Sunday, 1 May 2011

Dyeing - tips and experiments, and recipes..oh and the easiest way ever to wash out.

 Another beautiful day in Middle Earth, so I thought as the dye stuff was out, I'd crack on and have another session. 10 metres today.

Pink and green above and teal and gold (mark 2) below. (Dye mix recipes also below)

I thought I'd try and get a definitive answer on which solutions work best for the textural space dyeing, and plastic bag methods, that I do.

I have been to numerous classes and have a number of books which differ in their recommendations for the best results, so I tried them out to get a once-and-for-all method.

I tried.........

1) salt solution and soda solution, mixed with dye solution on cloth wetted with tap water.
2) soda ash solution only and
3) soda ash solution with chemical water (urea and calgon) mixed together with dye solution.

:By far and a way the easiest, and the best results (ie best dye take up and least washing out) was the simple soda ash solution. So no need to bother with salt or chemical water for this method. The results are above and below. So the easiest is also the best. Yay!!

Here's the recipes for the soda ash solution. The dye mixes used today are below.

Soda Ash Solution.

20g soda ash to each litre of very hot water.
Dissolve the soda ash in the water. It will keep in an airtight container if you have any left over.

Soak your prepared cloth (bought prepared for dyeing cotton or washed and dried if not) in the soda ash solution for about 30 minutes. Leave it for longer if you want to it won't hurt.

For space dyeing, squeeze out the excess solution but don't dry. Feed the cloth into a cat litter tray getting in as many scrumples as you can. Mix the dye solution (below) and dribble it onto the cloth. I like to lift the crumpled cloth and pour a colour into the tray and then gently layer the cloth back down. If using two colours, have fun and dribble away.  When finished I like to moisten the cloth a bit more with remaining soda ash solution, to blur the dye splot edges and give a less textured look. Gently press the fabric into the tray to absorb the dye but don't scrunch too much if you want lots of texture, or it will over blend. Leave alone for at least 3 hours.

Todays dye recipes: I used two dye mixes for each batch and the amounts given did 4/5 metres of cotton fabric at 60 inches wide.

Creen/Fuchsia Pink
Colour A was 1tsp cerrulean blue and 2 tsps golden yellow
Colour B was 1teaspoon Magenta and 1/2 tsp vivid violet.
Wear your mask when spooning out the above into a jam jar. Add a drop of washing up liquid to help the mixing process. Add a little warm water and stir. When mixed properly top up the jam jar with a cup of water.

Teal Blue/Gold
Colour A was 2tsps indigo and 1 tsp lemon yellow
Colour B was 1 tblsp golden yellow.

For the smaller fabric pieces shown above (1/2metre) I used the plastic bag method. One lot I used just soda ash, and the second lot used soda ash and chemical water. There was no appreciable difference.

To each of 7 large Tesco freezer bags with tie tops add, 
Add 1 cup soda solution,and the following amounts of dye solution. Add soda soaked cloth, and gently squidge. Twist top and leave bags in cat litter tray in case they leak.

Bag 1:  Add in 4 tblsps of colour B.
Bag 2: 1 teaspoon of Colour A and 3 tbsps colour B
Bag 3: 1 tblsp of colour A and 2 tblsps on colour B
Bag 4: 2tblsps of colour A and 2tblsps of colour B
Bag 5: 3tblsps colour A, 1 tblsps colour B
Bag 6: 3tblsps colour A and 1 teaspoon colour B
Bag 7: 4 tblsps colour A

Leave for 3 hours, and rinse out.

Yesterdays attempts at Teal and Gold using a different yellow and a spot of red in the orange.

This method used the cat litter tray with dye solution pre mixed with salt solution and soda solution. There was no improvement on dye take up etc to the simple soda only solution. So no need for salt.

My best method for rinsing out!  

Tip bags into sink, or scrumpled space dyed fabric into sink. Rinse each piece lightly under the tap. Squeeze out and fill sink with cold water. Rinse each piece seperately in the cold water. Repeat. Squeeze out cloth and put on draining board.

Fill sink with really hot (you'll need rubber gloves of course) water and a capful of Metapex 38. Put all the cloth into the soapy water and agitate slightly. Leave for 30 minutes. Have a cup of tea.

Squeeze out cloth and refill sink with cold water. Rinse fabric and a lot of dye will come out with the soap suds.

Squeeze out and repeat with cold water. I usually only need to give 2 or 3 rinses after the Metapex treatment. Brilliant stuff.


Wear rubber gloves at all times unless you want to look an idiot with multi coloured hands for at least 3 days.

For bag dyeing and space dyeing only use soda solution. Pre soak fabrics and use whilst still damp. Top up dye solutions in the bag with the same solution, and pour over space dyed fabric immediately after you add the dye to soften the edges.

Invest in Metapex for easy washing out.

1 comment:

  1. I am hammering thro my blog reader catching up after being away in Essex for a week and I've read this post fairly quickly Annabel but thank you for a very thorough post. I haven't had much time for dyeing but I will get back to it and I'll give your methods a go as you have already given me great advice in the past and I love Metapex too :-)