Dip Dyed Fat Quarters
Yes, I know I was supposed to stick with stamping, but I wanted to try out a different dyeing technique I'd read about. That, and I still owed fabric to Jennifer @inquiringquilter for winning the April link up for #BraveQuilter. Let me give you a quick run down on how this process is different, and the recipe is at the end.
My Standard Process Is More Involved
Normally, I presoak my cotton fabrics in a soda ash solution before dyeing with Procion MX dyes. The soda ash helps open up the fabric, and be receptive to the dye. Procion MX dyes form a covalent or chemical bond to fabric, which makes them very colorfast, but without soda ash, the dye washes out with hot water. (Remember that the next time you tie dye t-shirts. Soda ash makes it stick!) But there are times I want to dye a piece of dry fabric right now, and don't have the time to go through soaking and air drying.
Note: The soda ash can also be added to the dye mixture if you are vat dyeing. Vat dyeing would be processing the fabric with larger amounts of water, salt, etc., and it's a process I don't enjoy as much. There are more specific amounts for each chemical, and in general, you need to use more dye. I'm both a free spirit and frugal.
How Dip Dyeing Is Different
Dip dyeing can be done with a mixed alkali mixture, uses a smaller amount of dye, and is less messy than tie dye. Instead of soaking in soda ash, a tiny bit of mixed alkali is added directly to each bowl. This exhausts the dye, or makes it unusable after 4 hours so I mix just a small amount at a time.
Smaller amounts of fabric such as a fat quarter or so,
are ideal for this process. Think large scraps, too!
It's interesting to see a side by side comparison to the finished fabric above, and the fabric after the dye has been added. The dye appears dark below, but it has actually been diluted with quite a bit of water to produce a paler color as you see above.
Another Batch In Process
These dyes appear dark also, but they have been made to produce about a medium saturation.
You might be thinking they've turned out pretty wild for your taste, but I've turned them into a soft and pretty summer quilt already. Be sure to visit back next week when I guest blog for Blossom Heart Quilts Sew Cute Tuesday, and I'll show you how I blend hand dyed and commercial fabrics.
If you want to give this method a try, I'll give you an easy recipe to start. This will dye up to 4 fat quarters of cotton fabric. You'll need:
Cotton fat quarters prepared by washing in hot water with Dawn blue dishwashing liquid. *About 1 teaspoon of Dawn per yard. Hand or machine wash. Line dry.
1-2oz jar of Procion MX dye for each color
1 T. soda ash
3 T. baking soda
A dust mask
Rubber or latex gloves
A plastic spoon
A teaspoon measuring spoon which will not be used with food again (You might also measure the same area onto a disposable spoon.)
A recycled container with a wide mouth such as a small margarine tub
Put on your mask and gloves. *Procion MX dyes contain small particles that become easily airborne, and you do not want to inhale them. Once mixed with water, you may remove the mask.
Start by combining the soda ash and baking soda to make the alkali mixture. You'll only need 1 tsp. for this project, and set the rest aside in a sealed container or plastic bag.
Into your bowl measure 1 level teaspoon of dye into a few tablespoons of warm water--not hot, and stir until it's dissolved. Add 1/2 cup of warm water. Add 1 tsp. of the alkali mixture, and stir well.
Iron your fabric well, and fold into a small 'packet' as I have above. The easiest way to start is by making accordion folds into a long strip, then into either squares or triangles. You may secure the shape with rubber bands, clothespins, string, etc., or you might find it holds its shape when wet.
Experiment with dipping corners, edges, or combinations into the dye. Redipping will strengthen the color. Mixing a red over a yellow will give you an orange so this is a fun way to play with color mixing with kids. Have fun, and yes, this process will also work using Dad's hankies or t-shirts,but wash with Dawn first!
After each dip, squeeze the excess dye off the piece with your fingers. When each piece is complete, wrap it in a piece of plastic or bag, and set out of the way. The bag should be kept at 70 degrees F or higher for the Procion MX dyes to work.
Waiting Is the Hardest
For the most intense colors, wait 24 hours before rinsing. I will admit I get anxious, and 10-12 gives pretty good results.
Start by rinsing each piece individually under cold water, and open up for the big reveal. There will be oohing and aahing here. You want to avoid color transfer, but the dye should be completely used up by this time. To conserve water, I use a disposable container filled with cold water to swish and swirl all similar colors together. You may find you have little dye rinse off. Gradually, after a few minutes, add warmer water. Continue to swish and swirl. Finally wash in very hot water and a 1/4 tsp or so of Dawn blue dishwashing liquid, and hand wash well. Continue or repeat until you see no more dye run off. Rinse cold. Line dry. Enjoy!
Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go catch up on our mowing.