Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hand Dyeing Class Aug 2, 2009

The summer is simply awesome for hand dyeing. I can get outside, not worry about dye splatter, lugging buckets or space. It is typically when I host dyeing classes in my driveway. I have a nearby water source, a couple of large tables, buckets galore, and a long clothesline.

Having said all that, Mother Nature forced me to take my show indoors. My students (3) took it all in stride.

We started the day doing full immersion. I wanted to do this because low water immersion (LWI) is so popular and easy that it is rare to see the technique for full immersion done. Full immersion is the best way to guarantee a solid result, as opposed to a mottled (varied shading) result.

I mixed the dyes and the dye chemicals beforehand, and asked the students to choose two colors from the 64 box of Crayola Crayons. They chose: (left to right, pictured above) chestnut, mulberry, cadet blue, turquoise, orange. I added saffron (not pictured) and we also dyed t-shirts. With some of the leftover dye, I dyed a pair of cotton slippers.

The next technique was LWI; my sample is the blue fabric (third from left). I'm sure one of the things they took away from the day was an understanding of why hand dyes are so expensive, and why it is important to write things down in case they want to repeat their results.

We also did a parfait technique --I think that is what dye expert Ann Johnston calls it as well. The fabric second from the right was dyed squeezing they dye we had mixed on t-shirts.

The only color that didn't seem to be what I expected was the chestnut (far left). It seemed it might in the photo, but does not look that way when I hold it up to plum colored fabrics. It does look brown. The eye can fool you. When I spoke with them after the class, they were very pleased with their results, and want to come out and play with dyes again, though I'm not prepared to do this in my kitchen!

I am preparing to use the oranges on a candy corn quilt for Halloween....stay tuned!

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