Monday, August 26, 2013

Due Diligence Dyeing

I appreciate those who are encouraging me to believe that in dyeing fabric there are no mistakes. But seriously, if you are going for a particular color or set of colors in a dye run, and you have a recipe to insure that's what happens, and you fail to follow the recipe correctly, then what you end up with is a mistake, albeit one with a silver lining. My less than perfect dye session with my friends did give me some nice colors, but not exactly what I was going for. So I cleared off my "art cart" and set it up as a dye station, got out the recipes and dyes, and spent most of the week processing the results. First I redyed the purple gradation which oddly enough was not all that different. I could see the difference more in the darker values. But at least I was more diligent about agitating the bags so the texture and dye dispersal is more even.

Then I redid the color family. The recipe is call luscious berries, but because I used the same distribution for the two dye stocks, all I got was a lot of blues. This is what I wanted, the full spectrum of dark fuchsias to purples to blues. Much happier.

Here are the two sessions side by side - the by-the-recipe group is on the left, the error-filled group on the right. I think I am so done with purple now.

With that taken care of, I moved on to a color family recipe that Judi developed after I left the partnership. Mmmm, guava fruit. I'm glad I didn't try this one on my can't-keep-my-recipe-straight day.

And yes, I was careful to agitate bags, but still got great texture. I really want to use this group in a quilt, but haven't figured out just how yet. Maybe strips. It's kind of a sunset sort of group. I better hurry - I can feel my friend Sherrie scheming how she can spirit these away from me - I think they are just her colors.

And then I had some fun with the leftover dye stock. This is something I got onto back when we were still researching about dyeing. Any tall narrow jar will do, like what olives come in. Fill partially with soda ash solution, stuff a fat quarter of fabric in until totally submerged, then pour dye stock in and let it slowly seep to the bottom. In this case, I used the yellow from the guava run first and let it seep for about 10 minutes, then added a little more soda ash solution and the bubble gum pink from the guava run, letting the jar sit undisturbed for about 24 hours.

And this is the result - love it! The white section at the top is what was at the bottom of the jar, getting little and no dye. 

I had some tone on tone fabric Judi & I had dyed when we were still experimenting and I never cared for how it looked. I thought maybe over dyeing the green with the purple dye might improve it but I was wrong. It's still so bad it is hiding under this little piece which I am so in love with. This was just a scrap of tone-on-tone in an off-white, and I am wishing I had more of this fabric to dye. I may work this little piece into a handbag or padfolio. The back isn't bad either, the vines much more subtle.

I also put a piece of pfd fabric a little smaller than a fat quarter in each of the lightest yellow bags of the guava run. I rinsed the excess dye out of them, and then while still wet, wrapped them on PVC pipe, scrunching them down shibori style. I'd mixed the end of the soda ash solution into the leftover purple dye stock and poured it slowly over the fabric till it was covered - not too much because I didn't want it seeping too far into the folds. The freezer bags keep things from drying out while these batched for a couple of hours.

And voila! The truly gratifying magic that dyeing can be! I wasn't sure I did the wrapping and scrunching right but boy, I definitely got the effect I was going for - a little like golden sun on water.

The second piece was wrapped the other direction and I was able to get more of a twist after scrunching so it has a slightly different look. Both these were a bit difficult to capture accurately in the photos, but these are pretty close.

Besides being pleased with my results, I'm pleased with how my work stations functioned. I'm not a big fan of dyeing outside and my last house did not have a garage or basement to work in. Here, the art cart is in the garage for the messy part, and the door into the house leads right to the washing machine and kitchen for the final processing. I'm putting the dyes away for awhile, but it's nice to know I have a quick and easy set up when I'm ready for more.  


June said...

Your results are impressive and I think you'll have some good times with those fabrics.

Sherrie Spangler said...

Hah -- I WAS scheming as to how I could get the guava fabrics before I even read what you wrote! I think that's the gradation I bought from Judi at one of the PAQA meetings. It's luscious, but so are all of the other colors.

Chris said...

All wonderful. I would be scheming on how to steal them myself!

Connie Rose said...

Love them all!

Olga said...

What patience - what wondrous results!

Michele Matucheski said...

I've given up on expecting to get the same results--even with a recipe. Now I just hope it comes out to be close. There are so many variables that can affect the results -- from humidity to the age of the dues to temp in your workspace. If you are not happy with them, you might put them away for a year and revisit later. That seems to work for me.
This summer in WI has not been so darn hot, so I have not retreated to my dye kitchen in the basement--otherwise the only cool place in the house in summer's heat. Not much dyeing this summer on my end.
So I admire seeing it on your pages!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks, everyone! Michele, it's not that I didn't like the first batch, it's just that they weren't the colors I'd identified that I wanted added to my stash as well as being more textured than I'd hoped. But certainly they will be used. That wrong run of the luscious berries, for instance - I immediately started thinking about over-dyeing, discharging and stamping over them.

As for variables - I know them well. Meant to mention that most of these dyes were 10 years old so I expected the results would be off from the swatches on the worksheets. To my amazement, this properly done batch perfectly matched the fabric dyed with these powders so many years ago. Just lucky I guess!