Thursday, August 5, 2010


I really want to make that 'Weed' painting into a art quilt.  My major hold-up is the fabric.  I just don't have the right colors, and I know from experience, if you're looking for something specific at fabric stores you'll never find it.  That left only one alternative - I must dye the fabrics myself.
I remember reading an article in a magazine about dyeing...and I had flagged it.  All I had to do was search through my magazine pile.  Jeez.  Actually, it didn't take long, I had an idea where it was, and after a little thumbing through other magazines, I found it fairly quickly.
The magazine is Art Quilting Studio Magazine, and there was an article entitled "Flat Dyeing" by Robin Ferrier.  It shows how to dye on a flat surface so you can get more even, consistent coloring.  I know how to dye in a container, tub or bag.  It would entail alot of constant swishing around to get the color to be even.  I've actually never had color come out even, so I wasn't even going to try that.  Robin's method looked pretty easy.  The weather has been great so I was excited to try it!
I stopped at Home Depot and picked up a roll of painter's plastic.  It's thinner than she recommends, and I probably won't be able to re-use it.  But it comes in a huge roll, so I'm all set.
I realized once I got started that I'm missing some essentials.  I'll have to scrounge at garage sales for things like stirring spoons, buckets and large Tupperware type storage containers.  I don't want to use anything that I need from the kitchen, because it can't go back to the kitchen after this.

Here's where I really regretted having hot water in the studio.  I had to bring a tub of hot water out from the house, so I decided to bring all my dyes and stuff down to the back yard.  Everything more or less met in the middle, out on the picnic table in the back yard.  
I had had the fabric soaking in soda ash since early morning.  I mixed the dyes by guess and by golly.  It will be a surprise if I get what I was after!

Here's what it looked like after I got done, I left the fabric there all night.  I was amazed at how hot to the touch it all was.

Needless to say, it dripped on the grass.  The grass is now red, green(er) and brown(er) in places - of course!  Grass is a cellulose fiber too, isn't it?

The next morning, after everyone was finally up, I rolled everything up and took it down to the washing machine.  I separated plastic and fabric, rinsed and rinsed and rinsed out the fabric, then tossed in the washer with Synthropol.   

They didn't come out exactly like I envisioned.  I was having a hard time trying to figure out how to mix the right blue.  But, this is okay.  I can work with this for my Weed project.  Oh, and I should mention, this 100% cotton fabric is a soft, loosely woven fabric that I recycled out of some old curtains that were at our new house that I didn't want to use.  It will be a very soft look.
Here's how they came out:  

That pile of threads came out of the dryer with the fabrics. I'm thinking about saving it because of another  article I just read in someone's blog who mentioned that she keeps odd threads and uses them in her projects occasionally as surface embellishment.  Anyway, her little basket of threads looked pretty cool!  I know, I'm screwy, but I can't help myself.

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