Sunday, September 13, 2015

Dyeing Hot

Since yesterday was 100 degrees out, and Saturday was going to be 95', I got an early start to my dyeing project. I had a bunch of liquid dyes leftover from the Fyber Cafe Dyeing workshop that I wanted to use up. My friend Peggy could not make it over, but I had already set up and had 3 yards of raw silk noil soaking in soda ash. It was in two 1 1/2 yard pieces, a soft beige color and a very nubby texture. I wanted to ice dye these pieces. Two plastic baskets from the dollar store with large open grids, were perfect to tuck the fabric into. Pushing the fabric into the grid gives a pucker where the dye drips down, creating a flower burst of colored texture. I used turquoise, navy, royal blue and black on both pieces, sprinkling the dry dye powder over the piled on ice. One piece I added bright green and just a little burgundy. The second basket I added burgundy, violet and some crimson sunset, all Procion MX dyes from Dharma. I clipped plastic bags over them to sit in the heat and batch.
My next project was to dye 5 yards of "Sew Essentials" white cotton from JoAnn's Fabrics. Cutting them into strips about 13" wide, would give me a 12 1/2" background block for applique, instead of just long quarter yards. Each large butter tub has scrunched up, soda soaked fabric. I put about a 1/8 cup of a dye we mixed for the workshop, I am not sure of the dye percentage to water, I think she said 12% for her wool dyeing. The 1/8 cup was not quiet enough to soak all the way through the fabric, and I added about a 1/4 cup of soda ash solution to it.
When I usually use this method of "Parfait" dyeing, I forget what three colors I used in each layer, so this time I took pictures of each step. First one layer of fabric and dye, then another scrunched fabric layer with dye, then a third layer. One tub had purple, fuchsia, and magenta, the next turquoise, royal blue and navy. The last tub had golden yellow, black, and scarlet. Two more tubs were set up, lemon yellow, magenta and purple, then green, turquoise and navy.
I covered each tub with a gallon zip lock bag to sit and batch over night,
Last was the remaining 2 yards of silk noil, after a soda ash soak, I bunched it up on my big wire rack, giving it a good scrunch.
I began to drip dye from the squeeze bottles onto the fabric, using ALL the colors I had.
More colors, more dye, I did not want any of the plain silk color to show. Because it was damp from the soda ash soak, the colors did run together and soak through.
But the dye did not soak thru enough, so I flipped it over and added more dye. Then a lesson I learned a long time ago, when using all the colors, was I did not like the pure rainbow colors blending to mud brown between the bright colors. So I picked it all up and gave it a good twist and scrunch to mix up the colors more. So there were fewer pure colors and more blending.
The finished bundle of silk, you can see it is not as bright as when I first started dripping on the colors. The day did get HOT, MX dyes only need to reach 70 degrees to heat set, and covered in plastic they were not in direct sun. I left them over night to batch set.
In the morning I brought them all in and rinsed out the excess dye that did not bond with the fibers. My 5 gallon bucket with the rinsed fabrics, the silk was quiet heavy and bulky. I put them all in the washing machine with some laundry soap and a couple of cap fulls of Synthrapol. Next the drier and the reveal.

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see what other talented textile artist are doing.


  1. I get so sad when I read about someone "dying", I'd much rather read about their "dyeing" adventures.

  2. I was interested in this phrase: " I think she said 12% for her wool dying." Wool is generally dyed with acid dyes, not the same sort of thing (e.g. Procion MX dye) as one uses for a plant fibre such as cotton, but yes, something you could use well with silk. So...maybe I'm confused, but I would enjoy seeing the results you get using the 'wool dyeing' percentage with your cottons... Thanks! (P.S. Isn't the serendipity of dyeing the best part?!)

  3. Thanks for the grammar correction, Spellcheck did not catch something like this. dying vs dyeing I am always second guessing myself. I started out one way then went the other

  4. We have used the Procion MX dyes for rayon, silk and cotton. With Urea and soda ash. It has come out wonderfully on all the silk scarves we have done and also the yardage. The lady with the dye solution might have been dyeing cotton yarns, she does a lot of weaving, I'm not sure about the wool. But we were used to working with a dye concentrate solution, and she had premixed her liquid and we were trying to do all the math to convert her solution to what we were used to. We gave up and just used it as is. That's the "who cares" part of being a fabric artist and breaking all the rules.