Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Our February Fiber Junkies February meeting had to be cancelled due to bad weather.....so this March meeting was bursting with activity.  
 Our group creates a 'goals' list once a each year. During the discussion for 2015, we wondered if we could speed up the process of ice dyeing by using the microwave. Obviously we had to try.  We used Judy's fabulous well stocked and equipped studio with access to an outdoor deck for this rather messy project.
Our South Carolina members, Kate and Denny live close to each other and often spend time experimenting on their own.  The rest of us are the beneficiaries of their efforts....saving us lots of time refining some steps before we gather.

The following is not meant to be a tutorial for microwave ice dyeing....we now know there are a lot of elements that alter the results of this technique.  Truly, we are still in the learning process....some successes and some ho-hums.....

We began by soaking our chosen fabric pieces in soda ash.
 A dedicated 'for crafts only' microwave, an ice crusher, plastic wrap, hot pads, and assorted plastic containers were at hand.
 Here Kate demonstrates how to begin.....soda ash soaked cotton fabric is scrunched into a large bowl.
 Another approach is to place a smaller amount of prepared fabric in the bottom of the bowl, covered by a plastic 'strainer' disc which is then covered with another piece of fabric.  The idea here is that as the dye covered ice melts, it seeps down onto the piece at the bottom of the bowl.  Sometimes this can create the most lovely designs....other times the fabric comes out looking like mud!
 The top layer of fabric is lightly covered with crushed ice (**the normal ice dyeing we've done in the past utilized crushed ice and ice cubes....but we got better results in the microwave using only crushed ice.)
 Now, wearing a protective mask and rubber gloves, dry Procion MX dye is sprinkled onto the ice.  The amount, color, and placement of the dye affected the results. At the end of the day, we still couldn't put an exact 'recipe' together to assure uniform results.
 The 'prepared' bowl was placed in the microwave, covered with a plastic lid or plastic wrap and zapped.  The timing varied according to the component of the bowls' content.  Smaller units took about 4 mins. Larger ones as long a 6-10 mins. on high.
 Obviously, both the liquid and fabric is hot when it comes out of the microwave....after cooling a bit, the fabric was rinsed. Each of us packaged our fabrics in plastic bags and at home, washed them with synthropol.  

Here's one of Gen's successes. 
 .....and Val's.....
....and a winner Judy created.

Next post I'll show some before's and after's of my fabrics.


Maartje Quilt said...

Interesting experiment with lovely results. I will try it myself and use two almost simular batches. One batch with ice in a old fridge so everything is going very slowly and one batch in a microwave. I am very curious.

Nancy said...

At first glance I thought that was a lot of spices on the rack in her kitchen. Aha- it's the studio, and dyes. Definitely an outdoor project, but overall lovely results. The colors are rich and dark.

Ruth Lane said...

Cool idea. The results look good so far.

Julie Bagamary said...

What a fun time and great results. Thanks for sharing.

Julie Bagamary said...

I wonder if powdered Rit dye would yield similar results....hmmm

Robbie said...

I just saw this process on Judy's blog! How cool...never knew you could do this via "mike"!