Sunday, November 19, 2006

Color, Color, Color!!!

Despite feeling under the weather (I've been trying to catch a cold for a week, and I think it is finally winning), I decided to try something new (for me) with dye. My son Sean gave me a copy of Ann Johnston's Color by Design last Christmas, and I've been reading it off and on ever since. Saturday I jumped in with both feet.

I'm lucky to have dedicated space for dyeing- I have a sort of wet studio right next to my sewing studio. Cement floors, a large laundry sink, a nice large counter with room for supplies underneath, and room for a largish table. It feels cramped sometimes, but it sure beats taking over the kitchen to dye, which is what I did in our last house. Courtesy of DD Shannon, here I am in my glorious dyeing attire mixing dye concentrates and print paste.

First lesson learned- dye concentrates for painting go a VERY long way. I mixed a half recipe, and still ended up throwing more out than I like. I think I mixed about 8 colors, some single-shade dyes, and some mixed dye colors.

I used foam brushes, foam rollers, a big syringe. I love texture, and you certainly can get wonderful texture this way. It's also very different from the texture effects I get on my low-water immersion dyed fabrics.

I'd put about six fat-quarter size pieces to soak in soda solution the day before, and took out half to dry overnight. When I realized I would have tons of dye left over, I got more fabric soaking- but was too impatient to let it dry. So I have a good idea of wet on wet effects, less experience with wet on dry. That will just have to wait for another day.

Here's some of the first pieces ready to be rolled in plastic and left to batch.

With the arrival of cooler weather, I've had to come up with a way to keep the fabric at 70 degrees while it batches. I've used a heat lamp, cheap and available at Wallyworld. One has worked, but I think I will be getting a second to put on the other side= then I won't feel the need to move the lamp around to make sure all the fabric gets under the lamp at some point. Here is all the fabric rolled in plastic, before I cleaned up the mess in the studio!!

Today is my favorite part, washing out the fabric to see what I have. As I expected, I got some dogs and some that I like. Some look like they will be usable with some further surface design work- if nothing else, it will give me something to practice on. I particularly like the ones I've posted below:

And now that all the pieces are ironed, folded, and ready for the stash- I am going upstairs to bed. Hopefully with lots more tea and Nyquil, I can feel like a human again.


Ferret said...

Heat lamps, very clever. I have only dyed things in the summer because of exactly this problem. I will have a look for somewhere in the UK to buy them.

Sarah said...

what fun! love the results!

Elle said...

I love seeing everyone's studio experiments! Thanks for sharing!