Monday, December 03, 2012

Back on my Feet

I've been busy getting my life back in order after my knee surgery. All the stuff that piled up has been dealt with and then came the big studio clean up.
I ordered some solid stripsets and then a bunch of Kaffe Fassett fabric and when it all arrived I needed to switch out from painting mode to sewing mode. But before I started sewing I had to do an inventory of what solid fabric I needed to dye. It may look like I have plenty of hand dyed solids, but these are all the leftovers. My fave colors have been all used up. This means it is time to dye again.

Here's a little refresher on how I do the Lazy Dyer Solids.
My fabric this time around is Sewer's Essentials Dyeable Muslin from Joann's. I washed it all and added a lot of bleach to bring it up close to white. this is not necessary, just something I like to do if pastels are needed.
Using a big bucket, I fill it will warm water and the necessary amount of soda ash, in which I then pre-soak the muslin. The fabric has been ripped into half yard pieces, since that is what I use when I fuse, which I may be doing with some of these pieces. After soaking a while, I will extract the fabrics, squeeze out the excess water/soda ash and let them sit while I prepare the dye.
Here comes the dye part. With gloved  hands I will mix some dye with plain water and dump it into the plastic tub. Then I will place the fabric into the dye in the tub and work it into the dye. Squeeze and repeat until the fabric has been totally saturated. Then I squeeze out all the excess dye water I can, place the fabric into a Gladware container, or a plastic bag and then put the next piece of fabric into the leftover dye. Yes, I am using the remaining dye on the next piece which will result in at least three or four shades lighter color than the first. There is no science here, just experience. If the resulting color is blah. I might add some more water and a speck of another color dye, and see what happens. Usually it is great, and results in those weird off colors I use up first.
Now here's my good trick. If I want solids, not crackly color, I will definitely squeeze out all the dye from my fabric and have nothing left to pool at the bottom of the container. Simple.

I usually suggest that the temperature of the room needs to be at least 72-75 degrees Fahrenheit (thank you Spellcheck), but I just placed all the fabric near the gaslog fireplace and that warmed them up perfectly.

I got up at 4:30 am to do the wash out. I am so excited to be back on my feet.
I'll post the finished products as soon as they are dry. Stay tuned.

OK here's the results. Lots of soft pastels which is just what I need. I have plenty of intense saturated colors. But for contrast I need the lights and medium lights.
FYI: I did the wash out in two sessions. All the warms in one load and then all the cools in the second. The soapy water needs to be at the hottest setting, so no dye remains in the finished fabric. And for easier ironing, take the muslin out of the dryer before it is totally dry. Those edges are usually curled and almost impossible to get smooth if pressed dry.
Now...shall I piece or shall I fuse?


  1. Fun! Amazing after all the years I've been dyeing, I still get excited by it! Even reading about your session gets my blood pumping! Can't wait to see what you do with all your wonderful fabrics, now that your knee is better!

  2. Ooh you're putting me in the mood!

  3. You know I'm excited, too! I can't wait to watch this fabric phase unfold. What would be even better is if you had a webcam!! :)

  4. Wow, you make it sound so easy. I might get over my fear of dying cotton and try it!

  5. Piece : )
    You make me believe I can dye!

  6. Those colors are beautiful. Yummy!!!!!!

  7. Glad you have recovered, your fabric is beautiful. Maybe I will try this next year.

  8. FUSE!! Mel, please do a fused piece! I just love your freedom which the fusing encourages!

    Glad you're back on your feet - but don't overdo it - there's always tomorrow,

  9. Thanks for the refresher on dyeing. Your little tidbit hints are so helpful. Now you have me thinking I don't have to wait for the hot summer sun to get my dye fix. :P


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