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!