Saturday, February 20, 2016

Dyeing with Peggy & Sara

President's Day off gave Peggy, Sara and I a chance to get together for some dyeing. Sara had treated herself to some new dye supplies from Dharma for a Christmas present. Yet she had never dyed before, so we set up a beginning workshop. While our fabric was soaking in a solution of soda ash, we mixed up the dyes, with urea and water, and gave them some considerable shaking to dissolve the urea crystals. I can't believe how much Michael's Crafts wants for a pair of squeeze bottles. Peggy and I had been collecting squeeze bottles of Dawn from the dollar store, we emptied it into bigger containers and the 8oz. bottles were perfect for dyes. Marking every bottle with a Sharpie pen and the date.
We did a 3 layer "Parfait" technique, where you layer fabric, with dye, another layer of fabric with more dye and then a 3rd layer with more dye. The scrunched fabrics give you a mottled look and the colors blend from one layer to the next. The 1st container I did, was Magenta-Fire Red-Yellow. They blended beautifully.
The first color on the left is not really magenta. I mixed bits of leftover dye powder from three different containers, burgundy, fire red and bronze, it came out to be a wonderful combo.
The next combo layer is medium blue, electric blue and purple. The photo does not due this one justice, the middle fabric is much brighter, the electric blue is a bright teal and became our favorite color of the day.
The next set of colors was bright green and electric blue, and a third one that must still be in the drier or washer.
After lunch of "Chili's" enchilada soup and crackers and cheese, we tried to create custom colors, I used fat 1/8ths. Sara said she felt like a chemist. We did not record the color mixes we used, repeating a color was not a concern for us, we are ARTISTS, just a few drops of this and a teaspoon of that. Testing the color on a paper towel and a few more drops of dye and on the towel to test. My first efforts were an avocado green and a bright chartreuse. Most of the greens I had done at previous dye sessions were in the blue green range.
Next I made a coral, rust and red. The coral is not peachy enough, maybe I had wanted a more pastel color, but it is still very nice. The rust I am very happy with, I wanted a warm yellow brown. I don't know what I was attempting with the red.
I wanted to try the burgundy/bronze/red straight from the bottle, to see what color I had really mixed up.
Sara had a bottle of lavender, and I used it straight, just to see what color it was. I really like the result, Peggy reports hers was a little too gray. The purple is very red, but we had 3 bottles of purple circulating on the table, an old purple a new purple and one that said purple and wasn't, plus the lavender.
The electric blue was gorgeous, and I wanted to try it straight, but I ended up adding black to it. Last time we dyed I had made a bottle of black that no one used. I have followed the blogs of several people who have done Elizabeth Barton's dyeing class online, and one of their assignments was to add black to their dyes. I liked the look it gave, so I tried it on several of my dye mixes, the avocado, maybe one of the reds and on this electric blue.
Just for the fun of it, I went and grabbed a fat quarter of black and white zebra print. Sara and Peggy did not think much of the idea, but after they saw the turquoise and fuchsia fabrics, they liked it. So maybe we'll have a black and white dye session soon.
My original intent of dyeing was to use some old dyes to try to make a series of flesh tones. I had a skinny strip of fabric leftover, so dipped one end in a few drops of red, trying to get a light pink. I let it sit a while and dipped in more of the fabric and added a few drops of yellow. I could see this was too much color, so I added a little lavender to get a light brown. None of the fabric was useful for flesh tones, but it gave me an idea of where to start next time and what shades I will go for. Definitely very light on the dye solution.
We had lots of fun, Peggy sent me an email photo of her dyed fabric, she was really happy with her results. We will get together next time and Sara wants to try some thickened dyes for painting.

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click here to check out what other talented textile artists are doing this week.

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