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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Over - Dyeing fabrics

Earlier this month I dyed some fabric in the clear colours of Lemon Yellow, Fuchsia, Turquoise, Grape, Deep Orange and Kelly Green, you can read the post by clicking here.

We had some more warm weather last week and so I over-dyed the fabric for the first time. I wondered if it would be a waste of time especially over-dyeing with the same colour as the first time.

I was really surprised at the result. I did the over-dyeing over a few days so it wasn't a huge, arduous task and it was also a lot easier because I already had the dyes mixed in squirt bottles and stored in the fridge without soda ash added.

Soda Ash is the chemical that fixes the dyes to the fabric and once soda ash is added to dye it doesn't last very long.

The over-dyed colours were much richer and creamier and I loved the result when over-dyed with another colour as well.

In this first photo the four fabrics on the top were dyed twice with Grape and the bottom four were only dyed once.

Grape over-dye

In this next photo I over-dyed Grape with Turquoise. You can see the grape on top and the turquoise over-dye underneath.



Next I tried over-dyeing fuchsia with Grape, I love the colour.



Lemon yellow when over-dyed took on a slight greenish tinge. The top fabrics are dyed once and the bottom four has been dyed twice.



The first 4 fabrics in the next photo were orange over-dyed with orange and the next 4 photos were lemon yellow over-dyed with orange.



Then I tried orange with a yellow over-dye. The top 4 photo are orange and the bottom 4 are orange over-dyed with lemon yellow.



When I over-dyed lemon yellow onto turquoise they immediately turned green, because blue and yellow make green.


Lastly I over-dyed turquoise fabrics with turquoise and got a lovely rich turquoise colour.



I was surprised at how much better the colour is when the fabrics are over-dyed but of course that means dyeing your own fabric is double the work. What surprised me most of all was how much softer the over-dyed fabric felt compared to just once through the dye.

The next question is whether I want to continue dyeing fabric or not, I am not sure that I like all the work involved. I will have to see how and if I use these dyed fabrics first. The clear colours are much brighter than I am used to, I usually like colours that are a bit more subtle.

The cooler weather is upon us in Australia so that is probably the end of my dyeing for a while anyway. I wonder if I will have used these fabrics by next summer. This is my year of experimentation and I have no idea how I will end up working by the end of the year.

AQC starts on Thursday and goes through until Sunday, I will be there every day. I am really looking forward to seeing all the quilts, the shops and most of all catching up with quilting friends from all over Australia.

Bye for now,
Linda

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Quilters Color Club

I have the book by Christine Barnes called The Quilters Color Club.



Christine Barnes knows a lot about colour, I also have another book of hers plus I receive her newsletter by email.

I have set aside this year as a year of experimentation and maybe a change of direction and so I decided to do the colour exercises in Christine's book.

I must admit that I already know a lot about colour and the colour wheel but I am sure there is even more to learn.

Christine writes about a colour group and then suggests an exercise, she recommends that you do the exercises with a group because that way you find even more colour combinations and that would be good but for now I am a group of 1!

She also recommends that you use an easy quilt block and attach the fabric with a glue stick. Super easy.

The first exercise I did was about Value.

Value
Dark values come forward and light values usually recede, you can see that with the different value star points.

Next I had to make a block with all warm colours and all cool colours.

Warm and Cool
Christine suggests that all warm can be a bit aggressive and all cool can seem too cold.

We then had to remake the blocks but adding one cool fabric to the warm block and one warm fabric to the cool block.

Warm and Cool plus one
Apparently people prefer a mix of temperatures; a touch of the opposite temperature makes the quilt more balanced and interesting.

The next subject was Intensity; we had to make an intense or bright block and a low intensity or dull block.

Intensity
High Intensity colours come forward and low intensity colours recede although value can over-ride intensity.

It didn't take long to make up the blocks and actually it was fun.

I'll have to make time to continue with the book.

Bye for now,
Linda

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Dyeing Clear Colours

When I did my two weeks of classes with Nancy Crow at the beginning of the year she said that my colours were too greyed and I needed some clear colours. After being with other women and their clear colours for two weeks I must admit that I started to like the clear colours.

I had been meaning to dye some fabrics ever since I got back home but life was busy and I didn't get around to it. Last week we had a burst of beautiful warm weather and I had a couple of free days so I finally got out all my dyeing supplies.

I have the book by Linda Johansen called Fabric Dyers Dictionary and she mentions the names of clear and muted procion dyes.



 I had to order a couple of the colours from the USA because they weren't readily available in Australia not that I could find anyway. The book is fabulous with lots and lots of colour recipes. I was going to use Linda Johansen's method of dyeing but in the end I used the Elizabeth Barton method that I have used before and had already written the step by step notes for it.

With Elizabeth Barton's method you make up the dyes and store them in squeeze bottles, because they have no soda ash added to them the dyes can last for a few months stored in a fridge.





I dyed one metre lengths for the first time, I have only dyed fat quarters before and it was a lot more dye and a lot more work especially as I was dyeing four values of 6 different colours.

I let the fabrics batch in the sun outside because dyes love the warmth.



How naive I was; I thought I would quickly dye the fabrics in the morning. It took me all day! I always underestimate how long things will take.

I was exhausted. I rinsed them a couple of times and then let the fabrics soak in buckets of water overnight. That always speeds up and lessens the amount of rinsing time.

It took another day to rinse, wash, dry and iron the fabrics. I used 4 values of 6 colours and so I ended up with 24 metres of fabric. It's a lot of fabric, no wonder I was tired. It is much easier to buy that much fabric, but it would still take quite a while to wash and iron 24 metres.

Here are the results,

Fuchsia and Kelly Green
Deep Orange and Turquoise

Lemon Yellow and Grape
You use so much water and there is so much cleaning up and you have to be so careful not to splash dye everywhere, I was complaining to myself and saying that I will never dye fabrics again.

The results are always so satisfying though. I still have left over dyes and seeing as they are already mixed I might just over-dye the fabrics that I have just dyed.

Nancy Crow always over-dyes; she says the colour is richer and creamier. I'd never heard of anyone doing that before but I was reading a book on colour and art quilts the other night and she also said that she always over-dyes.

Even though I said that I would never dye again, I will cut the metre lengths in half and over-dye one half in the same colour and the other half with a different colour. I am interested to see the results and seeing as the colour is already mixed it won't be such a big job.

I will never dye so much fabric in one go again either. I have only kept 8 containers and that is all I will dye in any session. Maybe if I keep the process more manageable and fun and it won't be so exhausting.

There are a couple of sunny days forecast next week.

Bye for now,
Linda