Saturday, January 05, 2013

SNOWDYEING :Big pieces!!

almost 3 yards of undyed fabric on top of 3 yards of previously dyed fabric (see side layered view)and the snow starting to be added..
Fiber reactive dye powders sprinkled on top of the snow. later in the process I sprayed the yellow powder with a spray bottle tomake sure it was hydrated enough to "strike" on the fabric. For some reason the pure Lemon Yellow doesnt dissolve or hydrate fully sometimes.
This piece of previously dyed 3 plus yards was placed at the very botton of the container to absorb the dye liquid run off.
The end results of that over dyed piece.I really liked the muted look.. and so did my friend Jane. Right after I posted these pics of the ironed fabric on Facebook she decided to snatch this one up for future kids clothing projects. She has an Etsy Shop ( ) makes really cute custom kid clothing and does craft shows in the Chicago area.I cant wait to see this fabric made up!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


WOOOHOOO! It finally snowed earlier last month.We didn't get a lot.. but I was determined to try this for the first time.Turns out there was just enough on my car to make it happen!
I kind of followed the instructions for "ICE DYEING" from the "DHARMA TRADING' site. I knew there was going to be plenty of run off from the melting snow and I wanted to utilize all of the dye in that melted snow.
I soaked my PFD Muslin in my soda ash solution, wrung it out by hand and crumpled my half yard piece into the bottom plastic shoe box sized container . The top 2 smaller baskets got smaller pieces. Both sizes of containers were packed pretty tight with the crumpled fabrics.
Normally when I dye, I use only a handful of diferent "pure colors". Turquoise, Scarlet,Fuschia,Lemon Yellow, Gold Yellow,Mixing Blue plus 2 different Blacks provide what I need to mix ANY color.Its is the most economical way to purchase and mix colors.I keep these mixed as stock solutions and use them throughout the summer when I am dyeing outside. At "Art Quilt Farm Camp" this past summer I taught the basic color mixing class with these few basic colors in the stock solutions.
For SNOWDYEING I am using these same basic colors in POWDER form.This is more hazardous and requires the use of a DUST MASK as well as dampened paper on your work area. This keeps any stray powders from flying around, becoming airborne and accidentaly being inhaled. Dharma's Ice dyeing tutorial shows them using Pre-Mixed colors(such as browns ,purples and greens available from them), which break down into more interesting "components". I will be ordering some of these "pre-mixed" colors to test out before the Snowdyeing season is over. I think it would be nice to have a Brown and a Green on hand as a stock solution for faster mixing too.
In the Summer when I dye its pretty easy to get my dyed items up past the 70 degree mark and keep them there for several hours. Thanks to my 2 newly installed dye sinks in my laundry room this year, this winter is the first time I have been able to continue dyeing INSIDE!!! My Laundry room is in a poorly insulated porch that is attached to a breezeway that connects my Studio (which is a renovated Garage). My Studio stays pretty toasty and the heat travels up to the laundry room but I know it doesnt stay 70 degrees in there. I thought I would experiment with last years heated throw ( because I am impatient and I wanted that snow to melt so I could see what was going on!) AND because I knew I had to hit the 70 degree mark if anything was going to take any depth of color.
This worked out so well that I have since dyed 2 more batches,experimenting a bit differently with each. The most important thing to remember is that you want to keep the heated throw DRY!!!!SAFETY FIRST!! AVOID ELECTRIC SHOCK!! All of my fabrics have been in plastic containers and Ive made sure they had no trace of moisture on the bottom. To take it a step further, you might want to wait till all the snow has melted before placing the dry plastic containers on the heated throw.I covered my containers with plastic and then covered them up on top with what was left of the throw. I did this on top of my dryer.In my very last batch I added an extra piece of soda soaked fabric to the TOP of the snow as well to see what would happen.
I used a plastic lid from an under the bed box and then 3 lids from the shoebox sized containers are on top of it with the fabric/snow+dye powder/ and then fabric on top. Since these lids were really shallow I packed the snow down hard on top of the bottom layer of fabric before adding the dye powder.
Dyeing in the shallow lids was a bit akward and I dont think I'll use them again this way. I liked the open baskets with the handles on top of the plastic shoe boxes the best.
My next attempt will be to dye BIGGER pieces as these all have been half yard pieces or smaller. Small pieces worked great for the first 3 efforts and I got a lot of variety!!