Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Ice dyeing - the final chapter

OK I think I'm going to give up on the ice dyeing. Although I liked some of the pieces I've made, I've seen some magnificent ice-dyed fabric by US artist Debbie Krell. Her etsy shop is here and this is one of her amazing pieces.

I tried to do something like this but mine was really terrible. Here it is.

My second attempts were a bit better but really, I'm never going to have the patience to perfect this!

 I think I'll stick to the big scrunchy pieces if I do any more.

Shibori dyeing

I've had fun with this technique this week. I don't like to use any more dye than I need so I cut the top off a plastic drinks bottle to put the dye in. The wrapped pole fitted perfectly.

 Here's the pole before it went in.

 I did two pieces. The first was folded in four then wrapped and tied.

And the second was concertina folded in three, then in half, then wrapped and tied.

And some close ups.

I'm really pleased with these. Can't wait to sew with them.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Confetti dyeing

When I was researching ice dyeing I came across this post by Carol Eaton on confetti dyeing. It looked quite difficult and very messy but I gave it a go. Basically it involves sprinkling on powder dye and then spraying it with water. Initially I tried using a tea strainer as Carol suggested but after a while I found I preferred sprinkling it by hand. Here are some of the first results.

This one is the brown iced dye piece I showed in the post ice dyeing part two. I sprinkled it with dark green. There's a detail below. I think maybe it was better without the green!

Detail of brown piece.

This one is yellow and green sprinkled in stripes.

This one is actually sprinkled with dark brown and pebble beige but the powder was sprinkled very thinly and so the granules didn't have a chance to mix, leaving it mostly blue, red and yellow with no brown at all.

This one dark green, sunflower yellow and rosewood red (I think - I didn't make notes!)

This one was jean blue and burlesque red. Instead of leaving it flat I hung it on the line and sprayed it with water to make the dye run. 

Here's a close up of the drippy one.

Then I saw a striped pattern that Carol had done so I had a go. It's done by folding the fabric concertina style and sprinkling the top with dye. I really like this one. 

This last one was made on pale blue fabric. I folded it concertina wise one way, sprinkled dye on it, rinsed it after a couple of hours then folded it the other way and sprinkled it again. The dye was jean blue. Here it is with the first lot of dye on.

And is the the gorgeous final result.

And a close up.

I think, over all, it's quite hard to sprinkle the dye effectively. Folding and doing stripes is easier and I actually like the results better so I might experiment with that a bit more later.

Natural dyes - avocado

I've read lots  about the lovely pink you can get from avocado skins so I gave it a go. I think I may have over cooked it as I came out with my traditional brown!

So then I poured the dye into a jam jar, added another piece of silk and left it overnight. This time it did come out quite pink. It's much shinier in real life and really rather nice.

Ice dyeing part two

I've done a bit more ice dying over the last two days. For the method see my previous post, ice dyeing part one. First I did this brown piece.

The dyes used were Dylon again and were pebble beige, dark brown and rosewood red. The picture above shows the cloth still wet. When it dried it wasn't quite as vibrant and I didn't like it as much so I over-dyed it. More of that in a later post.

Next I did one one with powder pink and china blue. This was on white cotton and when it came out there was a bit too much white in it so I dipped it in the liquid which had dripped off and was mostly blue. It gave it a nice mottled blue background. I can't quite get the colour right here - the blue is about right but the purple is more purple in real life and there are a few quite bright pink patches and less yellow.

Finally I did another piece using dark brown and pebble beige. This time I did it on a light beige cotton and instead of sprinkling on dry powder dye I mixed them with water first and froze it in ice cube trays. I then put the dye ice cubes on the cloth. I wanted to do this because the brown powdered dye is made up of several different colours and if you sprinkle it on dry some of the granules don't mix and you end up with red, yellow and blue dots. Although that can look quite good, I wanted this one to be all brown so I mixed the dye first. It's come out quite well.

I also did a bit of confetti dying. I'll show you the results in a later post. 

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Ice dyeing part one

I'm so excited by this!

I found some lovely posts about ice dyeing recently and decided to give it a try. It needs bought dyes rather than natural, home made ones as the dye needs to be powdered.

There are lots of instructions on the internet. I used the ones from dharma trading then promptly ignored or adjusted them to suit myself. Basically, you prepare cotton fabric by washing it and soaking in soda ash solution. Well I was too impatient to wash it and I'm not entirely sure what soda ash is so I soaked it in a solution with some added alum left over from my natural dyeing experiments. Didn't measure it, just sprinkled a bit in. I planned to soak it for an hour but then I discovered we had a leaking pipe so I had to turn the water off at the mains and the dyeing had to wait till we got the pipe fixed the next day.

Once your fabric is prepared you squeeze it out, then you can either put it in containers such as jars or lay it on a cooling rack. The ones I saw which were in jars had several layers but the bottom ones were all very dark as they sit in the dye once the ice has melted. The ones on the racks tended to be lighter and more patterned but it seemed to take a lot of ice to pile up over the fabric to stop it from slipping off the edge so I decided to combine the two ideas. I poked lots of holes in the bottom of a plastic container using a skewer heated in the flame of the gas hob (health and safety nightmare). This meant the dye could drip out the bottom but the ice was contained by the sides. Thinking about it, I suppose I could have used an old steamer or possibly those mesh flower pots meant for water plants.

Once your fabric is in place, you cover it in ice cubes (or snow if you have any), then sprinkle it with dye. Leave the whole lot to melt, then rinse the fabric and wash it. Here it is in the plastic container with the ice and dye.

And here it is a couple of hours later when the ice had begun to melt. As these dyes are supposed to be mixed with salt I sprinkled the ice with salt after about an hour but I don't think it needed it; I think the alum would probably have already done the job of fixing the dye.

I left it most of the day but it's quite cold today and we haven't got the heating on so it didn't all melt. On peeking in to the pot I thought the whole thing had gone dark purple so I pulled it out before all the ice had melted and was amazed to find the variety of colours and patterns that had been made. Here's the whole piece. It's about 56cm x 50cm (a fat quarter).

I used four dyes on this. They are Dylon cold water dyes for cotton. They're powdered and they come in a sachet which is much more convenient than the little tins they used to come in. For this piece I used Jeans blue, china blue, burlesque red and powder pink.

And some close ups. I love the patterns and I can't think of any other technique that would get quite the same effect. I wonder who first thought of it. Someone with a very creative mind.

I've seen this technique referred to as ice flowers and I can see why. The close up above reminds me of peonies.

I have three more pieces of fabric prepared and at the moment I've got one of them on the go using pebble beige, woodland brown and rosewood red. I had intended to use a green but I don't seem to have bought green even though I was sure I had. The dyes aren't that cheap but I've only used a teaspoon or two of each so as long as I keep them dry I'll be able to use them for other things. I quite fancy confetti dyeing next.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Silk Sampler bead quilt

Now I've produced so many pieces of naturally dyed silk I thought I ought to do something with them. Some of the pieces are quite small and I wanted to use as many as possible so the best plan seemed to be a little beaded quilt with lots of little sections like a sampler. I deliberately chose bead patterns that left lots of fabric showing as I wanted the dyed silk to show and when I go 'free-style' I end up covering the fabric completely. This is the final piece. It's about 13 inches square.

And some close ups.

And here is the quilt before the beads were added.

All of the fabric apart from the ribbon binding is silk which I've dyed using natural dyes. The dyes used include onion skins, cherry leaves, turmeric, wine, red cabbage and rosemary.