Sunday, October 4, 2009

How I Dyed

A few people have asked how I got the results with my adventures in dyeing, so I thought I'd post it here.

First, the color dye....I used Procion dyes and you can see in the set up photos a few posts down that I just used a card table in my garage, some quart size zip-top plastic bags, an old shower curtain pole suspended over one of my kids sleds (a trick I learned in Robbie Joy Eklow's first book) and bottles I picked up at the beauty supply store that are supposed to be for hair dye (long tip squirty bottles). First I pre-soaked my PFD fabric in a soda ash solution, squeezed out the excess back into the soda ash bucket (use gloves!), then either bunched it up in a bag or draped it over the pole. Next I mixed my dye colors using all the necessary safety precautions - respirator, gloves, etc. - straight into the squirt bottles, then proceeded to squirt the colors of choice either into the bags which got mushed about to distribute the color(s), or across/down the fabrics draped on the poles. I even threw one FQ into the sled (drip catcher pan), which turned out to be one of my favorite ones! I left it all to batch for a few hours, then did the 'rinse,repeat' until the water ran clear, at which point I gave it all a good hot wash in Synthropol (colors separated), more rinses and then dried and ironed it all. I know there are dyers out there who have controlled formulas for achieving consistent results. Fascinating to me, but I'm not one of them! I think it's fun to just say 'what if'...that's how I approach most of my work. I mixed the colors until they looked yummy and from there I played.

For the rusting...the first few photos were done by fan folding the fabric, wrapping it around a decorative, unfinished metal stair picket, and then wrapping that with unfinished floral wire. I covered it in plastic wrap and left it outside for a day or two. The last photo was done with metal washers in various sizes tucked into the fabric folded multiple times. In all cases I pre-soaked the fabric in a white vinegar/water solution, mixed about half and half, squeezed out most of the liquid, then proceeded as described. I washed the final products in hot water and Synthropol. Sometimes I soak the end results in a salt water bath before I do the final wash.

It doesn't take a great lot of space to do. Time, yes. Which is why I only processed about 6 yards in this session. But it's all really easy and fun to do!

Give dyeing a try!

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