October 24, 2016

Folding and dyeing

While I continue to develop screens for printing designs on napkins, I thought I'd also try some folding techniques, while I also tried out a few more colors.  In these seven napkins, each fabric square was dyed one color, low water immersion, and washed out.  Then I soda-soaked again, folded in various patterns, and overdyed with a 3% solution of Dharma's MX Indigo dye.  Depending on the base color, the dark blue Indigo overdye either stayed dark blue (over light blue and lavender) or changed as it merged with the base color (most noticeable on the rust colored fabric, where the orange and blue together turned the darker color to more of a brown).  Here's a record of the folds, starting at the top and going left to right for each row:

  1. Light blue base:  a diagonal accordion fold, with dark blue applied in horizontal bands.
  2. Gray base: diagonal accordion fold
  3. Pumpkin base: folded in half to make a triangle, then accordion folded perpendicular to base of triangle.
  4. Tan base: One corner secured with a clothespin, holding on to the opposite corner, I twisted the fabric like a rope.
  5. Green base:  folded vertically, and then a flag fold.
  6. Rust base: folded vertically, then folded horizontally into small squares.
  7. Lavender base:  This one not folded, but simply scrunced into a tight "hockey puck" in the base of a small plastic container and the dye poured on both sides.
My goal is to have designs that look appealing when the napkin is folded, as well as when it's open.  Getting the design to look good on the folded napkin is the more challenging of the two.  I think all of these work OK, with my favorites probably #1, 4, and 6.  I like #3 better in the folded state than unfolded.  Your opinion most welcome!


  1. I love this concept of folding to get patterns! Did you figure out the folds as well as how/where to apply the accent color yourself or did you learn this in a class or book? I'm impressed.

  2. I like them all except #4. Tan is too neutral for me Beth "all color all the time" Berman. I think the shibori idea is a good one.

    1. Yes, trying a neutral was a second thought--not what I'd prefer, but my intention is to make these for gifts, and I was wondering if some people might like a neutral. Tomorrow I'm going to a one-day meet-up with quilting friends, so I'll have a chance to get feedback from a variety of people.

      I still haven't decided what to do about sets (of four or six), and will probably try both: One or two patterns but all different colors, or one color combination and all different patterns.