06 Apr

Dying to know

I have an idea percolating in my head. It involves cotton shopping bags and may necessitate dying them. I love hand dyed fabric, but I’m not wild about doing it myself. I just can’t get my head around a whole extra set of supplies (and therefore the space to store them) for essentially another hobby.

But I digress; I had thought maybe I would take a dying class and essentially contaminate someone else’s kitchen. The class that comes most recomended (with Gabi Tisch) is held on the same days as my son’s first communion, our family vacation, and a camping trip with friends. I’m not sure I want to wait until September, and even then I’m not sure I’ll be free. Our guild is having a class in June, but I’ll be at the Quilt Expo in Lyon that weekend (I know, no sympathy there). I can’t find a class with Heidi Stoll-Weber since she’s nearby, but I’m on a quest now.

I digress again. I have broken down and ordered a few Procion MX dyes in the colors I want, but I needed to pre-order the soda ash (kalzinierte Soda) and I wasn’t quite brave enough to do it, having never ordered from this company before. Dharma won’t send it to me, so I’d have to have it sent to my SIL and then she could mail it to me. I’ve looked around on some german sites and see more references to Urea, which seems to be easier to obtain locally. So, my question is who uses Soda Ash and who uses Urea and can one use one or the other, or must one have Soda Ash to obtain really good colors? Anyone have info on the pros and cons of one or the other? I have some Alum from marbling; would that do the job as well? I don’t want to get knee deep in dying, I just want to dye a dozen or so bags in a couple of colors and then I’m sure I’d be over the whole process.

5 thoughts on “Dying to know

  1. Hi , you may be able to access soda ash as a pool chemical or use washing soda at double the amount ( I purchase it in the local supermarket sold as ” lectric soda ” for soaking aching feet !! )Soda ash is esential for your dyeing, you can soak the fabric in soda before & dry or add it wet to the mixed dye; or add it some time after the fabric has been put in the dye. Urea improves & brightens the colour but is not esential. For a pure colour stir the fabric after submirging, but I prefer to stuff the screwed up fabric into a coffee jar & dribble in several colours. There are some good online classes. Warning it is very addictive

  2. Urea is normally not needed. Soda ash is vital. Go to Mrs. Mels lazy dyer’s tutorial. She has all the details and it is so easy. You will soon be addicted!! Also, Robbi Eklow’s book has great directions for lazy dyeing.

  3. Urea is needed more for silk, to keep the surface wet longer. For cottons yo will want both soda and salt. I use pool chemical soda, but I have used Arm and Hammer washing soda and it works just fine. (I like pool soda better because it comes in a plastic container, and since I live in Georgia, humidity is a huge factor.)

  4. Puh-leeze! There is a world of difference between “dying” (not desirable) and “dyeing” (very desirable).

    As the others, say, soda ash is essential, the other stuff is optional.

  5. Hi there

    I am looking to buy some Heidi Stoll Webers’ fabrics, for the same reason you were saying. Cant take on another hobby plus expense of buying all the necessary bits and bobs. If you know where I can buy her hand dyed stuff on line would you let me know please?

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