What a fun way to say farewell to summer. This weekend the hubs and I took a well-deserved break at our friends Emily and Ed's lovely place on Clear Lake in Northern CA.
It was lovely. Restfulness is a perfect breeding ground for creativity and Emily is one of the most creative people I know. She knew the perfect way to entertain a creative friend... Bring out the dye pot!
Before we hit the road, per Emily's instructions, I stopped at the fabric store and bought a bunch of white fabric. I chose some nice quality cotton, canvas duck and ticking with a blue stripe.
The first thing we did was indigo. Indigo is magic. The color is so luscious and rich. The fabric comes out of the dye bath an electric, bright chartreuse and turns into a deep, rich blue right before your eyes. We used this kit from Dharma Trading.
At nine bucks, it's a deal and provides hours of dyeing fun.
I was an indigo novice, but under Emily's tutelage it was a piece of cake. Follow the package directions and mix the dye in a bucket. Let it sit for a few and you are ready to turn everything you own blue. We laundered our fabrics before dyeing to remove any sizing from the fabric. I did a few tied pieces of fabric. I used twine and rubber bands to hold accordion folds in place and dropped the whole thing in and gave it a few stirs. The color saturation depends on how long you leave the fabric in the dye. I suggest making a few test pieces. I kept mine in for 5-10 mins and dipped a couple twice for more intensive color. When you are ready, remove the fabric from the dye bath (wear rubber gloves, or have blue hands...your choice) and squeeze excess dye back into the pot. Undo the ties and hang to dry. The color will develop more as the cloth dries.
Like I said. Magic.
Next we did something that was completely new to me. It was a dyeing method that Emily had done before with our friend Lisa, owner of Baubles & Beads in Berkeley, CA
. I had seen the results and loved the effect.
First you start with a piece of fabric, shirt, pillowcase... whatever. Wet it in a pot of soda ash solution to prepare it for the dye and then tie, fold, pleat or just bunch your fabric on a surface that will allow draining- like a baking rack on sawhorses.
We used this dye from Dharma. It's a powdered dye. It comes in a bazillion colors. Find them all here.
It was really easy to use.
Lay your bunched or tied fabric on the rack and cover it with ice cubes. Then get a plastic spoon and sprinkle the dye on the ice. I used about three colors per piece. Don't use too much. Just a light sprinkle over the ice. as it melts, the ice distributes the dye. Add more ice and dye as needed to saturate the fabric. It's a pretty loose process. Just let the muse move you. We left our stuff for a couple of hours. The heavier canvas took a bit longer and a bit more ice and dye.
You can see how the color spreads when the ice melts. When it looks good, untie the bundle if needed and rinse until water runs clear. We washed all of ours in the washing machine with the recommended detergent
and done! We washed the indigo together and the other like colors together. The detergent helps to set the colors and prevent the dye from running.
...to this. This is a t-shirt that my husband made.
More finished pieces...
And canvas. Looking forward to the "next steps" with these pieces of cloth.
I see a lot of cool tote bags in the future. I'll keep you posted.