May 3, 2009

Success, on the second try

I set aside a large block of time yesterday for my first dye project at home. Good thing I had another large block of time today, to compensate for the large error I made yesterday. Here were the steps I took, with the goal of dyeing several pieces of fabric that I could cut up for use in "Stonescapes":

1) I dyed several pieces of fabric a pale gray with a full immersion method, with the intention of then doing a second low immersion dyeing to get various kinds of mottling with darker gray and brown. But when I washed out the dye, no color was left. As I reconstructed what I had done, I realized I'd made a catastrophic math error when mixing the dye, using way too much water (by a factor of 10). Since I was aiming for a pale color to begin with, this meant essentially no dye was used. Well, on to Plan B.

2) Not able to face up to another 1-1/2 hours of full immersion dyeing, I went on to the less time-consuming part: adding mottled color onto the still-white fabric, in low immersion. At the same time, I pulled a few of pieces of colored Kona cotton from my stash, two pieces gray and one tan, and did the same on them, after washing this non-pfd (prepared-for-dyeing) fabric with Synthrapol. (Sorry for the dye lingo--it's for the benefit of any dyers out there who may be reading.)

3) This morning I washed out and dried all 7 pieces of fabric. The bottom three in the photo above are the ones done on the commercial Kona. Done! The top four at this point were streaks and spots of brown and gray on white. So,
next I overdyed these pieces, three gray and one tan, using low immersion.

End results: This is all fabric that is definitely usable for my projects involving stones, and I think they'll yield larger pieces with interesting design than what I've been getting when I paint. And I'll triple check my math the next time. . .


  1. Penny -

    fantastic!! Glad to hear that you had the persistence to try again.


  2. I think they look great! Would love to really get into dyeing myself, but I don't have a utility sink or any really good place to do it in. (I need lots of room as I make messes quickly!) So far I have only really had success with fabric soaked in vinegar and wrapped with rusty objects. Your fabrics make me wish I could do more!