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!

1 comment:

RossysPatchwork said...

Hello Michelle
Thak you very much for your tips about Potraits with fabric.
Hugs from Berlin