Monday, February 27, 2012

Candied Fabrics Lesson 5 : Assembling the Candiotic Table

Here you can see all the swatches, pressed, trimmed, and laid out on the black kunin felt background hanging on my design wall.  This is the best I can do for  a photo in my work area, as I just can't get far enough away from it to include the whole thing -- until it's fused, stabilized and mobile.  At this point, all the swatches are pinned to the backing until I decide if I want to stick with the black background.

The black makes the colors pop, that's for sure.  But then color is relative to what's around it.  This picture is not true to the real-life colors either.  It's difficult to get a good picture in that room with no natural light. 

By contrast, this is Candy's original table with a white background.     These colors are vivid on the white background. 

Which way should I go?  Black or white background?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Candied Fabrics Lesson 4 : The Second Triad - Naturals

Here are the 66 newly dried (but not trimmed) swatches for the 2nd Triad in Candy G's Controlling Color online dyeing class.   We're dyeing swatches to build her Candiotic Table of Color.  Candy is currently running an online class on the topic.  Sign up here.  The class is designed to work at your own pace, so you can sign up anytime.  It's worth it! 

View results from the 1st Triad - Brights.

Here are the swathes laid out on the dining room table, in no particular order. 
This was just the drying station.

A few shots from the rinse-out process.  I love these little cups of color!

Now it's off to trim and fuse for Lesson 5.  The big question is : Do I want to mount these on a black or light background? 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Candied Fabrics Lesson 3 : The First Triad - Brights


Last weekend, I worked on dyeing the first 66 colors from 3 primaries in Candy G's Controlling Color online dyeing class.   We're dyeing swatches to build her Candiotic Table of Color.  Candy is currently running an online class on the topic.  Sign up here.  The class is designed to work at your own pace, so you can sign up anytime.

Really!  All those colors at the top came from 3 basic primaries!

 3 primaries in the cup mixed in varying proportions to make ...  


 Or Scarlet

 Or Midnight Blue!

It was exciting (and seemingly magical!) to see the colors emerge from the 3 basic primaries : Intense Violet, Scarlet, Midnight Blue --and many others.  And no overpowering Fuschia!  I feel like Candy is revealing the Secrets to the Color Universe to me!  The world is opening wide.  I felt like this when I learned how to free-motion quilt, too!

Other thoughts on the process :
*  Working with a dye stock is new to me.  Previously, I've just mixed up what I planned to use in that day's session.  I'm discovering that I was wasting quite a bit of dye that way.
*  I thought I was doing low-water immersion dyeing before, but this is really low-water immersion--like there's just enough water to keep the fabric moist, but not swimming in the dye bath.
*  Weighing grams vs. teaspoons by volume seems to be the solution to my problem with Fuschia over-powering everything it touched in the past.  It's denser, 1 tsp goes farther than a teaspoon of a less dense dye.  By weighing out grams, it's puts them all on a more even footing.
*  As suggested in the class, I used a krinkle rotary cutter to cut the fat quarters for the gradation dyes in the last post.  This worked beautifully!  After washing and drying in the laundry room, there was only 1 small tangle to pull off the tumble-dried fabric--and that came from a previously torn edge.  That little tidbit alone was worth the price of admission for the class!

*  Yes, she's serious about keeping your swatches a safe distance from the mixing area.  I was feeling pretty comfortable with the process at this point and squirted the dye stock into the cup with just a little too much gusto. It splashed up and hit my "clean" swatches.  This batch was re-done and re-labeled with a clean set.
Here's a sample of the Tyvek labels and how they survived the process.  A little rust, but that's no big deal. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Candied Fabrics Dye Class Lessons 1 and 2

Stormy Skies Gradation - 1/2 strength

I signed up for an online Fabric Dyeing class from Candied Fabrics on Controlling Color.   Candy G. is a chemist by day, so she's very methodical about her lessons.  Reproducability is important in this process.    I am most interested in learning to measure dye by grams (weight) rather than by teaspoons (volume).  

Lesson 1 is collecting supplies and setting up your work space. 

 This is the set-up in the "wet studio" in my 43-degree F  basement.
The gram scale is in the dye-measuring box on the upper left side. 
Yogurt containers make excellent dye pots for fat quarters or half-yards.
The Stick Blender worked marvelously!  It creates a kind of vortex in the mixing vessel, and you can actually lift it up, without holding onto the vessel.   No splashes either, and it's easy to clean up. 

 2 old sinks are off to the side.  Essential for this kind of work.

Here's a sample of "scrumpled" fabric, to add texture during the dyeing process.

Since dyeing is not entirely new to me, I veered from the actual lesson plan of doing gradations of 3 primary colors.  I did want to try and practice Candy's methods of weighing the dye (as opposed to using teaspoons) and measuring out milliliters for the low-water immersion dyeing.  For this,  I chose a purchased dye mix (Stormy Skies from Pro Chem).   I realized later that the dye stock I made was actually 1/2-strength.  I added an extra cup of water to the 5 grams dye.  That just means I have to do another batch at full strength!

Detail of one of the dye pots batching with scrumpled fabric.

Here, the dye pots are blanketed in old towels in effort to keep them warm during the batching process.    I put each pot in the microwave for 1 minute, as my workspace is a cozy 48 degrees Fahrenheit.   I may have to come up with alternative ways to keep things warm.

You can see the finished product from today at the top of the post.  The last time I did a Stormy Skies gradation, they looked like a moody purple in the pots, but came out kind of green in the end :

I realize now that I had done a Lettuce green batch that same day, so a) there may have been some color contamination of the measuring and mixing tools.  or b) the green glammed on in the wash/rinse-out process.  Candy recommends letting like colors do an initial rinse out together to remove the soda ash.  Now I know why the colors came out so unexpectedly.    The lightest one above also has bits of fuschia that didn't completely dissolve.  At that time I was filtering the dye mixes, but that wasn't enough.  That stick mixer is the way to go!  

See all the things I'm learning in class!  Really, I can't give away too many details here, but I can encourage you to take Candy's class.  It's been so worth it!