Saturday, April 13, 2013


 On first glance, I thought Linda Johansen's book Fabric Dyers Dictionary was the complete book on how to mix every possible combination.  After all, there are about a thousand different formulas in it.  You'd think that would cover it all.

This last week I've been doing the Rainbows in the beginning of her book.  I mistakenly thought the next part would be variations on mixing the 'clears' with the 'muted'.  But, she doesn't even go into that at all!  I was surprised.  

Seems to me, mixing the cool 'clears' with the warmer 'muteds' is where the wild variations would come into play.  I think they became even more intriguing to me since they weren't in her book.  I've had a lot of experience with this, mixing my acrylic paints.  I had definite likes and dislikes in that regard.

I first had to devise a plan, which colors to mix with which colors.  I even made a page in Excel and printed them out with numbers and yellow highlighting and everything, to keep it straight in my head.

Here's what I got:

The Yellows to the Reds:

Yellows to Reds variations

Golden Yellow (warm) to Fuchsia (cool)

Lemon Yellow (cool) to Chinese Red (warm)

The Red to Blue Variations:

Chinese Red (warm) to Turquoise (cool)

Fuchsia (cool) to Cobalt (warm)

And then after all my planning and organizing I forgot one of the green variations.  I'll get to it next week.  But here is the one I did do:

Turquoise (cool) to Golden Yellow (warm)

Friday, April 12, 2013


Today is the much anticipated Muted Colors Rainbow Light.

The same colors as yesterday, but in a lighter value.

I'm having a lot of fun with this, can you tell?

And here are the two sets of Muted Colors Rainbow, the light and the dark:

Thursday, April 11, 2013


My favorites, the so-called muted colors, we are on to them today.

I will be using Golden Yellow, Chinese Red and Cobalt.

Here we go:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Today is the lighter version of the Clear Rainbow.

I didn't mention it yesterday, I'm using Lemon Yellow, Fuchsia and Turquoise.

Here they are in the baggies where they'll spend the night.

Voila, the light Clear Rainbow:

And, here are yesterday's darks with today's lights.  Same colors, different values.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


With Linda Johansen's fabulous book Fabric Dyer's Dictionary in hand, I set out to learn to dye.  I am beginning with the Rainbows at the beginning of the book.  They didn't seem interesting, but I was pleasantly surprised.  They are great fun!

First I armed myself with the basics:
a bolt of PDF fabric, 32 yards to be exact, yikes.
the dyes, a clear and a muted of each basic color, yellow red and blue :

Lemon Yellow
Golden Yellow
Chinese Red

I made enough dye to last me the week, I put them in squirt containers and will keep them in the refrigerator in the studio.

I pre-washed the fabric and tore it into fat quarters.

Using a pigma pen I marked each piece with the corresponding color number from Linda's book, hoping the numbers will survive the process (which they did).

So, I measured the required amounts into the little baggies, put the fabric in, massaged it and put the little baggies into a plastic box, where they will spend the night in their dye bath.  

Oops, I think I must have been tired and or bored towards the end, the last two fabrics came out the same.  I will have to re-do the 12th one tomorrow. Notice the two on the left, don't they look strikingly the same!

Here's the Clear Rainbow after I got the last fabric done correctly:

Aren't they gorgeous!

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I got a strong urge to dye some fabrics for a new quilt project.  I saw a quilt pattern in a book recently, and I really loved it, but wanted to make it with my own fabrics. 
Mixing the different dye colors up first.

Smaller pieces of fabric are in plastic bags.
First day, two purples and gold.


Plastic bags of fabric, dyeing overnight in the sink.

And a big chunk of fabric in a bucket.

And here they all are:!

The colors are not right on here, you'll have to come see them in person.

Friday, August 5, 2011


There was an interesting article in the latest issue of QUILTING ARTS Magazine about Ice Dyeing.  That's the August/September 2011, Issue 52.

I have a large tray that I used for wetting paper for printing, but I had a hard time finding some kind of screen to put on top of it.  We ended up taking apart an unused baby-gate and I used on side of it over the tray.  It worked okay, it's major downfall being that the ice can fall through the large holes.  I would suggest a window screen or a shelving rack with smaller holes.

So, first you soak your fabric in a soda ash solution.

Then the art here is in how you fold the fabrics.  I tried several different ways, even just bunching it up.  Then I put them all on the screen close together.

Then pile on ice cubes.
Then sprinkle on the dry dye pigments.  I used three different colors.


Isn't that beautiful!
I found myself sitting there staring at the beautiful colors as the dyes ate into the ice and started to melt onto the fabrics.
Then I realized I was sitting there watching ice melt and I got up and went to do something productive.

The next morning, the ice is melted.  I rinsed out the fabrics and hung them up to dry.

Depending on how you fold them, you get some interesting results. 

Great fun!