Friday, 22 January 2010

Snow Dyeing

I am not a great lover of snow or dyeing but combined they aren't half bad!
 Trudi over at Quilting Prolifically inspired me to have a go at what turned out to be great fun and it will be a good reminder of our snowy weather in early 2010.

I haven't done a great deal of dyeing before and its something I prefer to leave to the professionals like Dye Candy.  But I did manage 3 metres of what actually turned out (now I look at it two weeks later) OK..ish.  I really thought it was all pretty yuck to begin and vowed to leave it buried in the cupboard but on reflection I can see some promise in them. I even used some of it to make a postcard for my exchange with Emma over at QuiltFish ... but I'm not going to show you all of postcard cos she might be looking!

Now ... as I am not an expert on snow dyeing I have no idea if this is the prefered method of snow dyers or not but the method I used was simple and worked for me ... here is what I did.

First soak your fabric for at least 10 mins in a solution of soda ash. I used 1 cup of soda ash in half a bucket of warm water. While the fabric is soaking prepare your dye solutions. Again, I no idea if this is the correct method but mix 1 teaspoon of Procion dye in a half a cup of warm water. I mixed up 5 separate dye colours . 

Once the fabric has soaked, wring it out and lay it loosely in a tray.( I have an amazing tray from Lakeland Plastics that is designed to soak your oven racks and trays in and is perfect for dyeing in too.)  I laid my 3 separate fabric pieces along the tray, buried it under  2 large buckets of icy snow, then chucked my chosen dye colours on top of the snow. (Technical or what?) 

Now wait for the snow to melt and the dye to filter through the snow and onto the fabric.

 (I could only wait 5 hours for my snowy/dye before I got too impatient - overnight may have been better)

 Carefully pour off the excess dye/melted snow solution and remove the fabric. (Use plastic gloves to stop your hands going strange colours!) 

I placed and sealed each metre piece of fabric in a separate zip-lok 'boil-in-the-bag' plastic bag and literally boiled them in a large pan for 20 minutes. (I left my placky bags in the water until it was cool enough to handle - several hours).  

Take the dye fabric bags to a sink, open the bags, drain off excess dye concentrate , then wash fabrics in very hot water and synthrapol until the water runs clear. 

Tumble dry, iron and admire

...and possibly even use it!


BilboWaggins said...

That's a new one on me but after reading about people using shaving foam to dye with, I guess I shouldn't be surprised by anything.

Your fabric is pretty, and if you decide you really don't like it you can always overdye it!

Meg said...

I've never heard of snow dyeing before but the results are very pretty. I wonder if it would work on yarn or wool fibers? I've tried solar dyeing with those and had nice results.

Trudi said...

Wow! Thats beautiful! Aren't you glad you gave it a go! Perhaps I'll cook mine next it snows :)

Emma said...

I can't believe you have done your postcard already - I suppose I had better get a move on! I like the fabric, very subtle!

Diane J. Evans said...

I've seen this technique and it sounds like so much fun! Your pieces are beautiful -- you should definitely use them! Or send them to someone in Schenectady, NY, who thinks they're terrific! ice job!


Tracey said...

Thank you for all the nice comments ... I might even try this one again next time we get snow.