solid colours

Color or colour, fabric stashes and book club!

Oh no, I’ve joined a book club to read and learn hands-on about colour! Normally something that would not cause a negative reaction. But, the first thing we are told to do is cut the 150 color card swatches included with the book: The Quilter’s Field Guide to Color : A Hands-On Workbook for Mastering Fabric Selection

Rache Hauser cover
The Quilter’s Field Guide to Color : A Hands-On Workbook for Mastering Fabric Selection by Rachel Hauser.

Why do we need to cut up a perfectly new book? It goes against everything I believe! I work in a library, I’m a library technician! I can’t possibly cut up pages!

Rachel Hauser Table of Contents

Cutting up a perfectly fine book (I know I must!) notwithstanding, I am excited to be participating with a small and enthusiastic group of quilters on this project. We are a mixed bunch – some have been quilting for many years and others fairly recently. Some have an art background and many others don’t. I know we will all learn a lot from each other and this experience whether we do or don’t have an art background.

Rachel Hauser. About

I have a good size collection of fabrics in my stash. Will it suffice for this project without purchasing? I hope so, as I do want to use the colours I have collected without adding any more. My aim is a deficit, not surplus.

Fabric Stash in closet of doris lovadina-lee canadian textile artist

The first cut is always the most difficult!

When is black – blue, red, green and yellow?

The most recent batch of cotton scarves were snow dyed using a fibre reactive dye in black. I was persuaded by my mother to create some black and grey scarves because “they go with everything”. Itajime shibori scarf snow dyed doris lee

I decided that I would use up some of the last bit of snow from the ice storm and see what would result from using only one dye colour.nui shibori cotton/rayon scarf snow dyed with black dye by doris lovadina-leeRaven Black, Better Black, New Black, Hot Black and Jet Black are the names of a few of the black dyes available. Some are better for hot water dyeing and others are best for low immersion dyeing. But, none of these are single hue dyes, rather they are made up of a mixture of two or more dyes.
snow dyed shibori scarf using black dye by artisan doris lovadina-lee

So I wasn’t surprised that the black scarves were not black at all! After I washed and dried the scarves and could see the variation in the colours, I decided to try an experiment. I took the black dye powder and dissolved it in water and sprinkled it on snow to see what colours would appear.

tsp with black fabric dye dissolved in water

Red, blue, purple are all visible in the teaspoon and table. In this photo, a pinch of dye was sprinkled with water and instantly, you could see the variation in the  colours.

snow with melting black dye showing mulitcoloured pigments

I also sprinkled a small amount of dye powder on the snow and bright spots of vibrant purples, greens, yellows and blues appeared.

shibori black dyed cotton scarf snow dyed by toronto artist doris lovadina-lee

 

The itajime shibori scarf above is predominantly green on one end changing to soft purple and grey on the other end.nui snow dyed cotton/rayon scarf detail by doris lovadina-lee toronto

The nui shibori scarf above has strong stripe effect that is green, while the scarf below is more blue and purple overall with a touch of green as an accent.

nui shibori scarf hand dyed toronto artisan doris lovadina-lee

While the colours showing in the snow and teaspoon included yellow and red, none of these appear on the scarves. It seems that these dyes were not present in sufficient amounts to stand on their own, rather they combined to create the purples and greens that did appear. Even though the scarves are not black and grey, the variations in colour and pattern are very pretty. In order to achieve the colours my mother suggested, I will have to try again using the more traditional low immersion dyeing. 

What has your experience been when dyeing? 

Dyeing solid colours

l finally ironed the fabric that I dyed during the Labour Day weekend. With this dyeing session, I was trying to obtain colours that were fairly regular with little or no mottling. To obtain this result, I spent five minutes constantly manipulating the fabric when the dye was added. Once the soda ash was added, I manipulated the fabric for another minute. All of the colours were left in the dye buckets overnight.

sep_handdyed_fabric

Of all the colours I dyed, the black is the most consistent, with very little variation in colour.

Black
Black

Purple
Purple

Royal Blue
Royal Blue

Cerulean Blue
Cerulean Blue

Turquoise
Turquoise

Green
Green

Red
Red

Fuchsia
Fuchsia

Orange
Orange

Golden Yellow
Golden Yellow

Yellow
Yellow

The other fabrics show more variation in their colour, especially the darker colours like the purple, blues and green. I do like the effect of the mottling and it can be used to great effect. In some of the fabrics, the variation of colour looked like feathers, some looked like flowers.

Next time, I will experiment with pre soaking the fabrics in the soda ash and then adding the dye. This might produce more consistent colours. Definitely, dyeing fabric flat on a table as Kathleen Probst and Robyn Ferrier describe in their blogs results in very solid looking colours. What do you look for in hand dyed fabrics?

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