I just gotta have color!
After taking an inventory of the fiber reactive (Procion) dyes I already owned, I ordered some new ones from Dharma Trading. The order was mainly in the blues and purple range, which I was sorely lacking.
I also tossed all the dyes that were so old they had different packaging from the newer Dharma dyes. I read somewhere that dyes lose their strength over time. Probably akin to make-up, but that’s a whole different subject…
After the new order, I thought it would be beneficial to sample all the current dyes in my stash. It’s nice to know what you have – really.
Here’s how I dye.
I tore Pimatex* cotton into 9″ x 22″ pieces. This size in quilting circles is known as a fat eighth. In essence, it is a fat quarter cut in half. I wanted to use a ratio I could at least attempt to duplicate in the future, so using a common part of a yard was necessary.
*Pimatex is prepared for dyeing and can be purchased through quilting supplies as well as Dharma and other vendors online.
I use small pint sized plastic containers with lids – one per color. As you can see here, I have selected the colors for dyeing and placed them in the containers. That’s just for sorting purposes. In the left corner of the photo you can also see the fat eighth. On it is written the color name and number in black sharpie. Sharpie does not wash out and this is one case where that is a good thing!
I place the fabric in it’s corresponding container and line them up with the dyes directly in front of each container.
Then I pour enough soda ash solution over each piece of fabric to soak it. The soda ash is mixed at 1/3 c per gallon of water. This soaks for 20 minutes or so.
Next I put a funnel to the soda ash bottle and start the faucet running with warm water.
In a glass ball jar, I pour in 1 cup water. To that jar, I add 1/2 teaspoon of the dye corresponding to the color name on the fabric.
These particular colors are all dyed with 1/2 t dye to 1 cup warm water.
WEAR A DUST MASK THE WHOLE TIME!!!
Those little particles can get into your lungs and it’s not good. Gloves are necessary as well.
Also, you can see the towel above as it catches excess dye. What you can’t see is that it is damp. The dampness draws the dye to it like a magnet.
Pour the soda ash back into the jug and squeeze the fabric slightly so that it is still quite drippy. Do NOT rinse. Put the fabric back into it’s container and pour the newly mixed dye into it.
If you want nice even dyes, fuss with the fabric quite a bit. I just make sure it’s all been colored but like that some of the fabric sits above the dye. That way I get a wider range of color – light to dark – without having to mix and dye multiple samples.
Put the lid on the container and set aside. Repeat this with all the colors you want to dye.
Here they are! You can see that by putting the lids on it captures the heat from the warm fabric and has created a little fog on the containers. Warm water is good, hot will make the dye process too fast.
Leave this for about an hour.
Yes, it only takes about an hour.
After the hour, dump the container and the dye down the drain and squeeze the fabric to keep it from dripping. Set in washer.
Notice I did not mention rinsing?!? It’s really overrated.
I don’t bother.
This is why I dye similar colors together – just in case. Although, I’ve not had an issue yet.
Here all the little fabric wads are ready for their wash in regular detergent. I do a vinegar rinse, but I do that with every load that goes through my washer anyway. No synthrapol, no urea, no other chemicals used.
Throw in the dryer and viola!
This is the basic method I use to dye all the time. Soak in soda ash solution, remove from solution, add dye, sit for an hour, remove from dye, put in washer, then put in dryer.