Honestly, if I had known how fun and easy the process was, I would have been dyeing fabrics years ago. As my wise husband would say, "Sometimes you just have to do it to understand it." Yes, indeed.
In a super pared down tutorial:
1. I used Pimatex cotton fabric, and washed it on hot with Dawn Blue Dishwashing Liquid in my washing machine. I line dried it.
2. I stretched it lightly across an open box top, and pinned it there with stainless push pins (bulletin board tacks).
3. I melted 1 part beeswax with 1 part paraffin in an electric skillet. I kept it in the "Keep Warm" portion of the dial to maintain a liquid form, but not burn. It took about 10 minutes to adequately heat.
4. I dipped a Quaker Oaks paper can in the wax several times to coat the rim, then used it as my large circle template on one piece. The smaller circles were made with a toilet paper roll, and the 'x*x*x' series was made with a traditional tjanting tool.
5. I allowed the wax resist to dry. It was 48 hours until I got back to it.
6. I used leftover Procion MX Dye to basin dye each piece. The waxed fabrics were soaked in soda ash water for about 10 minutes, then stirred into prepared dye water. My water was well diluted with extra water to be sure I could cover the fabrics, and I stirred them frequently for the first 20 minutes. The wax developed little cracks as I stirred, and the effect is beautiful, I think.
The golden yellow is called 'Marigold', and the blue-black is 'Jet Black'. The first picture shows the truest colors.
7. I washed out the dyes until my water ran fairly clear, then soaked in warm water with Dawn Blue for a few hours. I rinsed well until the water was clear, and line dried.
8. I used a dull butter knife to scrape off what wax I could, and tried using cold water to dislodge large bits. I wasn't too successful. In the end, I laid it between sheets of newsprint, and used a hot iron to melt the remaining wax. This took several cycles of replacing the newspaper with fresh, and re-ironing. The fabric has a little stiffness to it, but seems as supple as commercially purchased batiks.
In trying to understand as much as possible about batiks, the history, process, and commercially printed fabric, I dug out some fat quarters I'd purchased just a few months ago. I washed them up as I'd do any fabric I'm going to work with, and thought I'd share with you my method, and some pictures of my wash water.
I hand wash with Dawn Blue in a basin of water. I start with cold and work toward warmer or even hot water with most fabrics. This was only warm. Do your lights first, then move to darker colors to conserve water.
Commercially dyed batiks should definitely be prewashed. I was shocked at how much dye they continued to release!
I continue to be preoccupied with reading everything on my shelf and others about fabric manipulation. Dyeing, printing, stamping, silk screening, etc. It's a world within itself, and is fascinating! I also keep my notebook nearby as I record ideas of projects to actually make with the fabrics I'm producing. I think that's an important aspect to keep in mind.
Our materials are hard to understand if we don't use them, and our projects are best appreciated if we incorporate them into our lives. If you make a quilt, use it. Don't keep things folded away waiting for the perfect time to use them. They'll go out of style before that day ever arrives. It's only fabric!
I needed a dust cover for Axel, my Avante, while he wasn't working hard, so I haphazardly sewed one out of a practice quilt. I took another off the shelf and created an extra dog quilt for her new puppy at the same time. We all have these kind of things laying around. I challenge you to use your things this year.
I'm sending wishes for a 'pieceful' holiday week, and delightful sewing, if you can find the time. I hope you're enjoying your family time as much as we are here.
Until next time...
Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.
Linking up with~
Cooking Up Quilts
Show & Tell with Bambi
Show Off Saturday