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Friday, July 12, 2013

Just Dyeing To Show You

 Hello there Internet People!  I actually left my house yesterday and ventured out into the world for a few hours.  Now I am broke, and I still don't have any more fabric to dye!  I do have some new tools and supplies that I was lusting after, but no fabric.  For the moment I have decided that I will take a break from dyeing once I finish up what I have, there are so many other things that I really need to get done this summer, and I won't do them if I can dye instead.  Like those flower beds full of salt grass that I still haven't cleaned out!  The section I did earlier this Spring is already filled back in, the only evidence that I was even there is the lack of dead leaves in that one section.  

Hey, guess what?!  I actually took some pictures!  They aren't all that great, but at least I tried, that's something, right?  So here are some shots of the fabrics I have dyed so far this year:

 If you look real close at the pictures you might notice that some of them appear to have a print to them.  I had a whole bunch of white on white printed fabrics that I over-dyed.  The fronts of the fabrics are kinda over powered by the white print, but the backsides are just gorgeous!  The print shows through just enough to add some texture to the design, but not enough to distract from it. 

I also took pictures of the embroidery floss that I dyed, I will need to take a few more (better) pictures before I can list them on Etsy, but other than that they are packaged and ready to go to new homes.  Well, excluding the ones I kept for myself that is.  

These first two pictures are of the ones I am keeping.  The top one is all embroidery floss, the bottom one has different types of threads.  The one that I was worried about untangling was actually a size 10 Bamboo thread, they are the ones wrapped around the cone at the top of the second photo,  fortunately they were not as big of a pain as I thought they would be.  They were a pain, but not a monumental one.  I think my problems were more related to the fiber content than the size of the thread though. I think bamboo gets curly when you wash and dry it, at least to a much greater extent than cotton threads do.

The big hanks on the left side of the second photo are embroidery floss, the little pink one next to those is a size 8 pearl cotton (I think).  The blues and purple that come next are all a size 5 thread with a tiny bit of metallic wrapped in it.  They kinked like hell when the were washed!  Luckily I made small hanks of those so they were not too difficult to untangle. The green threads are all from a very old ball of crochet thread I had in the cupboard.  It was a very pale green and slightly discolored due to its age.  I have no idea what size they are, but I am thinking somewhere between a 5 and an 8.  Washing and dyeing the thread actually seems to have re-hydrated the thread as well, it is not nearly as brittle as it was before. 

The last threads in the picture are a size 3.  All of the threads, no matter what type, were wound around 18" long boards, tied off in four places to keep the threads from tangling, and then washed in very hot water, laundry detergent, and borax before dyeing.  I made a little washing machine out of an old plastic strainer and a large plastic bowl.  I have to do the agitating myself, but it is working very well for this process.  After they are washed, I rolled them in a towel to press the excess water out of them and then hung them up to dry.   After they were dry I soaked them in my bucket of soda ash water for a while and then squeezed all the extra water out.  The embroidery threads were dyed in sets of 5, so I took five skeins, and laid them out straight in a basin, and carefully started adding color to one end.  Depending on what I was doing I might have added a second color to the other end, or just added plain hot water, and squished the threads very carefully to get the dye worked through all of the fibers.  This gives each of the colors a 18" repeat on every skein, no mater how many colors are used.  Once the color was added, I squeezed out all of the extra dye and then dropped the threads into plastic zip-lock type baggies, and set them in the sun to cook.  After a few hours I took them out and rinsed each skein by hand in cold water, and then soaked them in cold water for a couple hours to remove as much of the excess dye as possible.  I then washed them again in my little washer, in extremely hot water, twice, rinsing with cold water in between each wash.  Again I rolled them in a towel to squeeze out the extra water.  Then I threw the towel, threads and all, into the dryer with a load of fabrics in a similar color.  Those colors are not going anywhere!

Greens & Browns Set #1
Pinks & Purples Set #2

Blues Set #3

Reds, Oranges, & Yellows Set #4
Hopefully I will get my ass outside soon and take some better pictures so I can get these listed on Etsy this year.  I think I will add in a CD disk of hand embroidery designs with the purchase of a set of threads, maybe that will help them sell a little faster than the t-shirts.  If they don't, then I guess I will just have to keep them for myself.  That would be a terrible pity indeed.  

Well, I think it is time for me to sign outta here again and get back to work.  I am making some good progress in getting my creative spaces more organized and user friendly and I would like to finish it up today so that I can get to work on some new projects that I am designing in my head.  All I need now is an extra 1,000 square feet and a couple dozen extra hours in the day and I will be all set.  But since that isn't going to happen, I better go make some better use of what I do have.  Until next time ...

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