Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Great Kitchen Dye Caper

So at Quilt Camp this year, I won a tub of dye supplies (door prizes are good things)... and its been a while since I've had a day to really get into it. Last week, my friend Judy and I dyed some blue-green-yellow combos, so now that I have the bug, it was time to pop the top of tub and see what was inside. The tub was donated by Hands On Hand Dyes ( (Thanks, Cindy!) and is a great way to get the basics going. They offer 3 color ways, mine was "Garden" with rich primary, secondary and tertiary colors. All from 3 dye colors. So in the tub was all the stuff, the dye: the chemicals, the tubs, the fabric, oh, and instructions.

Since I don't have a dye studio at home (yet!), I cleared the kitchen, put painter's plastic on the wall and counter, plopped down an old beach towel (that could be sacrificed to dye goddess if need be), and went to work.. These are the dye "parfaits", each layered to get a light, medium, and dark fabric in each shade. The full strength dye is at the bottom, and "bleeds up" into the next fabric and the next, so the lighter shade is on top.

After I did the first set of dyes, I had some of each base color (blue, red, yellow) left over. So I grabbed an addtional half yard of prepared fabric and tossed it in a bucket, sort of folded pleated scrunched. And poured the left over dye over the fabric in sections. The dye will bleed and flow where it wants to, and that was the idea. Since this fabric was dry, I had no idea what I would get... After the dye played for a few minutes, I added the soda ash solution and it turned a horrible green color, so I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. And I like it!

And finally, after several hours, crossed fingers, incantations to the dye goddess, a good dose of Synthrapol to set the colors, and a hot iron, I had 36 fat quarters in 12 families and 3 gradations... only 2 are so pale that I'm not sure where they came from, but the rest are YUMMY! And the pale ones can always be overdyed.

Now, what to do with them? The wheels are turning... and I'm off to dye more fabric this afternoon.


Approachable Art said...

Nice work on your gradations... I'm crazy for those, as well, and did some very lovely ones over this past summer. :D

RedHeadedQuilter said...

Cathy Miller gave me the link to your blog. I've never done a dye parfait before. I like the idea, but I think I'd be tempted to push the layers down into the dye more so that the top pieces weren't quite so pale. I love the deep, rich colors.

Wendy said...

Thanks, Red.... I've found several ways to do gradations, this was my first attempt... and I didn't like the pale ones either! One of these days I'll over-dye them!