Sunday, 19 February 2012

Dyeing red

I spent a couple of days this week creating red fabric for my journal quilts.  I don't normally work in red so my stash is quite small and my aim was to create a variety of dyed pieces in different fabrics.  I haven't done any dyeing for at least two to three years.  It is one of those things that you forget the details of if you don't do it often enough.  The first hold up was that I decided I would have to mix up new soda and salt solutions.  As they have to cool, that was the first day gone.  When I then came to use them, the soda solution had gone like crushed ice.  The general view was that it was probably the weather.  Not that it is cold in the studio but I had a small quantity in a large container standing on a concrete floor.  I decided to use it anyway as by the time I discovered the problem I had mixed up all the dyes.

As I only needed small quantities I decided to go back to basics and use Helen Deighan's recipes for dyeing in a plastic bag.  I started with Procion dye straight out of the pot: scarlet, magenta and some rather old carmine.

I tried a lot of different fabrics including cotton, linen (an old thick tablecloth and finer stuff I bought), silk organza and cheesecloth.  I didn't have any silk habotai although later I found some!  I thought the magenta  was ghastly

 and the quantity of dye powder in the recipe meant that the colours were paler than I wanted.

The carmine pinks were OK, though, particularly as one of my ideas is related to camellias.

I did as suggested and left the wet fabric soaking overnight in a bucket of water.  This worked really well as most of the surplus dye had gone.  I had more or less given up dyeing red because it is so difficult to wash out the surplus.  When I saw that I had pinks rather than reds I decided most of it could go back in the dyebath  along with two or three pieces I had space dyed years ago but not done very well.  I added Golden Yellow to each of my original three colours and upped the amount of dye solution.  I also added some Texere threads.

And here they are in the plastic bags.

The result was three bags that all looked like the same colour!  Following the overnight in the bucket routine, things looked a bit better and I now have some lovely rich colours.  I am not sure what I am going to use the cheesecloth/muslin for yet but it has dyed really well.

I have spent the weekend learning to do hand-stitched pojagi which I am making from the silk organza.  Rather fun as I like doing very fine work.

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