Thursday, April 20, 2006

Chemistry Lessons for the Fiber Artist

Last Saturday, a bunch of my friends and I got together at a quilting shop and took an 8 step graduation fabric dyeing class. I picked Black, expecting to get a nice progression of grays...I was planning on using it for the black to grays needed for the Color and Composition Class that I am taking on the Quilt Studio forum...sigh...the best laid plans of mice and men...don't necessarily work when playing with chemicals!

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Dye is mixed with warm water and salt in a carafe.

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Here I am adding the dye to the first Mason jar. The fabric is added and then the lid is screwed down.

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Every 15 minutes we shook the jars. Instructor Russ said to be careful of any dyes that have blue in them...Too vigorous with the shaking, and you get an explosion! I was careful (black has ALL colors, including blue in it!)

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My friend Julia picked a much better color for progression! A nice yellow. The other colors that the class participants picked were kelly green, violet, red and peach.

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Julia's first piece, rinsed out by the instructor, Russ.

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My results, after washout with Synthrapol and 6 rinses and a full wash with detergent...
Not at all what I expected! I scanned them on top of some real black fabric for contrast. Some of the pieces look olive green, some rather brown and only the last of the eight pieces is grayish. If you are quick, and count the pieces you will see there are actually 9 pieces - the last one in the series was dumped into the leftover dye in a measuring cup...which made it rather mottled. The WOW pieces fared even worse - I have a hard time telling that they any different in shade until I get to the last one....and again the bottom piece was in the measuring cup...

Though my dyed fabric is not what I expected, it WAS loads of fun doing the class. We are going to try the Rainbow progression in a few weeks...that should be way prettier!


Teri said...

Hi Suze,
well, your fabric doesn't look black, but it is still pretty. At least in the picture. You know, I have messed up many dye runs.. the colors not turning out the way I expected. But, iron them, put them away, and you will be surprised that you will run across a project some time that they are PERFECT in.

Granny Fran said...

That sure isn't what I would have expected from black, but I haven't worked much with dye. I imagine you learned a lot from the class as a whole.

Rian said...

Surprising results. I dyed some gray once--tried to anyway--and it came out a color somewhere between lavender and taupe. I also learned to let the black dissolve for a long time before adding the fabric so you won't get little flecks of color like I did.

Sabrina said...

Hi Sue, I am really happy with my fabric results. It goes from deep dark red to a medium pink. I would have liked to have at least 4 more jars so it could have gone to a light pink.

They said we could use the black dye to dye jeans black again. But with yours comming out brown I am kind of leary of that. I guess I should try it on an old pair of jeans first.

Deb H said...

I have learned to approach my dying as an experiment, & let it just happen for the fun of it. That way I never feel disappointed with the results, & I can always overdye pieces that don't sing to me!
I have found I get better colors with the Sabracon dyes, & they have a beautiful Black that is more of a gray-blue-black. You might want to try that. I get it from Pro-Chem.
Your fabric is still lovely though.

Deb H said...

Oh & the reason I came here in the first place was to say THANK YOU! again for helping me. I just spent the last couple hours adding links to my sidebar thanks to you & your easy tutorial!

Debra Spincic said...

back to the drawing board. . . that's the part of dying fabric that doesn't appeal to me (the unexpected!)