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.