Category Archives: fabric dyeing

The Last Hurrah

     I have finished fabric dyeing for the summer of 2011. Oh,what a great feeling that is to say! At least until I get home from Vermont , unpack and sort it all and see what I didn’t dye to fill out my stash. So, I will feel absolutely amazing and kind of like superwoman -until I get home. I think the final count is 250 yards since May-craziness.

    This past week I dyed reds. And then an old friend from my Connecticut days,  Lynne, came to spend a few days doing some dyeing and surface design with me. And it wasn’t just some, it was many yards of beautiful fabric that we created.

    It was a hot day on Monday but our pieces dried nicely on the line. Lynne just didn’t stop and created lots of small pieces of fabric and I think her favorite technique was monoprinting using parchment paper.

Lynne’s beautiful hand dyed fabrics. My favorites were her top fabrics-  deep rich overdyes.

    I love these pieces that I clamped but should have used a higher concentration of dye to make the prints darker. Always learning something new each time I process a fabric.

Just playing ended up creating nice texture.

Using up the dyes on the last of my white cotton floss.

After many loads of laundry , caffeine, ice cream and lots of conversation, we created oodles of fabric to use the next year. Not much cooking got done but lots of fabric dyeing. Oh and my dog escaped to kill  the neighbor’s chicken(not good). There is always a dog adventure whenever Lynne comes!

     Lucy, my Bernese rarely chases anything…but I guess the chicken lost.

     Thanks for coming Lynne. Next time, no dog adventures. We both will  need a good nap after we iron all this fabric.

     Be creative, my friends. I can hardly wait to return to actual sewing again.

Jumping Off My Lilly Pad

    I have been floating around in this pond of fabric dyeing all summer and am almost done  with my 200 meter goal for the summer. So I decided it was time to take a break from the dyeing and try one of the new techniques from my last workshop.  ( And thanks to some wise words from a friend.)

     Deconstructed screen printing was it yesterday. So  I jumped in and tried working with some screens I had prepared last week. I didn’t read a thing from my notes but just jumped right in. I knew I didn’t have the right print surface prepared but just tacked my fabric down with some clamps. It actually worked ok, but the clamps didn’t allow me to print off the side of the surface. It was kind of gooey but fun to see how the screen broke down with repeated sweeps of the squeegee and print paste.

I had brought two screens with me. They were varnished with polyurethane so didn’t need taping. I did forget to tape in a well though.

First draw through. Nice marks aren’t they?

 First screen after the washout. Much lighter than I thought  it would be.  Next time I can be bolder or I can add color to this.

Second screen after the washout.

Close ups of some of the more interesting areas. Really nice prints . I need to remember a few more things next time and make an official printing surface but this was a great first try and a technique I look forward to using again.

I only have about 30 more meters left to finish up of fabric dyeing here in Vermont. My friend is coming next week and we will spend two days doing surface design techniques. I made a list of all I wanted to do and it is long.

Jumping off the lily pad from the pond I was in to something new definitely helped push me forward. (Thanks friend for your wise words.)

Be creative, my friends.

Fabric Dyeing Days:#6

     I was weeding the garden this week and really was struck by the purples right now.

I spotted this columbine under the trees and almost missed him in my hurry to finish weeding. I guess I do need to slow down.

My ferns are finally filling in.

Definitely a week of purple flowers. Could I make a gentle purple-more natural?

I think I did it and it is nice and gentle.

Started on the oranges and wanted more of an orange red so will try to do another batch. All out of fabric and will need to order some more.

Very pretty and a beautiful start to fabric dyeing here in Vermont inspired by the colors here. Now if I can get them ironed I will feel like it was a productive work week. Our friends are coming this weekend and we hope to go canoeing.

Be inspired by summer colors out there.

Fabric Dyeing Days:#5

     I really do love to dye fabric. That isn’t a big secret, is it? Started back in on dyeing this week since we had a stretch of sun and warmth. The colors I chose reminded me of the meadows here.

First the lighter colors.

Then a little darker and deeper shades of the same.

I am trying not to do all my typical jewel tones and bright neons. But I missed them when I went to wash these out. More fabric dyeing tomorrow. Stitching at night. Relaxing into summer.

Be creative, my friends!

Color Days:#4

 I am going to keep track of how many days I actually spend dyeing this summer and will share with you my results. I hope you aren’t bored to death but I will spend a considerable amount of time dyeing. Now,  I dye for a few days and then I just get itchy to start stitching a bit.

      It is a love-hate relationship I have with ironing.  I have just finished ironing 45 yards of fabric the past week. Not the part I like. But I sure do love the way newly dyed fabric looks when you are done ironing. Yards dyed=yards ironed.

     The pieces on the right were pleated and tray dyed with an indigo color. Very pretty.

    I will try keeping a better record of my process this summer. At least that is the goal the first week. Just want to see what works and hopefully achieve consistent and reproducible results. I also need to go through my existing stash tonight and see what I need. I know reds, greens and browns.

    Off to stitch. Be creative, my friends!

      Whew, now back to stitching.

Color Days:#3

     Busy, busy, busy at the end of the school year. From one hour to the next and trying to be efficient and not forget any food I have to bring to all these events. I conclude that May and the first two weeks of June are busier than December. Enough though! It has been deliciously warm here and I have been squeezing the fabric dyeing in at very odd times.


     My son said,”Great texture Mom”. A man after my own heart. I love it.

     He graduated from 6th grade this week. Hard to believe he is done with elementary school and so am I. Knowing they are ready to move on and yet not wanting to move forward. Very bittersweet.

    My sweet, sweet little man.

    And my sweet, very hot girl whose team keeps winning in all this heat. 95 degrees last night on a turf field.

     Almost to the lazy days of summer, but not quite yet. Just enjoying the kids and trying to dye fabrics this week. I just washed out about twenty yards from yesterday. More tomorrow.

Be creative, my friends!

More on Color Days: Shades of Blue

      I had two really remarkable dyeing tips come to me the past few weeks-one at my class from a pair of warrior dyers and one I stumbled on this week. I will share with you. (You can laugh if you already knew this stuff and shake your head at my ignorance. Just don’t tell me you already figured it out. )

     When I dye, I prewash even the pfd fabrics. Then I soak them in warm water, wring them out and dye them-dye, soda ash, process them and rinse. Dry and iron. But this time I mistakenly placed all of them in the my soda ash bucket for about 30 minutes. So it was soda ash, dye, soda ash again, process and rinse. LOOK AT HOW SOLID THE COLOR IS!

 I was blown away by this. Now, I know that many things enter into a successful dyeing day-temperature, water, etc….but why have I never tried this before? The soda ash prior to adding color made a huge difference. No mottling at all-just solid blue. (The two pieces on the bottom don’t belong in this photo so sorry to confuse you.) I know I would need to reproduce this sequence to claim success but for yesterday, this was a good day. No rolling out, no significant squeezing, just dyeing.

  Ok, tell me-do you do this? Add soda ash prior to adding the dye ?

  Second fun dyeing tip: When rinsing, dump excess dye from your container. Place your piece of fabric in a bucket of cold water with a few drops of synthrapol for about one hour. Dump your water. Start fresh with your fabric in the bucket -this time hot water with a few drops of synthrapol for one hour. Dump your water, rinse lightly in cold and plop them in the washer with synthrapol. No excessive rinsing even with red. What a difference this makes in the washout. Now like colors need to go in like colored buckets. But the amount of dye going down the drain is really reduced meaning -more stays in your fabric.

     I love anything to make it easier. Maybe it was just the day though…I will find out when I try it again.

P.S. I turned 50 today and as much as I dreaded  it -really worked myself into this mid life crisis the past year-I feel no different than I did yesterday. 🙂 I just love driving myself crazy, don’t I?

Be creative, my friends!

Color Days: Shades of Blue

     I started out a bit slow yesterday making silly mistakes. After not dyeing all winter, I  had a bit of re-arranging to do and I wanted to make a list of what colors I really needed to dye. Since I had been using blue like it was the new black all winter, blue was the color of the day.

     Not as hot as Monday but a beautiful day to dye some fabrics and let it dry on the line.

     Great texture on this linen. It is my new favorite to dye and I am saving these pieces for some hand stitching this summer.

    Also took some time to set up some screens to try de-constructed screen printing that I never had a chance to try at my class secondary to the high humidity. Hopefully today but now must rinse out 15 yards of blues.

     I wil let you know how it turns out.

     Be creative, my friends!

Making Bargains

     I am making a bargain with myself. I know there is vacuuming to be done, a garden that grows out of control and many errands that need to be done. Which I will do AFTER I make myself a print surface and mix up some dyes and print paste. I worked all weekend and want to squeeze in some fabric dyeing in the middle of the last week of school and the sunshine. I will do the other things after I do this. :):)

     I will let you know how it turns out. I need to scrounge around for the other table.

     Be creative, my friends!

Early Morning Painting

     I have always been a morning person. I love a cup of coffee and the quiet of the mornings when everyone is still sleeping and even the dogs are snoozy yet. And this week is no exception. It is rainy and dreary here so my kids-on spring break- are sleeping in.

    With the extra time in the mornings , I have been working to finish up these last class assignments. I only have two more assignments for the Color Theory class and I want to finish them by the end of this week and have all assignments posted. I am really ready to transition back to sewing.

     It looks so easy to mix paint colors but getting an accurate color is really difficult. This palette on the left is a really beautiful color palette with raw sienna added.

     I can’t bear wasting textile paint so I would paint a piece of white cotton with the leftovers on my paint tray. I have a pile of these fabrics now.

     To think I  almost washed the paint down the drain. Even after ironing, the paint remained a bright color and the Setacolor paint left a really soft hand to the fabric. Unlike diluted acrylics.

     All in all, a great way to spend my early mornings with a cup of coffee.