Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dyeing prequel

The two-day dyeing session turned into two weeks. After standing on a concrete floor playing with cloth and water, I was too exhausted for any fmq'ing. Yep - dyeing broke my fmq obsession.

This is what happened. Started three days earlier when I did some studio cleanup to prepare my fabric. I sorted through the eleven varieties of dyeable cloths, scoured them all and set aside 26 one-yard pieces for 13 neutrals in two dark values.

Then I starting thinking. You know, I should dye a small set to make a value gradation. And, you know, might as well do two sets - bleached and unbleached - in the same batch for comparison.
10 step gradation, unbleached & bleached
The unbleached muslin influenced the color more as the value gets lighter. Note that for both sets, values 9 and 10 are practically the same. The unbleached is Aurora muslin and the bleached is Dyers' Cloth.

Since I have eleven varieties of dyeable cloth, you know, I'd like to compare their dye-ability. So eleven 3x3-inch pieces went into the same bath with enough leftover dye for the darkest values.
compare 11 dye cloths
The six on the left did not get as dark: Aurora muslin, bamboo-cotton from Roc-Lon (no longer available), Dyers' Cloth, Muslin pfd, Roc-Lon muslin, and Sew Essentials muslin. Now you know why the values 9 and 10 are nearly identical in the value gradation - these will not accept more dye. The bamboo seems just a bit brighter or more saturated than the others.

The five on the right absorbed dye well: Moda Bella pfd, Cotton Print Cloth, Kona pfd, Legacy muslin,  and Pimatex pfd. For a softer hand, go for the Moda Bella or Kona. For a crisper feel, go for the Cotton Print Cloth, Legacy or Pimatex.

Since we're on the subject, here's another comparison done at the end of the two weeks with another batch of leftover dye.
compare test fabrics with kona
The two Test Fabric samples were thrown in with a yard of Kona. Surprise! Darkest to lightest: Test 400M, Kona, then Test 419, which is a tighter weave similar to Pimatex.

After this little bit of dyeing, I thought, you know, I'd purchased this stainless steel stock pot several months ago for the final hot rinse and I should use it instead of just piling all my surface designed cloths in it. It took several baths, but now they're ready to use.
surface design fabrics ready to use
So that was the three-day prequel to the two-day dyeing session. Stay tuned. I'll tell you about the actual dyeing session.

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