Thursday, September 09, 2010

Dyetorial - Dye Solutions

Now that you have your list of "Ingredients" you need to dye fabric, I need to give you the recipes. I am putting them here so you can have a quick reference and I won't have to list them over and over and over ..... again. :o)

First off I am listing the recommended reading.

Color by Accident: Low-Water Immersion Dyeing by Ann Johnston

This book has taught me a lot about how dye moves through fabric and has helped me develop my own recipes for dye. There are many other dye books out here you can get but this one is a great starting point. It really helps you wrap your head around dye concepts.

Now for your basic recipes. I start with dye concentrates from which I mix all my colors. Then I add water when I put them in the bottle.

Dye solution:
- this is what you mix your dyes in it is urea water and it helps the dye move through the fabric. You will not have good results if you leave this out.

1 cup water

2 Tbsp Urea

1-2 tsp dye powder (darker colors like black may need more but I have been happy with 2)

Use warm water to dissolve the urea first. ( The urea will lower the water temperature while dissolving.)
Add the dye powder and mix thoroughly (it likes to clump so it requires a lot of stirring to make sure it is all dissolved and not just sticking to the spoon or cup). **Do Not dissolve the dye in water over 95 deg. F. because it will seriously reduce the reactivity (sticking ability to the fibers) of the dye. NOT a good thing.
Makes 1 cup + dye concentrate. For most at home projects (a couple of shirt or yards of fabric) you will need a lot less of each concentrate so adjust the recipe accordingly.

How long will this last?
It is said that it will last up to 1 week at room temperature and longer if refrigerated. I however haven't had much luck with it lasting more than a day or so. I sadly found the colors to be dull after 2 days. So it is better to make less and have to mix up a bit more than to make more and waste it. Sad day!

What colors to mix?
I use lemon yellow, fuchsia red, turquoise, and better black. I usually need 2 of the yellow to 1 each of the red and blue. I also use about 1/4 to 1/2 the amount of the black so make a lot less of that.

Now What ?

I have given you recipes for concentrates. You are going to want to dilute these. I mix these half and half with water. BUT First! I mix the colors. I mix them right in the squeeze bottle and then add an equal amount of water. (Basically I fill the bottle half full with color and then fill the rest with plain water. )

Mixing Colors
When I am dying I usually the the muse take over and do colors by my mood. However there are some basics that I do.
I love fuchsia and turquoise but sometimes I want a true red and a true blue.
To get this here is what I do.
True Blue = 7 parts turquoise and 1 part fuchsia
True Red = 7 parts fuchsia and 1 part yellow

Now for the other colors - well I wing them, but here is what I have found. I swirl what I am mixing in the bottle (before I add the extra water) and try a drop on a white paper towel (the really fluffy ones work best) and see if I like what it does.
Orange - mostly yellow with a bit of fuchsia. I swirl the bottle and will test a drop to see if I like it
Vermilion - more like 3/4 yellow to 1/4 fuchsia maybe a bit more
lime green - mostly yellow and a little bit of turquoise till you like it
grass green - mostly yellow with a bit more turquoise
Purple - about 3/4 turquoise and 1/4 fuchsia but test it and see what you like
Wine - about 3/4 fuchsia and about 1/4 turquoise and test
Golden yellow - almost all lemon yellow with a few drops of fuchsia - this is a warmer yellow
Pink - mostly water (might want to use plain urea water here) and a few drops to 1 tsp fuchsia or your true red
Light Blue - same as for pink but use the turquoise or true blue

-adding black to any color you make turns it into a jewel tone. It is lovely to see what it does.
Add it to your:
- reds and you have wine, Burgundy, and maroons
-Blues and you get peacock, teal, and such - gorgeous colors
-Greens and you get emeralds and some mosses

Moss and Earthy Greens - experiment here but adding golden yellow instead of lemon yellow makes more mossy, earthy greens. So.... try adding a drop or two a few of red to your greens. The results are really gorgeous.

Browns -- These are hard to predict. I just mess with oranges and blues or greens and reds to get a color I like. I have ordered brown dye right from dharma trading co. and loved them. I have tried chocolate brown and golden brown and love the fun of them both when mixed with other colors like yellows, oranges, reds and even greens.

Dye Fixer
I almost forgot but this is just as important as the rest.
9 Tbsp Soda Ash
1 gallon water

Mix the soda ash in hot water till dissolved. This is used either before or after the dye is applied to your fabric. Without this chemical your dye WON'T work. In the tutorials to come, I will tell you how to use this solution for each project.
This will keep for a very long time. In fact, I have never had it go bad.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Dyetorial - Tye Dye Tutorials

I love to Dye fabric, shirts, what ever. I would like to start sharing some of these techniques I have used over the last 20 years of dye sessions I have had with my family and friends.



I get my dye supplies from Dharma Trading Co. I trust them and have been getting my shirts, fabrics, dyes, and dye chemicals from them for well over 20 years. They are easy to work with and prompt in their shipping. They also have lots of helpful ideas.
If you have never dyed before I suggest you get yourself a starter kit, here. It has everything you need to get started and has step by step instructions for mixing and using your dyes. It is a very thorough and affordable way to get started.

What I use:
My favorite dye colors are
Procion Fiber Reactive Dyes
I recommend starting with the 4 basic colors. These are the pure colors from which all other colors are mixed.
They are:
Lemon Yellow
Fuchsia Red
Better Black
Later I will post a chart for mixing that I use and maybe it will help you too.

Chemicals you need:
Urea - makes water wetter so it goes into the fabric better and takes the dye with it.
Soda Ash - Dye Fixer - kills the dye and permanently bonds the color to the fibers of the fabric
Synthrapol - Dye suspender (?) It catches the used dye and gets it out of the wash when washing out the dyed shirts - this comes with a heave duty warning so please read before choosing to buy - I have used Dawn dish soap in a pinch and it works too but results may vary.

Mixing cups, spoons, etc...
Squirt bottles - I have found these to be a must and these here last for years
Top loading washing machine - front loaders don't have enough water - if you don't have one, find a friend that does and will let you use it, Make them a Shirt in return. :o)
Plastic sheeting to cover you work surface
GLOVES - A must for your hands. This stuff is messy and makes explanations in public less awkward.
Dust mask - a must when mixing the dye - you don't want that stuff up your nose, it isn't toxic but exposure can make you allergic and hey that would be tragic! No dye would make me a very sad girl and maybe you too.

Well I have to run off to Girl's Day out. I will start posting Dytorials tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Meet Mortimer

I have a little turtle.... um I mean tortoise*.....

Tortoise 015

I NEEDED to make a tortoise the other day and so I did.
My little boy took off with him and named him Thomas. Thomas is his new snugly buddy at bed time and his run through the muck friend during the day. (Shout Hurray for Totally Washable toys!)

Then I had to make a smaller one. I wanted one to have in my sewing room. I NEEDED my own.
Tortoise 028
Meet Mortimer. He is a very quiet little friend and just the right size to sit on my self.
I couldn't then just make one so I made a couple of each and had some fun in the yard with them.

Tortoise 021
First Thomas found a friend. Her name is Tiffany.
Tortoise 025
Mortimer now has a sister named Matilda.

Tortoise 033 C
We have a whole little Tortoise family.

Tortoise 035
And they are off on the own grand adventures... maybe to meet the Hare family.

You can make Mortimer and his whole family yourself.
The new PDF pattern is available at my Etsy Shop.

Tortoise 025
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