March 31, 2016

Dyeing and discharge trials for images of stones

I'm back to working on the large quilt having to do with stones.  In my previous post on this quilt, I mentioned being unsatisfied with the composition of rectangles.  I have played some with that, but it's still unresolved.  I decided to work on another aspect, and come back to the composition later.  As indicated on the sketch of the quilt, I plan that some of the rectangles will contain some kind of images of stones.  This past week, I've done a number of trials, using all the surface design techniques I thought might yield the kind of gestural, abstracted image I'm thinking of.  Here are the results, with techniques listed below the image.  (The details about all this are as much for my own record as for other readers--feel free to skip over them!)

·       flour paste resist, drawn into and then discharged with Thiox
·       flour paste resist, drawn into and scraped with thickened dye
·       thickened dye, stamped on
·       clear print paste used as a resist, then scraped with thickened dye

·       monoprint with thickened dye
·       Color Magnet, painted and drawn
·       thickened dye, painted and drawn
·       Thiox paste used to paint and draw

·       Cleanline resist used to paint and draw

I started out with the intention of using line drawings, and thinking that the flour paste resist would give me the best results.  But I tested out painting and stamping more solid images as well, and am very glad I did, as I think those gave the best results.  Here are the ones that I will be following up with more trials:
Cleanline resist, painted onto light gray fabric, overdyed with medium gray, LWI [low water immersion]

Jacquard Color Magnet, painted onto white fabric, then overdyed with medium gray

Thiox discharge paste, painted on.  When I do further trials, I will cut off the discharge process sooner, for a less opaque result.

Thickened dye, painted onto grey fabric.  The monoprint images were very similar to this.

Thickened dye, stamped onto gray fabric.  I diluted the color too much, but definite possibilities using stamps.

Four years ago, in a workshop with Carol Soderlund, I made a number of stamps with shapes of stones.  Towards the end of my trial process this week, I remembered I had these somewhere, and dug them out.  Very glad I did.  In further trials, I will use these with discharge as well as with different concentrations of thickened dye.  Below are stampings I did at that 2012 workshop.

I am excited by these results and look forward to further trials using these selected techniques.  The discharge option is the trickiest, as the color the fabric discharges to varies according to the exact dye applied before the discharge.  I'll also have to keep better track of the concentration of thickened dye that I use for the painting/stamping processes.  Sometimes a quilter has to behave like a lab scientist!


  1. I think I might try putting jellybean size pebbles in a dishpan and add dye. I'd try again with smaller pebbles in a dishpan. Just let the dye fall into the valleys. Also LWI in a plastic bag or dish, really scrunched up - don't touch. I just dyed a purple blouses in a dish pant, scrunched it up and left it over night. Wonderful marks and figures.