Saturday, August 25, 2018

Cool Off Summer with Ice-Dyeing...

When all the fabric in a stash isn't quite enough, what's a quilter to do? Dye some, that's what! This cotton piece is one of several I created in a recent ice-dyeing workshop. The results are just fascinating. This piece was made using a "mandala fold"- manipulating the dry white cotton fabric to create folds that resist the dyes and create the radiating pattern. We piled 10 pounds of ice on top of our treated and folded fabrics which were in a large plastic tote, applied the dyes by squeezing them over the ice, bagged the whole shebang, and let time do the rest. There was no peeking for 24 hours while the ice melted. Then we could rinse and reveal the results. That was quite an exiting moment.

Here's another mandala fold. We used three dye colors and the placement of color is quite left to chance. My colors were Hot Pink (lightest and brightest), Peony (lavender), and Dances with Raisins (an eggplant or deep wine color) all purchased from Dharma Trading Company. For our method of ice-dying, we mixed the dye powder in plastic bottles to make a liquid coloring agent we squeezed onto the ice-covered fabrics.

This deep fuchsia piece was created by folding the fat quarter of fabric in a simple accordion or fan fold and securing it with rubber bands.

This one is also an accordion fold which was then folded in on itself to create more of a resist.

Casual scrunching of the fabric resulted in this splotchy effect that reminds me of fireworks.

Our tools of the trade included a dust mask and gloves worn for safety while handling the powdered dyes and mixing soda ash solution to soak the fabrics in to make them receptive to the dyes. And they were worn while mixing urea crystals in the dye solution in order to intensify the results and retain the color. So this was serious business. Our special cotton fabric was PFD- Prepared for Dyeing, which meant that no starch or other surface additives were present in it that would prevent the dye from penetrating the fibers.

Our dye-masters were sisters Celeste and Merri of Goatfeathers Studio, both of whom have done a lot of fabric dyeing. Their aprons were just two of their inspiring examples. They managed to lead a group of nearly 25 to amazing results while keeping the workroom spot free! It was great fun, and I'm sure there is more ice-dyeing ahead for me!


Jan said...

Your pieces turned out superbly! I've seen a lot of ice dyed fabric in the past that I personally thought wasn't that interesting but yours is fabulous with the folds giving such unique designs. And the sisters aprons are wonderful, especially I like the one on the right in the red and black. Love her jaunty little blue scarf too.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I'm always amazed at what you create. Your ice dyeing was amazing. I was really impressed with your folds. I've tried my own hand at ice dying, but because I am afraid or I should say leery of all those chemicals, I used dye inks and food coloring. Not color fast like yours, and certainly not with beautiful folds and designs like yours. I love what you did.

As an aside, I've been told even PFD fabric should be washed before using, since it could gather dust from sitting, or oil from unclean hands.

Celeste said...

I love how you wrote I am delighted that you wrote this up on your blog. You got such good results. We are off to dye more items.

sonja said...

Nancy, that looks like my kind of colorful FUN! Your results are yummy, reminds me of peering into a kaleidoscope. What a great work shop to be a part of. Now I wonder what you will make with your art fabric. those aprons are to dye for. I really love your fuchsia piece.

Robbie said...

You did get some great results, Nancy!!! I am so impressed! Wow!!!! Now what are you going to do with all this beautiful fabric! HA Good for you!!! Nice to have such a successful day!!!

Lenna Young Andrews said...

Nancy, thanks so much for sharing your ice-dye pieces!! I really, really like them. I use Dharma Trading for blank silk scarves and blank clothing to paint or stamp or nature print as well as for their jacquard paints. I have not done a lot of dye work, it always seemed a little complicated with the soda ash. I am glad you had two great teachers to lead you through. I love your results!

My "metamorphosis" book a la Donna Downey is half done! I learned a lot this first round through and see myself trying it again. When it's finished I will share photos. Thanks for the recommendation!!
:o) lenna

Sheila said...

With my leftover dye from this workshop, I used Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, which is pretty much the same as soda ash. Ice dyeing isn't really as complicated as it might sound-- I encourage you to try it! Really enjoyed the workshop, as we did have wonderful teachers!