Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Down a Rabbit Hole

I've been bitten (smitten?) by the dyeing bug. Yesterday morning I was so excited to get started on this project that I woke up at 5. A good thing, too, since dyeing takes so long. I'm pretty pleased with the results.

The colors did turn out lighter than I expected, which I attribute to one or all of the following:

  • I'm using bleached pfd fabric (rather than unbleached--apparently the bleach never completely comes out of the fabric, and can affect the dye)
  • I strained my dyes through cheesecloth, which worked really well to catch the gunk and unmixed particles, but may have removed too much of the color
  • I only let the fabric soak in the dye for an hour
  • I'm using the "lighter" set of primary colors from Dharma (fuschia, lemon yellow, and turquoise).
I'm going to experiment more by changing some of the variables above, but I don't want to use up my pfd muslin since I'm supposed to be using it in my Quilt U class and don't want to order more right now.

Last night I mixed up some sodium alginate and let it sit. I followed the directions in the Kemshalls' book, The Painted Quilt and mixed 2 t. SA with 1-1/2 c. of water, and proceeded to try to whisk this sludge. I kept adding water until the entire tub was filled, and that stuff just kept getting thicker, it seemed. I finally let it sit overnight and took a spoonful this morning and mixed it with more water to get a thick honey consistency. Then I added in some of the leftover dye concentrate from yesterday, and proceeded to stamp, roll, and brush. I played with 3 pieces of fabric--1 undyed, 2 previously dyed--and rolled them up to set for 24 hours, so I'll see tomorrow what I turn out with.

In the meantime, I have to get a grip. It's awfully hard to go to the day-job after getting up at 5 and putting in a couple of labor-intensive hours dyeing fabric!


Quilt Pixie said...

I love my sleep way to much to do studio time (even fun studio time) BEFORE my work day. Kudos to you :-)

Diane D. said...

On with experimentation! It's a good thing. I know what you mean about the lack of sleep for the sake of art - except I used to stay up until 2, then try to make it through the next day ;),

Ruthie Powers said...

You needn't worry about having to order fabric by mail. Just go to JoAnn's or Hancock. Find their Kaufman brand, Kona cotton for $6.00. Hobby Lobby also has it and sometimes has the PFD cotton (white). You still should wash it. And, hey girl, just let that fabric batch a good 24 hours. These days when it is cold in Austin, I have been letting it sit 48 hours.

Have fun. Dyeing IS very exciting, and now with a local source for your raw materials, I just hope you are saving some spending money for fabric. Peace, Ruthie in Austin