07 March 2013
let's talk cotton
It's no secret that I'm a dedicated cotton girl. Love the stuff. It's my go to fabric for nearly everything I work on. (Although I am considering straying a bit. I'm researching options. More on that later.)
I'm often asked what kind of cotton I use, what kind of dyes. Many of you already know this but I thought I'd give it a little talk on the blog too because I still get shocked looks when I say this:
I don't dye my own fabric. I work on commercial solids.
I know, I know. Trust me, it took me a long time to be able to say it without an apology in my voice. After all, real fiber artists dye their own fabric, right?
Many do, yes. But not me. There are a lot of different reasons for this. But the main one that drove me toward that decision was time. I've got precious little as it is and I want to fill it with writing and printing and about a bazillion other things. I found that when I used to dye my own fabric, I was dyeing solids since I prefer those for my printing. They don't compete with whatever I do with the paint.
Somehow it started to seem foolish of me to spend all that time and money and effort to create something that looked nearly identical to what was already on the market.
So I spent several months experimenting with every brand I could get my hands on of commercial solids. I tend to research the snot out of things because once I find what I want, I don't stray. I found the solids offered at places like Joann's fabric to not be so great. Super thin and really really limited colors.
In the end, I found my commercial cotton soul mate in Robert Kaufman's Kona solids. (And no, I don't work for them so this is not a commercial.) They are a medium weight which makes stitching through them by hand comfortable and they have withstood every kind of surface design I've thrown at it. Including discharge, holds up like a champ.
Plus the colors. Oh my. The coooooooolllllloooooooorrrrrsssss. (Makes my heart go pitty-pat.)
My studio is stocked with it. I still get crooked looks and head tilts when I say I don't dye my own fabric but in all honesty, I can't get upset about it. This works from me. It's awesome stuff and I make no apologies.
My eye has begun to stray to other fabrics, mainly linen. I ordered a fabric sampler from Dharma to learn what is what with the different kinds. Yeah, I know that's fabric meant for dyeing but I think I might have a solution for conquering the dreaded white fabric without having to use dyes (I'm not a fan of the chemicals either.)
So there you have it. Will I never dye fabric again? Well no, I can't say that. Because if I've learned one thing it's that things evolve and stretch and you just never know. I might stumble into a new project and find that dyeing it is the only thing that will work. Commercial solids suit my needs really well right now so that's where I'm staying put.
Happy Printing! :)