20 Jul

Dyeing with Leftovers

Stovetop Dyeing

I’ve got two projects that require me to dye some fabric and batting (thanks to Judy Coates Perez for introducing us to the possibilities of dying batting — what I have in mind should be perfect for it). I checked my supplies, and since I don’t need specific colors, I found that I had enough on hand. Of course two of the colors were Procion and two were RIT. Oh, one of my batting pieces was wool, which accepts dye differently.

Yesterday we didn’t really have anything going on, so I figured I could wrap my head around a bunch of little batches of varying processes.

First I mixed up a batch of deep red Procion dye using 2 tsp Fire Red and 2 tsp Rust Brown. I used some of it to dye Quilter’s Dream Wool batting per Dharma Trading Company’s instructions. I used the rest of it to dye what I think is Hobbs Heirloom (a blend of cotton and poly with a denser feel than Quilter’s Dream) and Quilter’s Dream Cotton batting in the conventional manner with dye, soda ash, and salt. Left in the sun 1.5 hours.

Dye Day

It was an experiment in fibers. Left to right: the 100% cotton batting (unfortunately destroyed by the final washout in my washing machine, but took the dye very well); Cotton/poly blend — very mottled in the first piece where I had very little dye in the bucket, overall heathered look in the second piece where I had adequate dye in the bucket; underneath it all is the wool batting fixed with vinegar instead of soda ash — the wool took the dye well, but it’s scrim did not, and unfortunately most of the wool washed away into tiny bits in the final washout. Word to the wise: hand wash dyed batting!

Simultaneously, I dyed some cotton gauze and bits of lace (some previously dyed) in Procion Pearl Grey (only 1.5 tsp as that’s all I had left) in the conventional manner. It all dyed just fine, but was a nondescript very light grey. So, I overdyed it figuring that if it was completely covered that was OK, but if bits showed through that was OK too. I used RIT dye sort of following their stovetop method. I wanted the look of the low water immersion method, but I didn’t want to use my kitchen microwave (which really belongs to my landlord and is rather upscale). I have dedicated pots for dyes and felt more comfortable using them.

Dye Day

I had this piece in two pots on the stove at once, and then overdyed just one end later in a third pot (first photo).  From left to right I used, RIT navy blue and sunshine yellow; RIT taupe and dark green; Procion pearl gray (which is actually under all the other colors too); and RIT taupe, teal, and dark brown.

Dye Day
This is what else was in the taupe and dark green pot.

Dye Day
This is what else was in the taupe and teal pot that I thought was too green so I added brown, but I added too much, so it’s just brown.

Dye Day

The last batch was overdyed with RIT dye also using the stovetop method and 1 tsp Navy Blue + 1 tsp Sunshine Orange and a lot more water than the first two batches. Most of the fabrics were cotton or a cotton blend. However, the far right is Lutradur (a kind of interfacing) that accepted the dye completely differently. Interesting.

Despite the batting blowout and the seemingly blah colors, I am very happy. My concept for the batting is to use it where something is being cut away in a raw sort of way, so the batting looking like viscera isn’t an entirely bad thing. The other project needs stone colors, so I think that the muted grey, green, and browns are just perfect.

25 Mar


Yesterday I discharged. I used Jaquard Discharge Paste, which works nearly as well as bleach on hand dyed fabrics and is a bit less toxic. I slopped it around on some of the dyed marbled fabrics I was dissatisfied with a week or two ago. It definitely lightened things up, but the results look more worn and scuffed to me than hot and molten. I think this photo shows better how the black paint has faded than the pre-discharge photos do. What it also shows is a few pieces of very hot orange fabric from my quilt mom Gerrie, which I think are great candidates for more marbling. I also have an interesting piece of orange flowered fabric from blog friend Mary that’s been twisted and dyed black, which has some lava potential as well.

This has been a great experiment. I may use a few tiny bits of these fabrics, but I am inspired to keep trying other things until I get the finished result I want. I’m pretty sure that marbling on orange will get me the colors I envision, but I’m not wild about how the marbling paint behaves after washing. I’m going to try marbling with fiber reactive dyes next. I’ve queried the dye and marbling source, Dharma Trading Company and though they had no formulas for me, they did think I was on the right track.

On the more successful side, I discharged some roots for another project. Since discharging on hand dyed fabrics can produce unexpected and wonderful colors, I tried three different fabrics just to see what happened.

The top fabric is a cotton duvet cover that I had previously tie dyed turquoise and then a reddish brown. I over-dyed it with a green mixed from blue and yellow dyes I had.

The center piece is an ochre/brown commercial print over-dyed with the same green as the piece above. I was kind of hoping that the discharge paste would only go through the dye and reveal the commercial print, but I got the same turquoise as above.

The bottom piece is a linen tablecloth I had previously dyed reddish brown and baby poop color. I over-dyed it a darker green made with a different yellow, the blue and some black and leftover mystery dye (I know, very scientific).

I quite like the tie dyed shapes on this one and the roots discharged to a nicely contrasty turquoise that intrigues me.

But I’m thinking I’m going to use this one because of the loamy, earthy, colors and texture.

14 Mar

The Marbled Fabric Dyed

In theory, overdying the marbled fabric worked great. In practice though, I should have had a few colors of dye. This red is too bloody for what I had in mind. A clever girl would have dyed two pieces in the dark red, two in bright red, and two in orange. Or maybe, started with orange, and if it didn’t work, gone progressively darker. Of course, I’ve never been much of a tester when it comes to this kind of thing. I do tend to throw caution to the wind. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I fall flat on my face.

On teh other hand, I overdyed a commercial fabric and two other hand dyes with a  dark peaty green at the same time and they turned out just how I had hoped they would. I have discharge plans for those, and now at Gerrie’s oh so wise suggestion, I’ll try discharging these too. Well, maybe I’ll start with just one!

22 Feb

Fairytale Forest

I’ve been working on this piece on and off since I bought the beautiful hand-dyed background fabric from Dijanne Cevaal nearly a year ago. I kept adding more and more embroidery, but when I’d step back it still looked the same. Finally last week, I just decided I was done for now and stretched it on stretcher bars (like an artist’s canvas) to see how it looked. I’m not sure if it’s truly done, so I’ve set it aside for a while. I think it’s actually too big for what it is because it just begs to be looked at up close. I have not finished the back with anything, so I can still add more embroidery if I want, it will just be a bit harder at the edges where the frame is, and it may affect how taught the piece is (I wet it before stapling it to the stretcher bar frame so it would shrink up as it dried). I keep trying to maintain a balance between a richly encrusted surface with textural fabrics, embroidery and beads, and letting Dijanne’s work show through. A few people who saw it in progress suggested I add a fairy or two. I hesitated at first, but it really did want something to lead your eye about. I had fabric with soft green non-cutesy fairies on it so I added three. This is not a deep thinking, push the barriers of art kind of piece, so I think the fairies are perfectly in keeping with the sparkley yarns and magic toadstools.

Fairytale Forest © 2009  Kristin La Flamme
33″ x 33″