Friday, October 21, 2005

Surrender to the Dye: The Experiment Begins

That’s quoting Mrs. Mel. So I have just finished ironing my first batch. I read somewhere that painting fabric should be process-oriented, not product-oriented and I assumed that dyeing would be the same. This advice went something like this: don’t work with a specific project in mind, just have fun. Well, I did that, sort of. Cynthia Corbin’s supply list recommended the following for fabrics

Solids, mottled, hand dyes, "solid-ish" fabrics 1/2 yard to 1yard pieces; good range of colors; range of values dark to light (have some very light and some very dark).

Well, I don’t do hand-dyes. And I am way over my fabric budget. And hand-dyes are so precious. So I thought this was the perfect time to experiment.

I had been accumulating supplies and was typically indecisive about what fabric to use. The Kona turned out to be kind of "flabby" and I think I like the Pimatex the best. I now read in the Dharma catalog that the Kona is 60 x 60 ( 4.4 oz / sq. yd) and the Pimatex is 133 x 78 (3.7 oz/sq yd). Pimatex might be manufactured by Kaufman but I’m not sure. I have a small amount of something called Hoffman PFD that I will also try for my next experiment.

I dyed small pieces of silk (Habotai 8mm) in each batch and almost swooned over the pieces before they had dried but they are much better wet than dry. I’m still glad I tried this.

I was hoping for a mottled appearance so after adding the dye solution to the fabric, and scrunching the fabric around, I poured some extra solution into the plastic tubs and it pooled at the bottom. That was good. The "purple" sample is the most mottled. There are issues with how the red dye dissolved. I still love everything.

I ended up with 22 fat quarters and I’m thrilled with my results and can’t wait to play again. I think dyeing could be my next addiction. I don’t know how anyone could be depressed using yellow dyes.

I'm Dyeing

I’ve been dyeing. Everyone was getting in on the fun and I’ve succumbed. I’m having a blast. I’ve used the Lazy Dyer methods of Mrs. Mel . I’m a scientific sort so I’ve been trying this out on a small scale, with different PFD fabrics, keeping a log of what I’ve tried. The hardest bit is the record keeping.

I made my first trip to the shrine, Dharma Trading. I bought some of their Pimatex PFD cotton. I also gave myself permission to buy their Habotai 8mm silk, just for fun. I have no use for silk but it was irresistible and it was for science. I can buy Kona PFD at my job as that is what they carry and I used that too.

It feels so legitimate to be dyeing my own. What’s with that? Is it more art-like? Is it the hand-dyed thing? I still love commercial fabrics, honest.

I’m taking a class with Cynthia Corbin tomorrow. She is the speaker at EBHQ on Monday night. The class on Saturday is Abstract Forms – Getting It Together.

I hope to have some pictures to post on Sunday.