temperatures. Procion MX dyes work best at a minimum temperature of 70 degrees but this piece seemed to dye well regardless. In case you’re wondering why I nuked the material it’s because normally the dye needs a certain temperature to work effectively with the fabric.

Anyhow I’m too lazy to try further experiments. Judy and Kelly both have some nice snow-dyed pieces so hit the links on the sidebar and check out their blogs. I’d say this technique is for someone who likes to play and enjoys the randomness of it all. If you decide to give it a go don’t forget to soak your material in soda ash first.

I’m wondering what the mailman thinks of my leftover coloured patches of snow. Hopefully he won’t be stepping in them, maybe I should shovel them aside….hmmm.


Swirls and Parfaits continued…

Well here are the promised pictures as per yesterday. My camera definitely doesn’t like the blues or purples but on the whole the pictures didn’t turn out to badly. Doing the gradation of boysenberry and adding 5 ml of black made for a more interesting turnout of colours than the previous trial. I guess another method would be to have the boysenberry constant and then increase or decrease the amount of black additive, it all depends on what you’re after.
Boysenberry gradation with 5ml of black additive
Boysenberry gradation with 5ml of black additive to each step.

Next are the series of swirls I did in the bowls yesterday, several were the same so I just posted the best pictures. I did a low-water-immersion on these swirls so instead of crisp lines of colour they are more blended.
Boysenberry-black swirl

Marigold-black swirl

Marigold-Burgundy swirl

Navy-Burgundy swirl
Navy-Burgundy (Bit over-exposed)

Navy-Burgundy-Marigold swirl
Navy-Burgundy-Marigold (Bit under-exposed)

And finally here are some examples of the different parfaits I did in the smaller bowls.
Marigold-Burgundy Parfait
Marigold-Burgundy Parfait

Navy-Burgundy Parfait
Navy-Burgundy Parfait

Navy-Marigold Parfait
Navy-Marigold Parfait

Navy-Burgundy-Marigold Parfait
Navy-Burgundy-Marigold Parfait

It’s always the colours that you think will turn out yucky that seems to come out the best. I guess that’s why it’s always a good thing to experiment.


Swirls and Parfaits

Well today I did some more dyeing, lol, anything to put off cutting out and sewing the blocks for the Nested Round Robin. I started off with another boysenberry-black test. This time I did a boysenberry gradation and then added 5ml of black as an additive to each container.  I’ll post a picture tomorrow when I’m done the washout. It’s mostly purples this time, which I guess is no surprise given how the last boysenberry-black attempt went.

 Then since I had leftover dye from doing the recent colour wheels along with leftover black and boysenberry, I decided to get ahead of myself and use up the dyes on my upcoming swirl and parfait swaps.

Being in a lazy mood it was a relaxed loosy-goosy slap-dash effort. Instead of tying off the swirls as I normally do I just tossed them into bowls added dye and then because I was to lazy to pre-soak the material in soda ash water I tossed that on top after having let the swirls sit for a few minutes for the dyes to blend.
Swirls of various colours

Still having left-over dye I scrunched up some fat eighths and tossed them into tiny bowls and added the remaining dye; again tossing on some soda ash water after having let the colours mix.

I’ll post the pictures tomorrow after the wash-out assuming the lighting is good enough. We’ll see whether being lazy pays off or if it’s “back to the drawing board”. We’re supposed to be getting a snowstorm tonight and tomorrow morning, apparently one of the worst of the winter. My Australian blogger friends, remember me while basking in your nice sunny summer weather, sit back and have a cool one for me.


More Colour Wheels.

I’ve been busy dyeing, washing and ironing fabric for my upcoming nested round robin. I had previously posted a medium colour wheel (scroll down) in this colour-way, Dharma’s marigold, burgundy and navy blue.  Yesterday I dyed a light colour wheel and another medium colour wheel .
Light colour wheel marigold burgundy navy blue
Light colour wheel – Dharma’s marigold, burgundy, navy blue.

To the medium colour wheel I added Jacquard’s Jet Black to each colour. I had debated whether or not to add the black to the medium wheel because I had a feeling that the colours would be on the dark side – and that’s the way they turned out. It’s interesting how an additive will change the colours.I choose Jacquard’s Jet Black because I’d heard that it was a fairly neutral black but I’m thinking it tends to bluish black because of the way the black reacted with my colours. A few interesting greens and browns in this additive wheel.
Medium colour wheel with additive - marigold, burgundy, navy blue
Medium colour wheel with Jet Black additive – colour’s a bit off – too bright.

Side by side marigold, burgundy, navy blue
Light – Medium colour wheels one picture shot side by side.

With the leftover dye from the light and medium wheels I tossed together a few parfaits. Using the leftover lighter dye I alternated the dye with fat eighths in a vase, six layers in total. For the leftover medium dye I added 1 ml of black to each of the remaining 1/8 cups of dye. I then added this to two fat eights of material again in another vase. The piece on the bottom received the dregs and ended up a really nice piece of fabric. I’m really regretting that it’s only a fat eighth.
Parfait vase marigold burgundy navy blue
Light parfait – marigold, burgundy, navy blue

Parfaits marigold burgundy navy blue
Resultant colours of above.

Parfaits with additive - marigold burgundy navy blue
Medium parfaits with jet black additive.

I also did an Ivory gradation yesterday. Dharma says to use the dye at half strength but I wanted to see what it was like at full strength so I just added another couple of steps to my usual six but to tell the truth they are so pale as to be almost white.  The ivory at it’s strongest step reminds me of an orange creamsicle then as it fades I get a strong sense of buttered popcorn but the kind with the fake margarine if that makes sense. LOL, you don’t think my diet’s getting to me do you?
Ivory gradation
Dharma’s Ivory in 8-step gradation.

Speaking of which, I have lost nine pounds in two and a half weeks. Sounds good but most of it was water weight that came off in the beginning. I’m down to losing about one pound every five days now. Frustrating because I’m eating next to nothing. My own fault I guess, I haven’t been exercising as much as I should but then again I have been getting the house tidier and lots of dyeing and crafts done.


Nested Round Robin Colour Wheel & Parfait

Well yesterday I finally got busy and dyed some of the fabric for the nested round robin I will be participating in this coming year with my one of my fabric dyeing forums. The idea is to start off with a centre block of each participant’s choosing and then each month add a border to the quilt. The borders can either go around the center block or the quilt can be made up of rows of borders. Each border idea is drawn by the hostess co-ordinating the swap. One month you could have appliqued leaves for instance and the next month a border of stars, etc. There are no restrictions on size; the finished quilt could be a wall-hanging or end up being a bed quilt.

The easy part for me was choosing the colours, I’m still not sure what to decide on for the central block and then when I figure out my block I have to decide on the colour arrangement. The idea is to incorporate as many colours of the colour wheel in the starting block so you can bring them into the quilt borders somehow. The colours need not be from the one colour wheel but could also be from gradations of individual colours within the wheel or colours with additives – much like the colour wheels plus additives that I posted previously.

I’m not a very creative person. I enjoy making the creations I do but not coming up with my own ideas. I like looking at something and saying “That’s nice I want to try it”. This round robin sounds simple but will probably stretch me out of my comfort zone; actually it already has since I’m in angst and haven’t even started.

I guess the idea of a round robin is to work on the border of a quilt and then mail it on to the next person on the list; because of rising postage costs our group decided to keep the quilts at home and work on them ourselves. I’m just as glad, I don’t think I would have participated if I was respondsible for working on someone else’s quilt.

Anyhow pictures are below. The main colours I used were from Dharma – Burgundy, Navy Blue and Marigold. Kudos to BettyAnn for choosing these colours in our Rainbow swap, I was inspired.

Colour Wheel - Nested Round Robin
Dharma’s Burgundy, Navy Blue and Marigold

Parfait with colour wheel
Parfait from left-over dye with colour wheel.

Round robin parfait
Parfait using about 1/4 cup each of burgundy, navy and marigold
on one yard of fabric.


Colour Wheels and Additives

Our fabric dyeing forum is doing a colour study at the moment and since one of the girls asked a question about my wheels I’ve decided to post a couple of pictures on my blog so that those interested can see the differences between the original colour wheel and the same value with an additive.

 The colours I’ve used in my wheels are fuchsia, colbalt and golden yellow. There are three values of colour I call them dark, medium and light. For the dark wheel the additive is black. For the medium wheel the additive is brown and for the light wheel the additve is grey.

Dark colour wheel with black
Dark colour wheel with black additive

Medium colour wheel with brown
Medium colour wheel with brown additive

Light colour wheel with grey
Light colour wheel with grey additive