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,


Sharon said...

The colours look wonderful Linda... I have always promised to dye some fabric for my cross stitch projects - but never have ;) I think my limited space and mess have always put me off... I did watch a youtube vid on dyeing - the person dyeing the fabric looked like she was going to inspect a bio chemical spill - that and her surrounding area was covered in high grade heavy plastic... Years and years ago I di wax resist dyeing - but again the added hot wax with small children put me off - but I did enjoy the process and the results because with dyeing there is always that surprise element to it...
Look forward to seeing more

Sharon H

Robbie said...

You really did get some great colors!!! Now to do something with them! HA

Linda Steele said...

I hear what you are saying Sharon, dyeing is a big, messy job. People get addicted to it though. I think it gets more interesting when you start to mix the colours and you get those lovely in between colours.

Linda Steele said...

So true, Robbie, now I have to start using these fabrics.

Gina E. said...

Dying fabrics is something I have never considered doing myself for several reasons - the mess and tedious work involved for a start! Secondly, one can find the most beautiful hand dyed fabrics at some of the craft and quilt shows, or on the internet if one is after a particular shade or colour. Yours look beautiful, and I have no doubt you will find a use for them eventually. (Or sell them on eBay!)

Linda Steele said...

I think the main reason that people dye fabrics is so that they can get the different values in the same colour, it's hard to get that in commercial fabric. The other reason is that Art Quilters think it is more their own work if they have dyed the fabric. It is a lot of work though, I probably won't do much of it.