Thursday, April 30, 2009

More on Dying

I've gotten a few comments about how I dye, so I thought I'd delve into it a bit further today.  I use Dharma Fiber Reactive Dyes which I purchased a few years ago.  I have five colors of these dyes: turquoise, fuchsia red (I called it pink yesterday), yellow, brown, and black.  I rarely dye fabric brown or black, but I use these colors to darken other colors.  Turquoise mixed with a bit of brown is a beautiful color.

I don't keep up with how much of each dye I use in a batch - I just add a bit of this and a bit of that, just like when I cook.  Because I use PFD fabric, I don't have to chemically treat the fabric before I start.

I do use a fixative.  The formula is 1/2 cup salt and 4 teaspoons soda ash per gallon of water.  I have an old milk jug on which I have this formula written in Sharpie.  I mix the fixative in this jug and never have to look for the recipe - it's always right there.

For this piece of fabric, I liberally drizzled the fixative over the fabric once it was arranged on the table.  This is the first time I've done it like this.  I typically pour 2 cups of fixative in a gallon baggie, then I my add dye (which I premixed in a cup of water), and then add a piece of wet fabric, all scrunched up.  But I wanted to get horizontal movement on this piece, so I did some experimenting.

I hope this answers your questions.  And one nice reader very kindly pointed out that it would be more earth friendly to use paper cups rather than styrofoam and popsicle sticks instead of plastic spoons.  She's certainly correct, but I'm trying to avoid buying anything for quilting this year, and I already had these cups and spoons in my house.  So I used them.  But in the future, I'll try to be more "green" in my dying, I promise! 

Now for my April summary!  I finished the applique on Patches last night!  Yay me!  I still have to applique the portrait to the background before this quilt top is finished.  Today I pinned it in place and will start this final applique tonight.  It shouldn't take more than a couple of days.

So one stash quilt ALMOST complete during the month of April.  As for May, I want to quilt the Patches quilt and bind it, totally finishing it within the next couple of weeks.  I haven't decided on a stash color to work on for May yet, but I'll keep you posted on that.  I've had a quilt design running through my head for the last month - an easy, scrappy pattern that would work up quickly; I think that's what I'll do for my May stash quilt.

By the way, I've now made it EIGHT MONTHS without buying fabric!  I can hardly believe it myself.  I think I'm going to make it!  Yesterday I made hotel reservation for Houston - I've never been to that show and have made it my goal to attend this year.  My year long no-buy journey will be over by then (October) so I can actually shop.  But going this long without buying fabric has really changed my perspective as a quilter.  I no longer feel compelled to buy, buy, buy fabric.  I haven't made a dent in my stash in these eight months, so I will probably buy more supplies (like inks, paints) than actual fabric when I go.


Lisa A said...

I'm going to Houston, too! And Gwen, too. I agree with the changed perspective. I hope I can resist all those vendors.

Martys Fiber Musings said...

YOU are good!! At abstaining from buying and at dyeing fabric. Glad you finished Patches...can't wait to see.