Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Thanks for all the congrats on my new granddaughter. I have all of the joy and none of the discomfort. And Nellie, you sure keep me on my toes! I've been busy dyeing fabric samples for my upcoming class at CraftSummer at Miami U in Ohio. I wanted to demonstrate to the class how doing the steps in different order can result in different markings on the final product.

So here was the plan: Use the exact same dye solution, same size pieces of fabric, same size container, same amount of liquid (except that some fabrics were pre-wetted), same overall batch time. What varied: Wet or dry, and timing.
Fabric A was presoaked in soda ash and used wet.
Fabric B was presoaked in soda ash and allowed to dry.
Fabric C was dampened, the dye solution added, and the soda ash added immediately.
Fabric D was the same as C but I waited 10 minutes after adding the dye solution before adding the soda ash.
Fabric E used dry fabric, added the dye solution, added soda ash immediately.
Fabric F same as E except I waited 10 minutes before adding the soda ash.

Here is the result:

I was somewhat dismayed to realize that there was not very much difference in the fabrics. I think there were two contributing factors. First, I manipulated the fabric when I added the dye solutions and I manipulated it again after adding the soda ash. This resulted in a more even distribution. Second problem, I used blue and yellow for the dye solution and they strike nearly at the same rate. Back to the drawing board.

For the second trial, I used fuchsia and yellow to make orange. Nothing strikes faster than fuchsia. And I resisted the temptation to manipulate the fabric. I poured on the color and I poured on the soda ash and I kept my hands to myself. So using the same procedure as in A through F above, this is the result:

A very noticeable difference. The fuchsia practically sits in place where it first hits the fabric which gives the yellow a change to migrate and be noticeable. I don't like those large areas on E and F where the color is sort of flat. Those were the dry fabrics to begin with. The pieces presoaked in soda ash resulted in the most distinct separation of color. Where the dye had time to migrate the markings are less distinct.

I've been tagged by Lisa for a 7 meme (I have to tell 7 things about myself and then tag 7 others). I have to think about this for a little bit before posting.

One more thing - since HGTV's Simply Quilts bit the dust it seems they've made the the videos available online from their website but also from the Yahoo.com website. I had 5 minutes and 37 seconds of fame several years ago and now that segment is available at Yahoo

I really hate watching myself because it sounds so stupid to me but there it is for all the world to see.


Valeri said...

A very interesting post. I was fascinated to see the differences you got. I expect you'd have seen more in the first batch if you hadn't manipulated them. It's amazing what one can do with dye!

Martha said...

Cathy, my messages to you are bouncing still.