Friday, June 3, 2011

More on Color Days: Shades of Blue

      I had two really remarkable dyeing tips come to me the past few weeks-one at my class from a pair of warrior dyers and one I stumbled on this week. I will share with you. (You can laugh if you already knew this stuff and shake your head at my ignorance. Just don't tell me you already figured it out. )

     When I dye, I prewash even the pfd fabrics. Then I soak them in warm water, wring them out and dye them-dye, soda ash, process them and rinse. Dry and iron. But this time I mistakenly placed all of them in the my soda ash bucket for about 30 minutes. So it was soda ash, dye, soda ash again, process and rinse. LOOK AT HOW SOLID THE COLOR IS!

 I was blown away by this. Now, I know that many things enter into a successful dyeing day-temperature, water, etc....but why have I never tried this before? The soda ash prior to adding color made a huge difference. No mottling at all-just solid blue. (The two pieces on the bottom don't belong in this photo so sorry to confuse you.) I know I would need to reproduce this sequence to claim success but for yesterday, this was a good day. No rolling out, no significant squeezing, just dyeing.

  Ok, tell me-do you do this? Add soda ash prior to adding the dye ?

  Second fun dyeing tip: When rinsing, dump excess dye from your container. Place your piece of fabric in a bucket of cold water with a few drops of synthrapol for about one hour. Dump your water. Start fresh with your fabric in the bucket -this time hot water with a few drops of synthrapol for one hour. Dump your water, rinse lightly in cold and plop them in the washer with synthrapol. No excessive rinsing even with red. What a difference this makes in the washout. Now like colors need to go in like colored buckets. But the amount of dye going down the drain is really reduced meaning -more stays in your fabric.

     I love anything to make it easier. Maybe it was just the day though...I will find out when I try it again.

P.S. I turned 50 today and as much as I dreaded  it -really worked myself into this mid life crisis the past year-I feel no different than I did yesterday. :) I just love driving myself crazy, don't I?

Be creative, my friends!


  1. Yay, 50 is no big deal really, is it? Love your solid colors and your range of blues. Can we have a play day this summer?

  2. Happy Five-O! What a terrific way to spend your special day - doing something you love.

    Love your posts about dyeing. Beautiful blues! You're an inspiration.

    Ellen (not anonymous - google is having fits)

  3. I am going to try your second tip! As for the soda ash: How do you add it to the dyed fabric? Is it dissolved in water, then added? I thought that if you are dyeing in less water, you soak the fabric in soda ash water. If you are using more water, and letting the fabric sit in there, and have to keep stirring, you add soda ash at some point. So is it better to do both?

  4. I will have to try out your discoveries next time I dye. I always have a hard time getting all the excess blue out so I will definitely try your second tip.