Friday, January 7, 2011

Preparing your dye and fabric

The first thing I do when I am starting to dye is to prepare my fabrics. In the book I have you dye fat quarters of plane fabric in six different gradations. To get ready to dye the first gradation you need to get your fat quarters ready. I have found that this method works really well. I suggest if possible NOT to dye in your kitchen. Find a place that is away from food preparation, the garage, basement, or back yard.
You do want to work on a counter high surface. I have a table in my basement that I have lifted on PVC pipe. Or the top of your washer and dryer works well too if you cover the surface with an old towel or blanket.
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First fill the container that the fabric will soak in with hot water and add in the sodium carbonate. I use a 5 gallon bucket and fill it about 3/4 of the way with hot water. I add in 1 cup of sodium carbonate and swirl it around. It is nice if you have a bucket with a lid, but not necessary.
Second I rip all my fabrics into fat quarters. The gradation in the book is a 12 step gradation so you need 12 fat quarters, or three yards of fabric. Rip a yard in half and rip the two halves in half. Make a stack of these fabrics and number them with a black sharpie marker in the corner. Number them from 1-12 and stack them with number 1 on the top. Then take them as a unit and push them into the bucket so that all the fabric is soaking and the number 1 fabric is on the top. After about 15 minutes of soaking pull them out so that they hang over the edge a bit and it is easy to grab the number 1 fabric when you start your gradation.
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Third you want to prepare your dyes. When you are working with the dyes you want to wear a mask, gloves, and an apron and I like to have a towel tucked into my waist. This is not a glamorous job and you might get a little messy. I have dye clothes that I always wear, old jeans and tee shirt, dye sweatshirt for cold days, dye shoes and even dye underwear. Where dye lands dye stays. ALTHOUGH it will wipe off of counter tops and floors, but you don’t want to take any chances. I also have a rubber mat that I stand on in the basement to cushion. A concrete floor will make your whole body ache after standing on it for any length of time.
We will continue with this on Monday so stay tuned.
Here is one of the colorways that I work with on my own quilts ALL the time.
 Grass Green is one of the fabrics I use all the time. It is a two-tone green made of lime and emerald green that lets me make leaves in almost any setting for my flower quilts. It is one of the new color ways I have added to my "new"fabric page. You need this in your stash.
 The leaves in my "Daffodils" pattern quilt are made from Grass Green fabric.
The background in my class/pattern Field Poppies is made from Green Grass. Tell me what you think?


Relentless Toil said...

I find the color green so easy to be around -- and you're right, grass green should be a key player in the stash. The fade is lovely. Neat to see your process, too.

Anonymous said...

I've heard so many people say that they don't like green, but I'm thinking that they just haven't "met" the right shade of green! I love the greens (and all of the colors, actually) that you pictured. They're wonderful!

Mommarock said...

I'm so glad I found your site! I would love to learn to do this. I see this would work so well with the applique that I want to do. I want the leaves and stems to look more like they have depth and texture and in order to look that way they need to have color depth.. this will be something I need to learn. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and talent!

WandaM said...

I love your grass green, well really all your colors! I've been wanting to dye fabric and I think your book will be perfect. I have to hint about it for my birthday. lol

Gayle from MI said...

Seeing your dye space makes we want to re-vamp my laundry area to use as a "wet studio". That way I can do more dyeing in the winter. I am going to do some snow dyeing, with the mixed dyes I have left over from the summer, this weekend. Why waist the snow?

Frieda said...

Please enter me into your contest! I'm really interested in trying to dye fabric.
Do I need to enter every week?

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