A Dying Fool

Every time I pass by my studio I could hear my new shipment of hemp calling my name.

“Hey Danielle, don’t you want to come and play with me? I know you have lots of new dye upstairs. Come on, you know it’s gonna be fun, hint-hint wink-wink.”

So, me being me, I gave in. I just couldn’t hold out anymore and for the past two weekends I’ve been up to my elbows in dye!

I decided to dye some fabric the Tub method and others using Low Water Immersion. LWI was first introduced to me by my stitchin sister, Justine, a few years ago. It really is my favorite way to dye fabric for two main reasons-
A. It needs way less babysitting than tub dying.
B. You really have no idea what you are going to end up with…at least I don’t.

Fabric dyers have different methods, here’s mine.

First I prewash my fabric in synthropol to remove any factory dirt, grease and/or chemicals. Then I place the damp fabric in plastic tubs and tent it so that it is not smashed down.
Next I add the dye. I use water bottles that I’ve drilled a hole in the cap for squirting the dye solution, which consists of procion dye, water and salt.
I don’t add my soda ash until after I’ve let the fabric sit for a while. This way I am able to save the remaining bottled dye. Some of the dye used in this session was bottled last summer. Once soda ash is added the dye begins to break down. You can also pretreat your fabric with soda ash.

Here is my fabric marinading in dye and soda ash. I let some of it sit over night, others I washed out a few hours later. It just depends on how dark you want the end result to be.
Below each picture I’ve listed the dye colors I used…at least I *think* I used…there was a whole lot of dyin’ goin’ on!

Olive Drab, Golden Yellow & Rust Orange

Rust Orange & Golden Yellow

Midnight Blue & Dark Brown

Avocado & Chinese Red (this one reminds me of watermelon tourmaline)

Chinese Red & Golden Yellow

Avocado & Golden Yellow

For this lovely pallet I used Williamsburg Blue and a touch of Blackest Black for the deepest shade. The fabric on the far right was done in LWI and the rest were in the washer. I was able to achieve the various shades due to adjusting the length of time I kept each one in the dye bath.
I was uber pleased with the result, as I have been working on this skirt for years (in my head that is). It is going to be a Dylan inspired piece. I know it will be very hard for me to give it up once it is created!!!


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