Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fabric Dyeing

I've been fascinated by fabric dyeing for a very long time but it always seemed just out of reach. Too complicated, too time-consuming, too confusing. I've devoured books and articles, but always ended up just admiring the pictures. But recently I've been taking a Craftsy class by Jane Dunnewold, and she explains things so clearly that the process now seems greatly demystified. I've been slowly gathering some of the necessary supplies, and this morning decided to jump in with an old tie-dye kit I had. I knew there were some drawbacks, but I figured it was an easy way to get started. The kit was by Jacquard, so the dyes are presumably of good quality, but it's a couple of years old so they may have degraded. Also, the dyes are tie-dye colors or cool primaries: turquoise, fuchsia and yellow. The dyes come pre-measured in applicator bottles, but the fuchsia one leaked terribly when I added the water. I only had one glove on then, so the fingers of my left hand are all pink.

I covered the old picnic table with plastic and hauled out all my supplies. Soda ash dissolved into hot water in the orange bucket for pre-soaking the fabric. The white bucket has plain water for rinsing gloves. I had a collection of saved containers plus a recently purchased kitty litter tray for tray dyeing.

I decided on a limited number of techniques for this trial. Quarter yards scrunched into small containers with either one or two colors of dye. A larger piece scrunched into a larger container with all 3 colors. And a pretty large piece loosely pleated into the tray with mostly turquoise and yellow on top, plus fuchsia flooded into the bottom on one side. Now it is supposed to 'batch' for at least 24 hours before rinsing out and washing. So curious to see how it turns out!

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