Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Simple Dyeing

I just gotta have color!

After taking an inventory of the fiber reactive (Procion) dyes I already owned, I ordered some new ones from Dharma Trading.  The order was mainly in the blues and purple range, which I was sorely lacking.  

I also tossed all the dyes that were so old they had different packaging from the newer Dharma dyes.  I read somewhere that dyes lose their strength over time.  Probably akin to make-up, but that's a whole different subject...

After the new order, I thought it would be beneficial to sample all the current dyes in my stash.  It's nice to know what you have - really

Here's how I dye.

I tore Pimatex* cotton into 9" x 22" pieces.  This size in quilting circles is known as a fat eighth.  In essence, it is a fat quarter cut in half.  I wanted to use a ratio I could at least attempt to duplicate in the future, so using a common part of a yard was necessary.

*Pimatex is prepared for dyeing and can be purchased through quilting supplies as well as Dharma and other vendors online.   

I use small pint sized plastic containers with lids - one per color.  As you can see here, I have selected the colors for dyeing and placed them in the containers.  That's just for sorting purposes.  In the left corner of the photo you can also see the fat eighth.  On it is written the color name and number in black sharpie.  Sharpie does not wash out and this is one case where that is a good thing!

I place the fabric in it's corresponding container and line them up with the dyes directly in front of each container.  

Then I pour enough soda ash solution over each piece of fabric to soak it.  The soda ash is mixed at 1/3 c per gallon of water.   This soaks for 20 minutes or so.

Next I put a funnel to the soda ash bottle and start the faucet running with warm water.

In a glass ball jar, I pour in 1 cup water.  To that jar, I add 1/2 teaspoon of the dye corresponding to the color name on the fabric.  

These particular colors are all dyed with 1/2 t dye to 1 cup warm water.

WEAR A DUST MASK THE WHOLE TIME!!!
Those little particles can get into your lungs and it's not good.  Gloves are necessary as well. 

Also, you can see the towel above as it catches excess dye.  What you can't see is that it is damp.  The dampness draws the dye to it like a magnet. 

Pour the soda ash back into the jug and squeeze the fabric slightly so that it is still quite drippy.  Do NOT rinse.  Put the fabric back into it's container and pour the newly mixed dye into it.  

If you want nice even dyes, fuss with the fabric quite a bit.  I just make sure it's all been colored but like that some of the fabric sits above the dye.  That way I get a wider range of color - light to dark - without having to mix and dye multiple samples.

Put the lid on the container and set aside.  Repeat this with all the colors you want to dye.  

Here they are!  You can see that by putting the lids on it captures the heat from the warm fabric and has created a little fog on the containers.  Warm water is good, hot will make the dye process too fast.  

Leave this for about an hour.
Yes, it only takes about an hour.


After the hour, dump the container and the dye down the drain and squeeze the fabric to keep it from dripping.  Set in washer.  

Notice I did not mention rinsing?!?  It's really overrated.
I don't bother.
This is why I dye similar colors together - just in case.  Although, I've not had an issue yet.

Here all the little fabric wads are ready for their wash in regular detergent.  I do a vinegar rinse, but I do that with every load that goes through my washer anyway.  No synthrapol, no urea, no other chemicals used.  


 Throw in the dryer and viola!  

This is the basic method I use to dye all the time.  Soak in soda ash solution, remove from solution, add dye, sit for an hour, remove from dye, put in washer, then put in dryer.
Done.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ice Ice Baby

I somehow heard about idea of snow dyeing.  Sounded interesting, except we haven't seen significant, reliable snow in years here in Middle Tennessee.  So when I recently figured out you can ice dye...well, that can happen as often as my ice-maker lets me
 
I had this lemon yellow fabric I'd dyed previously.  It was a bit too lemon for me to use as clothing.  So I figured this was a good project for the attempt with ice.  I had 3 yards of fabric, which I tore in half, giving me 2 - 1&1/2 yard pieces to work with.  

The first fabric I just scrunched up on a grate (borrowed from my papermaking supplies) propped up on plastic dixie cups in an old kitty litter pan (also from papermaking).  

After scrunching the fabric, ice is put on top, then powdered dye.   I chose turquoise, navy, chartreuse, and cerulean.  Keeping it in the blue/yellows I figured I'd get some nice greens for the final piece.  If I'd added reds or purples, I would have mud for sure.

 Here is a photo about 12 hours in.  Only 12 more to go!  You can see that it is less than lovely at this point.  

After 24 hours, remove the plastic, throw in the washer, and wash in a regular cycle.

It turned out quite nicely! The photograph flattened the colors somewhat and I tried to adjust...just know in real life there are many variations from yellow to green to blue.
 Because of the physical properties of the ice, the dye takes on those characteristics as the ice slowly melts depositing the color onto the fabric in crystalline shapes. 
 Here you can see where the dye separated into it's component colors.  Probably the navy.

On to the other half of too lemon yellow fabric!

I had begun tying up the fabric with yogurt containers after seeing this blog post by Carol Eaton.  I had to wait about a week for my mother to eat enough yogurt to tie up the whole 1&1/2 yards. 

Again, I chose to stay in the blue range and used turquoise, chartreuse, navy, and cerulean.

 Giant flowers!  

The pattern is pretty nifty.  I think my "flowers" are more defined since I used ice instead of snow.  I also dyed this piece with the yogurt containers down.  
Here you can see one flower center with the pattern where it was resting directly on the grate.  

I think this has some tremendous potential for spring blouse fabric.  And I'm already thinking about colors in the red & pink family for the next one.

Stay tuned!

Happy Creating everyone!
 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Dyeing for Color

It's that time of year where dreary days are the norm and browns and greys in nature are abundant.  That means it's time to put color in things! 

I picked up the book from my bookshelf called Tie-Dye:  Dye It, Wear It, Share It by Shabd Simon-Alexander.  (I tried to get a photo of the book cover here, but somehow cannot remember how to do that.)  Anyway, she gives lots of inspiration and information about various ways to tie dye.  Many of her ideas are modern updates on the psychedelic era's bright swirly styles.  

Like this shirt above - it is done by tying yarn tightly around a little piece of the fabric and dyeing.  This creates a little circle.  Nifty, yes?!

This is a piece of linen dyed the same way, only there is more fabric pulled through before tying.  

This is my next tie up project.  

 I have used yoghurt containers and tied this awful yellow cotton around each container at the base.  I have seen this done on the internet...so we'll see how this works.  This method was not in the book.  But the idea is the same with all tie dye - tie it up somehow and the place where you put the tie acts as a resist.  When I saw this, it resembled giant flowers. 
This yellow was a dye job that I decided just wouldn't work as intended since the yellow was way too bright.  So no love lost if it doesn't work!

 
  Here are some cotton yarns I tried space dyeing.  Using a chemical water that thickens the dye so it doesn't spread and make mud worked well.
Silk.
Yum.
I'll be back to a little more regular blogging soon.  The Christmas season overwhelms me every year.  And we are in the process of moving my mother into her new independent living condo.  So while I've been creating things, photographing them hasn't happened yet.

Happy Creating everyone!

 
 


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Crafting, Sorting & Catching Up

I've been doing many things lately besides sewing.

 
In early November, I did my first home show with some of my weavings.  Around here, people with larger homes will invite up to 10 of their crafty friends to show and sell wares in their "show" before Christmas.  I did well enough to go back again next year.
Here are some rolled up scarves on display.  
They are in one of those fancy hard paper boxes you get at craft stores.  It worked really well for display as well as for transport.
 
After that show, I wasn't in the mood to weave right away, so I got out my glue gun and some scrapbooking paper and upcycled these perfectly good handle bags!
 Here are some close ups - 
 This one has braid glued over the edge of the heart.  The bottom design is all paper - no real ric rac!
 Simple is sometimes best.
I like this mittens one.  The scrapbook paper didn't quite reach the side of the bag, but fit perfectly over the logo.  Washi tape finished those edges.

Then I decided to clean out my yarn stash and sort it by value.
 
 This is the same photo in B & W - see how the yarns are arranged from white to black? 
 That's value.  If the value is correct, you can put any 2 colors together and it will look good.

But at the end of October, we spent a week on the Gulf.  It was glorious!



This is me with my husband in Seaside.  

I have been sewing, but not taking photos.  I'm sure some of you can relate...

Happy Creating everyone!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Getting an Activewear Hug



I have never been the sporty type.  Yoga pants are something comfortable to wear around the house.  You know what I mean?!

This McCalls pattern - M6658 - is considered an activewear pattern but it could just as easily be considered loungewear or night clothes depending on fabric choices.  


This cocoon wrap had me intrigued - how did they get that from a flat piece of fabric? I just had to know.  


The drawing wasn't much help, so I couldn't wait to get into the envelope and see the pieces. 


The piece did take a little thinking outside the box to figure it out.  The collar is very large.  It is barely holding onto the dress form!


This is the corner of the back fitting into the front.  The sleeve opening is just below my thumb - you can see the turned under edge if you look closely.

The fabric I used was a slub knit from fabric.com.  It is very lightweight and drapey.  


The back is plain.  You can see how long down my arm is the opening.


This is 'how it works." 


Overall I am pleased with it.  The collar is very large and in this lightweight fabric it drapes over my shoulders and doesn't really stay put very well.  I think a loftier fabric choice would correct that.  But for lounging in jeans or yoga pants around the house, it does it's job of keeping the chill off.  It is like wearing a hug!

Happy Creating everyone!