I spent last Saturday teaching an enthusiastic and adventurous group of women hand dyeing with Procion MX dyes. Kristyn of the London Modern Quilt Guild of Canada asked me last year if I would be interested in teaching how I dye fabrics to the guild members. I was excited to be able to share my love of dyeing.
I created kits for all the participants.
Our group set up in a room in the East Lions Artisans Centre in London, Ontario. It is a great facility with access to plenty of water! Necessary for any dyeing workshop.
Some of the beautiful and colourful hand dyed fabrics drying.
One of the very courageous members @melonpatch.quilts brought cotton yarn. The example above is dyed with olive-green and then sprinkled with black. I can’t wait to see the results.
These are just a few of the lovely pieces that the guild members experimented with. T-shirts, silk scarves, linen, silk noile, a canvas hat, and many pieces of cotton were dyed in a rainbow of colours.
Thank you all for letting me spend the day with you, sharing and creating a rainbow of fabrics.
In a couple of weeks I will be travelling to London, Ontario to teach an all day fabric dyeing workshop. Kristyn McCoy of the London Modern Quilt Guild contacted me last year to ask if I would be interested in sharing my knowledge. I absolutely was!
Join me and the members of the London Modern Quilt Guild on Saturday July 8, 2017 from 10am-4pm for a hands on workshop exploring colour, folding, twisting and scrunching fabrics to create your own original hand dyed fabrics. Information is available on the Events page.
I spent an inspirational day with Amy Garro of 13 Spools. She taught her workshop on Graffiti quilting to a group of very enthusiastic quilters. The workshop was well planned with lots of useful information. First we practiced the motifs by doodling on paper, then on the sewing machine.
It was helpful to see Amy practice her technique and also to hear her thought processes when she decides on her designs.
Amy brought a selection of her quilts including the Icy Waters quilt pictured above. I was happy to hear that her aim in quilting is not perfection.
A few of us brought quilt tops that needed to be quilted but we were having trouble deciding on a quilt design. Amy asked what we liked most about our quilt – the precise piecing or the colour combination or the interaction of the blocks. With this in mind, select a quilting design that makes this a feature of the quilt.
I’ve begun the quilting on a piece that I’ve had on the design wall for some time. How do you decide on your quilting?
On the second day of the workshop we were back early with stitched pieces of fabric ready to dye! Preparing the fabric was time consuming but the results were fantastic! The beige fabric is a linen/cotton blend that will become a pillow. It is basted from the center out with upholstery thread and running stitches. The other beige piece has the fabric pulled through metal washers. The white cotton on the lower left has small plastic bead wrapped inside and tied with thread.
There are four basic techniques for shibori dyeing that we worked with:
Arashi Shibori – pole-wrapping
Itajime Shibori – folding and clamping
Kumo Shibori – bound resists
Nui shibori – stitching and gathering
Shibori designs are created when the fabric resists the indigo dye. This is achieved by creating portions of the cloth where the dye can’t penetrate. So, the tighter that fabric is gathered, clamped or stitched, the more it retains its original colour in these areas.
Above, on the left is a PFD cotton that was folded in half lengthwise and then pole wrapped. The cotton gauze on the right was folded into squares and clamped in-between two pieces of wood.
Each time I unwrapped a piece, more design possibilities were suggested. I would like to experiment with different weights and textures of fabric as well as silk and pure linen. I think that the differing weaves of the fabric will also contribute to the uniqueness of the finished designs.
There are more pieces waiting to be washed and ironed. I enjoyed creating the varied styles using the shibori technique and will try them out using Procion fabric dyes during the summer.
A few weeks ago, a friend and I spent 2 full days dyeing fabric using Indigo. It was great fun and I made some beautiful pieces of fabric.
The workshop was held at the Colour Vie Studio owned by textile designer and teacher Gunnel Hag. The 2 day workshop “The World of Indigo” was taught by textile designer and indigo dyer extraordinaire Pam Woodward.
Pam had a wall of samples, each one more gorgeous and inspiring than the last.
I especially wanted to try making something similar to the one above.
Indigo is a plant based dye and the process differs slightly from Procion MX dyes which I’ve used in the past. It’s important not to add oxygen to the vat of indigo, so care needs to be taken adding and removing fabric from the dye pot. The metallic sheen on the surface means that the solution is ready to be used.
When the fabric is first removed from the vat, it is a green colour. The piece changes colour from green to blue as the fabric is exposed to the air and oxidization occurs. It’s like magic seeing the colour change!
Our first piece was dyed with repeated dips in the vat, introducing less of the fabric each time to give an ombre effect.
Our second piece was created by wrapping the fabric around a PVC pipe, wrapping the fabric with string and then pushing it up and twisting it around the tube tightly to create small pleats. The pipe was submerged into the dye about four times, oxidizing for 20 minutes or more between each dip. When I unfolded the fabric, I found the dye had created a beautiful diagonal movement with leaf shapes.
This is the PVC pipe with the fabric ready to be submerged into the indigo vat. This technique is called Arashi. I dyed a few more pieces using variations of this technique and it’s one of my favourites. Every time you unwrap the tube it’s a surprise.
This is what happens when you have a leak in your glove!
Next week I will have more photographs of the fabrics created and the techniques learned during the indigo dyeing workshop.
These are some of the delicious fabrics I brought home from Austin, Texas this February.
I took two fabric dyeing workshops at QuiltCon with Kim Eichler-Messmer. She is an excellent teacher: knowledgable, approachable and super talented.
Kim has written a book called Modern Color: An Illustrated Guide to Dyeing Fabric for Modern Quilts. I highly recommend this book for all of you who are interested in dyeing your own cloth. She outlines safety, setting up a dye studio at home, gives comprehensive instructions to create gorgeous fabric from just six basic colours and then shows you how to use the colourful fabric you’ve just created.
The first day was an introduction to dyeing and it was comprehensive. Below are some of the fabrics the class produced.
The second workshop we learned to create Shibori style hand dyed fabrics. These required folding, clamping between two pieces of plastic and adding the dye in small amounts. The parts of the fabric that were tightly in between the plastic resisted the dye and left the fabric in its original colour. There are an infinite combination of designs that can made with this technique.
Not all of these gorgeous fabrics were mine, although I wish they were!
I am looking forward to warmer weather here so I can get outside and dye some more fabric.
Now I need to actually use up these beautiful fabrics!
These fat quarters were dyed using extra dyes left over from another project I worked on in the fall. It had been a while since the dyes were mixed and I wasn’t certain how the fabric would take the dye. I selected 6 pieces of PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric and put them in the dye baths with no expectations. These are the results.
My favourite piece is third from the left below. Both red and yellow dye were added to the container. The result is a watermelon pink with some yellow areas. The biggest surprise from the dye bath is the piece on the left. In the container it was a deep intense blue, after rinsing out the excess dye, the blue looks like a patch of frozen ice.
I also dyed a piece of cheesecloth and am pleased with the colour and look of it. There is a lovely variation in the colour and the texture is scrumptious too!
I have a piece of silk velvet that is waiting to be dyed. I used hand dyed velvet, that I purchased, in the Icterine series and love the texture it gives to a piece. I haven’t decided what colour I want my velvet to be yet! What types of fabric have you tried dyeing?
Recently, I took a workshop with Laura Wasilowski It was great fun – she has a wonderful sense of humour. We worked with kits made up of her gorgeous hand dyed fabrics and thread. With these we set out to create our very own “Tiny Homes”.
Laura explained how to make elements by free hand cutting into the fabric. Multiple elements can be fuse tacked together to create more intricate pieces.
These small units are then used to create your piece.
I don’t have my piece completed yet. I think I need a few more elements before I decide on the final layout. Once the pieces are all fused in place, the details are added with the hand dyed perle cotton.
I have finally gotten around to washing out the wax from the hand dyed fat quarters I made at Malka Dubrawsky’s class at QuiltCon in 2013!
Malka taught a full day workshop teaching wax resist dyeing. You can see some of the beautiful pieces she creates on her website: A Stitch in Dye. All the information on creating your own hand dyed fabrics are available in her book.
These are just a few of the fabrics that I dyed that day.
Can you guess what was used to make the designs?
silicon barbecue brush
The rest of the fat quarters are in the wash. I’ll post these once they have all been prepared.