Monday, June 17, 2013

Day Two Results

Ta- Dah! We dyed a LOT of fabric, did several different techniques, and had great results.
My cousin Celeste and I have the same birthday, are both first borns, only she is two years younger. It felt like I was working with my clone! She is so quick to understand and follow through, and cleans up after me instantly, which is, of course, necessary.
We mixed up dye in all the standard colors, but made our own green, pink and purple. We didn't need to make a lot of color, since we were not making a huge amount of fabric, just enough for Stripey, Scrunchy, and Special Edition fabrics. Working with muslin first, we pleated our pre-soaked (in soda ash + water) one-half yards onto the 5/8" Styrofoam sheets (4-24" panels cut down from 4'x8' panels, from Home Depot...$12)

Then we carefully poured the dye onto the fabric, rubbing it in and making sure it went through all the folds. We chose colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel, aiming for a smooth transition.
Then it was onto Special Editions. For this technique we used Print Cloth from Dharma a mercerized cotton which produces a crisper surface detail from the dyes, not like the velvety finish of the muslin . Three half yard layers of this cotton were aligned and rolled into a loose tube to soak, and then wrung out and smoothed onto a panel. Dyes were poured on using adjacent colors on the color wheel, and the meeting colors were smoothed with rubber gloved hands. The three layers absorb the dye better, without spilling, and all the layers look the same in the final product. Seriously.  With this technique, there are always some colors which will run with a capillary action into the next color, giving us a third more textured coloration. Occasionally we dropped a bit of yellow onto the blue for contrasting details. We did three panels of these, including one of very, very light pastels which turned out deliciously.

Then we set up outside, which we could have done right from the start, duh, and pleated two pieces of print cloth, six feet long to do some very pastel Stripey. Here it is dyed and still quite wet. The dye was very diluted making the colors much lighter than the previous pieces.

Making sure the fabric was well pleated and pressed down flat we spooned or dripped the dye on and allowed air bubbles to form. This results in a great texture which I have used often in my work. For example, this small work,  Carioca.

After the Stripey was finished the remaining dyes used to make Scrunchy, which uses small plastic Hillshire Farm deli meat containers, scrunching the presoaked muslin into place and pouring the dye over the fabric, making sure no white spots remain under the bunched up fabric.

We had quite a range from very, very light pastels down to deep purple, and had wonderful results from our Special Editions. And when we were done, we played in the garden! Celeste is also an avid gardener and knows lots of stuff that I needed to know. We really made the most of our four days together. In two weeks she retires from her job and will have all these new fabrics with which to design, create, and quilt.


  1. Oh cool...looks like you ended up with some great colors/fabrics!

  2. What a productive and fun four days! I'm sure that final two weeks can't go by fast enough for her to get to sewing with these wonderful fabrics.

  3. What a productive and fun four days! I'm sure that final two weeks can't go by fast enough for her to get to sewing with these wonderful fabrics.

  4. Gorgeous, gorgeous, yummy, awesome! I LOVE your Special Edition fabric! Must try this soon! And I hope your cuz will share pix of what she does with the fabrics, so we can see how it translates into finished pieces! Thanks for sharing your dye session with us!

  5. One word to describe it all is GORGEOUS!!!!

  6. What fun! I'm happy for Celeste getting so much new, beautiful fabric and I'm happy for "us" that you did too! Do you still hang out now and then at your nearby quilt shop? I can't imagine that those women aren't begging for a "dyeing day" or wanting to buy your fabrics!

  7. Wow! That fabric is so amazing! I hope I get a chance to do this someday, maybe I'll be able to find a class. Truly beautiful, beautiful fabrics.

  8. Yum yum yummy! Gorgeous results!!!

  9. There's nothing quite like hand dyed fabrics and those colours are exquisite! Keep them close...they could go missing...!

  10. After seeing this I have to go order some more dyes and get dyeing again! Those are some kinda beautiful.

  11. Those are all such gorgeous fabrics! I have some dyes. I'm too lazy. I need to find a friend to work with!

  12. oooooh! scrummy dyed fabrics. One question though, how do you keep the special editions wet enough to batch without getting marks on the surface? When I cover with plastic I get (occasionally) interesting marks, but would like to avoid this sometimes.

  13. Anonymous8:28 PM

    May I be your new cousin?

  14. Oh what fun! So jealous. Can't dye here. I'm dying to dye!

  15. What delicious dyeing days you two have had! Celeste sounds like the perfect partner. Your pictures and post are wonderful. I can just feel the fun right through my screen.

    I also can appreciate how much rinsing out and drying you have done as well.

    You inspire me Melody. Time to order fabric for my summer dye time. Thanks so much for such great posts!

  16. Anonymous2:45 AM



  17. Genny6:48 AM

    what colours did you use to get the special edition fabrics? All I ever get is murky browns, could you please tell us exactly what the colours were that you used.... thank you!

  18. Is there a reason you work on these panels instead of just your plastic covered table?

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