Monday, June 07, 2010

The Planets Aligned or I finally got off my butt
The dye bottles lined up more or less in rainbow order, with one green leftover because it is dirty and dark. Great color, just not a rainbow member. I also mixed up a teeny bit of black (not pictured) to add in small amounts as I go along. I need lables to make sure I am using the right color, but don't have any, so it is just a hope that I pick the right bottle. They are moist and slippery and I dropped magenta on the concrete and will have to powerwash the stain or hear "I told you so". A little bleach will take care of it.

I am dyeing silk today and have presoaked them in soda ash and spun them out in the washing machine. I combined three dry layers first and rolled them up and placed them in a Rubbermaid bin with the soda soak solution.
I left out this important step: After the fabric is soaked in the soda ash water, it is wrung out and then put in my washer to spin out the excess water. Then putting one roll of three layers on a sheet of styrofoam,  and unrolling them...
Then I pour the dyes on. This is a no brainer.

But the fabric is wet and the dye is wet and it gets to be too much, I discovered long ago.

So I place a dry untreated piece of cotton on top to soak up the excess liquid. In seconds the excess dye is absorbed by the cotton and produces interesting patterns on that layer. The soda ash is already in the dye from the presoaked silk and so it works to dye the cotton too. Trust me on this.

Here is that same piece on the shelf. The pleats that were white are now colored. Some parts of the cotton are white, but the silk underneath looks just smooth or with bubbles, but nothing of the patterns that are visible on the cotton.
It's pretty cool how this works.
The weather is dry and sunny with no humidity and just perfect for a dye day.
I dyed six platters, with 18 half yards of silk and six pieces of cotton. Lots of dye is leftover and I will do more tomorrow, when this stuff is dry, hopefully.
I am not covering the fabric, not using salt, urea, or anything but soda ash and dye and water. When the fabric is dry, it is done. If it dries in a few hours I can wash it out today. I doubt it, as it is not very hot.


  1. Mel, do you like the styrofoam better than the plexiglass?
    No plastic over the fabric?
    would you cover it with plastic if it as hotter? (85-90's)
    Thanks Katherine

  2. Very cool. Love the shelf for drying. Great tips here. Just came in from dyeing some yarn outside today. Hope to have some pictures up later.

    Dye On,
    Kate - The Garden Bell

  3. I DO DO DO like the styrofoam better than the plexi because
    1. I can't get plexi anywhere here in the boonies
    b. The styrofoam is so light and that makes it much easier to move from table to shelf.
    3. The styrofoam is cheap compared to the plexiglass and easy for me to cut to just the size I needed.
    c. The styrofoam is so hoseable to clean off.

    I will NOT be covering the wet fabric. As soon as it is dry it is finished dyeing. Trust me on this. After years of experience, I know that the dye works just fine this way and is as intense as if I left it alone for 48 hours under plastic.

  4. Anonymous2:37 PM

    Let me start by saying I know absolutely nothing about dyeing fabric, except the packaged sets I pick up in the supermarket to machine dye faded clothing etc. So, my question is:
    Does Soda Ash 'set' the dye permanently?

    My dye package tells me to add/use 1lb of salt in the machine when using only 1 packet of dye but if I use 2 or more then I don't need to add anything else.

  5. Anon, I am using procion fiber reactive dyes not the ones you buy at the supermarket (Rit is a union dye), so see my other site for all the rest of the questions you might have.

  6. Anonymous4:36 PM

    Hahaha... What fun to watch you dye fabric again! I think I've probably dyed fabric 50 times (you taught me how), but I was SO anticipating your "dye" day. I left the house early today and then realized later that today was probably THE day!! Anyway...I skidded home to watch you do it one more time...hahaha... Crazy. I can't even dream of low humidity here in Houston, but I'm inspired to spend the day dyeing tomorrow. Thanks Mel!! You're an always!

  7. Anonymous10:25 PM

    do you dye flat or on incline? the colors are great. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Judy from Northport10:55 PM

    Beautiful, Ms Mel. Are you actually stacking 3 ash-soaked pieces of fabric and applying the dye onto the top layer, or am I not understanding?

  9. Anon, Yes I am dyeing flat or the colors would run into a puddle. Flat is really important.
    Judy Darling, Yes I am putting three layers together and dyeing them at once. This makes it easier to keep the dye from running off, plus why not make as many pieces as I can from the dye in use.

  10. Absoloutely yummy! I didn't realize you were doing silk in your previous posts! Will your method work as well on all cotton pieces?

  11. Thank you SO much for the comments about using styrofoam under the fabric. I truly appreciate your generosity. I did a little dyeing this weekend using a printout of your instructions, and I get great results.

  12. Wow, Melody...they're gorgeous. I got 8 boxes unpacked dyes but I know they'll show up. And...I got a new, large TV and there is the perfect piece of styrofoam from the packaging!!!! I almost put it in the trash until I thought of you!!! I can't wait to refer back to this post and the other blog when I get everything together!

  13. You are a joy, Melody. Thanks, as always, for sharing your techniques!

  14. Great share!

    It's more of the technical knowledge cover in this article. Covering everything related to the Dustless Blasting Machine. I think you are doing great job generally of being visible in the machines blogging market.

    We are grateful for that and it;s exactly the kind of thing we recommend to our readers to know the full information of the products.We all have the same amount of hours in a day so put them to good use. So, Here some of the machine information we also added for the customer that know everything on the Blasting Machine and buy machine online.

    Dustless Blasting Machine like - Dustless Blasting Machine Manufacturer, Dustless Blasting Machine in India, Dustless Blasting Machine Price, Dustless Blasting Machines, Dustless Sand Blasting Machine, Dustless Shot Blasting Machine, Dustless Grit Blasting Machine and various others Dustless Blasting Equipment. Keep it works and share with us your latest information.

    In short, there is a lot to learn machine information on this article. It's all got a lot better than before!t. Value that list of thousands but I'll get there.

    Thanks for sharing all of this with us. Have a nice week ahead, and Happy Thanksgiving as well .
    Contact Us at - +91-7413897813 OR Visit at :

    Also Check Our Top Products :-

    Sand Blasting Machine | Portable Sand Blasting Machine
    Shot Blasting Machine | Portable Shot Blasting Machine"
    Blast Room | Blast Room System
    Steel Grit | Steel Shots
    Arc Spray Gun | Thermal Spray Gun
    Powder Flame Spray Gun | Wire Flame Spray Gun
    Aluminum Oxide | White Aluminum Oxide

    Thanks & Regards!
    Rahul Sharma.


So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com