03 June 2011

would it be different if i....?

I've had an idea knocking around in my brain for a while, one of those things that I thought maybe would work out but would have to wait for a free moment because it wasn't really necessary when deadlines were looming.

I was handed a free day off work today (they are upgrading software, I work on the computer so no computer = no work). We've actually had sun lately so the time to experiment finally arrived.

Add to the unexpected time off that I have soda ash soaked fabric from a previous dyeing session and leftover dye from earlier this year and really - how much more of a hint do I need?

The majority of my artwork now is comprised of backgrounds made from torn strips of fabric. I got to wondering if I tore fabric into strips prior to dyeing if I would get a different look from it instead of tearing them from a single yard.

So I set about my work in early afternoon right before the hottest part of the day. I only tore one yard of fabric since I didn't really have all that much dye to work with.

I dumped dye:

I left them to batch while I went about my day (blacktop driveways during summer make excellent dye cookers):

I should mention that since I frequently make mud colored fabric when I dye, the above photo did not panic me in the least. It looks like everything will be one solid color of dark but that rarely seems to happen. The variations show up after the wash out, trust me (check out the next photo if you still don't believe me).

I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed:

I'm coming clean with the fact that I'm super lazy when it comes to properly washing out my hand dyed fabric. I basically just rinse it to within an inch of its life and call it good. Is this the correct way to do it? Nope, not at all and I don't endorse it if you ever plan to wash anything you make with your hand dyes. All of my hand dyes will bleed horribly if I ever washed them again, they frequently let go of dye when I do other surface design treatments that require a washout. I'm okay with this, doesn't bother me in the least. (Its also the reason I don't sell my fabric. I've been asked frequently about that and that's honestly the real reason why.)

Why am I mentioning this? Because - putting torn strips through a washing machine for a proper wash out would be quite a bear. I'm sure I'd have to use a lingerie bag and say a little prayer so if you decide to do this, just keep it in mind.

I accidentally dyed the dog a little bit:

Since he's white, it really shows too. Poor westie.

I decided to take advantage of our warm windy day and very loosely tied the strips to a drying wrack so they could flop around at will:

And here are the results:

I'm. in. love.

They have a totally different vibe to them then I'd get from tearing from a yard piece. Each one seems to have more of a pulse. I think I'll be doing much more dyeing this way from now on.

This could be a productive summer in the dyeing department...


Colleen Kole said...

Oh my goodness, I love this too!!! How great are they-each one is entirely different.

lynda said...

What a great idea! That would produce a much different result. Gotta try it. Thanks for the inspiration this warm Saturday morning!

Leann said...


bj parady said...

Excellent idea and execution. Thanks for giving me something else to add to my 'try sometime' list :)