Friday, April 1, 2016


Three of us fiber pals have made numerous trips to Folly Beach where we spend several days either dyeing or painting fabric. I just returned with a large pile of treasures, great memories and a bad cold/cough that I initially mistook for allergies.
We do most of our dyeing outdoor, beneath Kate's house which overlooks an ever changing marsh and river.  
Each trip we add new procedures to make the process more convenient, comfortable, and efficient.  These foam pads are an example....
Judy (being the super organized gal she is) long ago made samples for each dye she owned.  What a help this has become for us when choosing dye color combinations. It sure beats wondering exactly what Terra Cotta, or Stormy Sea will look like.
 Ice dyeing was on our agenda this trip.  And to fill the void once the ice-dyed fabric was batching, we enjoyed microwave dyeing.  That's fast becoming my favorite....I love that immediate gratification. Our ice dye set-up had been to place a long wire shelf over several kitty litter pans.  We are very careful to always wear masks when working with the dye powder and generally remember to wear gloves too! 
I've shown the step-by-steps of ice-dyeing in previous posts, so I'll skip that explanation now.  It can be quite windy at this location so we now have plenty of clothes pins on hand to clip the black plastic to the containers which will batch overnight.
I didn't get a photo of another time saver we came up with.  Instead of soaking all of our fabrics, willy nilly, in multiple buckets of soda ash.....we now each have our own bucket.  This really speeds up the selection process for each different dye pan. (Dah...why hadn't we thought of this before?)

Another new method that will be great once we perfect it, is to replace the wire shelf with window screening.  It's so much easier to keep the fabric and ice in place. Notice the set-up in the foreground.  

However, after this experiment, we noticed the screening sagged a bit during batching. Clearly it needed to be more firmly clipped to the container.  BUT......after more discussion, I wondered out loud if we could put the screening in some empty frames that our Fiber Junkie pal Denny gifted us.  We will try that next time.
The screening method results were wonderful.  Look at how much color splitting these pieces have.
This was our 6th time dyeing together and we continued to have more 'ta-da' moments.  Our fabrics get all mixed together during the dyeing, rinsing, and washing tasks and we wast a lot of time looking for the identifiers after they dried. So, now we hang each person's fabric on their own line. 
Safety pins with colored beads record which fabric belongs to each of us. We will be adopting a different method in the future. This isn't unique to us, in fact I used it when resist dyeing in a Chad Hagan workshop.  We staple a small initialed piece of tyvek on each piece of fabric.  I did a lot of microwave dyeing and of course pins would be dangerous to use, as I suspect staples would be too, so I waited to add the tyvek after each piece was nuked.

Check back for Part 2......

And....check out these wonderful blogs to see the creativity of other fiber artists.  Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts, Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday.


LA Paylor said...


Robbie said...

You each did get some nice results from the ice dye!!

Crafty Ashley B said...

How fun!!! I hope you feel better soon!

Angela said...

You have some great fabrics there! My guild is doing a dyeing workshop in a few weeks and I am definitely sending the organizer your link. You have some very clever and useful organizing tips! Thank you

margaret said...

such fun and what would dyers do without cat litter trays. You have some wonderful fabrics now to play around with

Nancy said...

And so the fabric stash grows! What a perfect location for your dye lab. Hope your cough improves. I know you wear masks- is there any possibility it could be related to the dye materials? I notice that you and others who do their own dyeing always stress the safety measures needed which is helpful for those unfamiliar with the processes. You've gotten super efficient with your ways to identify and get things done simply.

The Inside Stori said...

Mary here.......anyone working with dye powder should wear a mask to prevent inhaling it. It's astonishing just how much this stuff can migrate.....wipe down a counter with a wet paper towel after working with dye powder and you'll see just how much invisible powder there was.