I have been on a fabric dyeing binge since I took an Indigo dyeing workshop in May. I have been obsessed with creating patterns, colour and texture with Indigo and fibre reactive dyes. The fabrics I dyed in September are now stitched up into the pillows below.
I will be bringing these indigo pillows, Shibori scarves in wool, silk and cotton and selection of quilted art postcards to the Yorkshire Rose Quilters’ Guild of Toronto Festive Marketplace next week. Come and see the results of my Indigo obsession for yourself!
My favorite fabric dyeing technique is Arashi Shibori. It creates such a gorgeous design. It can be bold with strong lines or delicate with fine veining. This burgundy silk scarf has the latter effect.
It would look lovely just hanging as an art piece.
It would be equally lovely hanging around your neck!
I found some very lightweight wool scarves that I experimented dyeing using fiber reactive dyes and Shibori techniques. I was very hesitant working with wool, but the results were beautiful! The scarf below is a very rich coral colour. It was rolled around a string, pulled tightly, immersed in the dye solution and steamed.
Working with wool resulted in a shopping trip to a charity shop to buy a pot that I could use to actually steam the scarf. Luckily, I found an enamel pot with steamer insert and lid – perfect for my needs. Once you have used an item to dye, you can no longer use it in your kitchen. After making certain my family was aware that the new pot was off limits, I began having fun.
My fear working with wool was that I would shrink and felt the scarf, but by slowly heating and then cooling the scarf completely before washing the dye out, there was no problem.
You can see how fine the wool is in the photo above. The pattern shows through the undyed portions. I was also surprised at how little dye washed out of the scarves. The wool absorbs the dyes beautifully.
The wool scarves have a lovely soft hand and are just right under a coat, and lightweight enough to use inside as a fashion accessory. I have another scarf to dye and can’t decide on the colour. What’s your favorite colour?
I’ve been creating more quilted art postcards with tiny, quirky houses. Each home has it’s own unique personality.
I especially like the woven roof of the postcard above. The embroidered flowers were begun one day when my niece was visiting. She showed me how to embroider – she had just been taught at her school!
The houses are fused using hand dyed and commercial cottons. I’ve used some of the techniques taught by Laura Wasilowski.
I was also influenced by some quilts I saw this summer at the Paradise District Quilters’ 30th Anniversary Exhibit. One of the members is Celeste Thibodeau-Stacey from Paradise, Nova Scotia. Her work was cheerful, happy and quirky.
This piece is a town in Newfoundland, hugging the “rock”.
The lighthouse is bending with the prevailing wind and the houses too seem to have been sculpted into shape by the winds!
Hand dyed perle cotton in a couple of different weights have been used to add fun details.
I have a fabric challenge that I signed up for and am committed to having a finished piece by the end of November. I had a couple of ideas for the quilt but I haven’t narrowed down the concept so that I can begin.
One of my ideas is to use the log cabin block, another is to base the quilt on architecture.
Looking back at some photos taken on vacation last year may provide the spark that I need.
Tumbling blocks, rail fence, hexagons, attic windows, these are just a few of the patterns I see.
Inspiration is all around us, we just have to look for it.
Dip dyeing, where you dip a piece of fabric into a dye vat is one of the easiest ways to dye fabric. Although it is uncomplicated, this technique provides endless variety of design fun.
I first saw this technique in Kim Eichler-Messmer’s book: Modern Color: an illustrated guide for modern quilts. In it she wrote about dip dyeing placemats and they were simply beautiful.
I’ve been experimenting with this technique and have two scarves to show you. The green scarf above was loosely folded, rolled and placed into a container of green dye. I left it until all the dye had been absorbed. This creates a striped effect with the fabric at the bottom of the container absorbing the most dye and is therefore the darkest.
In the plaid scarf, I first folded, rolled, and dipped the piece in a yellow dye bath. I dried the scarf.
The second step was to refold in the opposite direction, re-roll and re-dip in the second colour. This time I placed the scarf in a turquoise dye bath. I love the colour that is created where the yellow and turquoise intersect. It looks like a much more complicated design. I will be experimenting with dyeing more Shibori scarves in various colour combinations in the future.
It’s interesting how different these two red Shibori scarves look when they both started off in the same dye bath.
The design is very subtle on this scarf, giving it a delicate look.
More rows of stitching would make this design more defined and graphic. I will be experimenting with this on another piece.
The scarf below was dyed in the same red dye bath and then pole wrapped and dipped in black to create a very striking design.
An intense black colour is difficult to achieve. I doubled the amount of dye powder and left the scarf in longer. In some areas of the scarf the black looks more like a very dark purple.
When I first began dyeing, I mixed red and blue dyes to create purple as you would when mixing paint. I did get a purple but it was very grapey! not really what I had intended. By mixing red with a small amount of black dye a deep rich royal purple is obtained.
I have a few more hand dyed scarves to show you next time.
My infatuation with dyeing has led me to experiment with fibres other than cotton. I was looking for a linen gauze to experiment with, when I came across Robert Kaufman’s Veneto Linen Gauze fabric. No one locally carried this fabric and I was hesitant to order it online without seeing and touching it.
Luckily, Andrea, from On Blueberry Hill had used this linen gauze to make a scarf. She wrote about her experience in a post: Spring gauze wraps. The photographs of the Veneto Linen scarf and a Kokochi Double Gauze scarf she made were beautiful.
I contacted Andrea to ask about the weight, drape and her experience sewing with the linen gauze, explaining that I was interested in dyeing it. She very quickly responded and kindly offered to send me a piece so I could experiment!
The piece Andrea sent was large enough to make two scarves. I tried two different Shibori techniques. Itajime Shibori is when the fabric is folded and clamped with a resist before dyeing, Arashi Shibori is rolled and tied around a tube. The two pieces were then immersed in an Indigo dye bath. The experiment was very successful. I am happy with both of the results. The linen has a lovely drape and it accepted the dye very well, creating an intense blue with only a couple of dips in the dye bath.
I didn’t take a photograph of the linen before I dyed it, so if you hop on over to Andrea’s blog, you can see the base colour: flax. I love this natural warm colour with the blue designs running through it. This linen gauze is available in white which I think would also look great.
During my Indigo dyeing weekend, I also experimented dyeing a rayon/linen blend and silk fibres. I’ll have more photographs showing those results soon. What fibres have you tried dyeing?