Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hand-Dyed Beginnings

Okay, with this warm summer weather there has been plenty of opportunity to dye fabrics outdoors.  And so I have now created quite a selection to choose from.  In fact, so many that I just had to pick a couple colors and make something small just so I could get my hands on these awesome hand-dyes.  So, I put together this journal cover just for fun.


This journal is approximately 6" X 9" and made with several of the fabrics I recently hand-dyed.  The top and bottom are PFD Kona cotton with chartreuse and China red, each with a smidge of black added.  The center fabric is a commercial cotton that I was given and was not sure what to do with.  Adding chartreuse really made it an interesting color and it looked great with the other two.  Finally the ripped strip is pure chartreuse with some red acrylic paint applied with a wooden print block.  The buttons were from the stash.
Here's a look at the back.

These are fun to make and functional too.  I think I will try a few more as I try different combinations of my new hand-dyed cottons.  Thanks for looking.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Good Stuff

On Tuesday, my friend, Susan, invited me to her house to teach me how to hand-dye fabric using a low-water immersion method.  She has a superb set-up in her garage and has been doing this for some time now.  She had guidelines printed out for me and a work station all set up.  I arrived with a rather heavy box of supplies donning my favorite painting shorts.  A few minutes demo and I was on my way.  I quickly abandoned her guidelines, not because they weren't helpful, but more so because I am a magpie who pays attention to every shiny thing that goes by.

I quickly began making various combinations of dye mixes and before I knew it I had 36 fat quarters in 16 oz Solo cups doing their chemical thing.  Rinsing the dye out was a bit like Christmas - or perhaps fireworks - Ooh - Ahh.

By the end of the day I arrived home with a bag of fabrics that needed to be washed and dried and this is what came out of my dryer.  More oohing and aahing.

36 fat quarters
Not bad for a first attempt.

The following day I set up my own dyeing station outside.  Not as cushy as Susan's but still very manageable.  Rather than attack so many colors, I decided to try chartreuse and China red.  I also had some black, blue violet and Cayman Island green left over so I wanted to finish those so they didn't go to waste.  Having used up all my Pimatex, I used some PFD Kona cotton that I had, some velveteen and overdyed some commercial prints that I had purchased for this purpose.  I also overdyed some fabrics that I just thought were ugly.  Here is what came of my solo flight of dyeing.      

The left side is the leftover blue violet and Cayman Island green.  The blue violet velveteen is my favorite.  The right side are the chartreuse and China red mixed with yellow or black leftover dye.  All in all, I'm very happy with this batch.

However, this can be addicting.  I have already ordered more fabric and soda ash.  Just a word of warning to those of you who haven't tried this yet.