Dyeing for some colour!

In February I talked about a Dvd called “Color by Accident : Exploring Low-Water Immersion Dyeing” with Ann Johnston. The You Tube video below is a preview of this Dvd.                                                                                                                            Since June started with so much rain in Edinburgh I thought it was a good time to try out some of Ann’s techniques!

Preview of Dvd “Color by Accident : Exploring Low-Water Immersion Dyeing” with Ann Johnston

 

Dyeing with Procion MX Fibre Reactive Dyes                                                                                                                                     There is so much packed into this 4 hour Dvd; colour mixing, dye properties, recipes, different methods of applying the dyes as well as lots & lots of beautiful examples. I was particularly interested in Ann’s low water immersion dyeing as my very limited experience has been with direct dyeing where small quantities of dye solution are made up including soda ash solution and painted onto the fabric.

Colours – There is a bewildering choice of tempting dye colours available; Ann explains that within each range there are a limited number of single chemical procion MX dyes from which all the other colours are mixed.  Different suppliers all make up their own mixes of these single chemical dyes, just as an example, Fibrecrafts (http://www.georgeweil.com/) have 23 colours in their own brand dyes & 43 Jacquard dyes!

Fibrecrafts Fibre Reactive (Procion MX) Dyes, 50g

George Weil Procion Dye Colour Chart

Jacquard Procion MX Dyes, 18g

Jacquard Procion Dye Colour Chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                       So how do you choose? – I have previously taken a workshop with textile artist Ruth Issett who recommended using 6 colours – 2 each of 3 single chemical primary colours, lemon yellow, golden yellow, scarlet, magenta, ultramarine &  turquoise.

Ann Johnston uses all 14 of the single chemical dyes from Prochemical & Dye (http://www.prochemicalanddye.com/). When mixing colours Ann often uses more than of each primary colour in the mix; she describes how the different dyes react at different rates with the fibres causing the shades to split and ‘halo’ – this gives wonderful depth and patterning to her fabrics.                                                                                                                                                    I have only worked with 6 dyes, my first batch of dyeing used Colourcraft dyes in lemon yellow, golden yellow, scarlet, magenta, ultramarine &  turquoise. My 2nd batch used Jacquard dyes from George Weil in Lemon Yellow 004, Bright Gold Yellow 010, Aquamarine 069, Midnight Blue 079, Bright Scarlet 028 & Carmine Red 032 & Brown Rose 126  – these were brought as a set and I have subsequently discovered that only the yellows are single chemical dyes, this may explain some of the difficulties I had mixing colours with these compared to the Colourcraft dyes!

      From this ……                                                                     

                   ……. To this GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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Basic Recipe & MethodGEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Dyes are made up in very concentrated solutions, Ann Johnston’s recipe is 2 tablespoons of dye powder with 2-4 tablespoons of urea in 240ml of warm water.                                                                                          I only have small quantities of dye so I used 1 tablespoon of dye powder with 2 tablespoons of urea in 240ml water – as you will see my results were still quite successful.                                                                                                                        A separate solution of soda ash is made up; I used 3 tablespoons of Soda Ash to 1 litre of warm water as I don’t have room to store a large quantity.

With each colour made up into separate concentrated solutions it is easy to mix colours and dilute as required for GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAeach piece of fabric. Working on the basis of 240ml liquid to dye 1 metre of fabric the ratio of dye concentrate to water can be adjusted depending on the tone of colour required – using 1 teaspoon of dye concentrate made up to 240ml with water will produce a very light tone whilst 1 tablespoon of dye concentrate made up to 240ml with water will give a much darker tone.

The effects achieved by this method vary depending on the technique used as the following samples will demonstrate.

Basic method

  • fabric soaked in plain water & squeezed out,
  • damp fabric scrunched into container
  • dye solution poured over & pressed to ensure all fabric penetrated
  • left for 15 minutes without any agitation of fabric
  • soda ash solution poured over & pressed into fabric
  • left for at least 1 hour before rinsing
View album

These samples are on a variety of fabrics using the ColourCraft dyes – 100% cotton, silk noil gauze, cotton muslin, cotton/linen scrim and some poly/cotton mix fabrics that are not really suitable for procion dyes – 2 pieces were obviously a higher cotton percentage as they dyed quite well but I have shown the higher polyester content piece to show the difference – almost none of the dye was absorbed into this fabric.

The following examples are all on 100% cotton fabric using the Jacquard dyes from George Weil.

Parfait –

  • fabric soaked in plain water & squeezed out,
  • damp fabric scrunched into container – I cut the top off a 2litre plastic bottle
  • dye solution poured over & pressed to ensure all fabric penetrated
  • left for up to 15 minutes without any agitation of fabric
  • soda ash solution poured over & pressed into fabric
  • 2nd piece of damp fabric scrunched into container on top of previous piece
  • 2nd colour dye solution poured over & pressed to ensure all fabric penetrated, this also mingles the 2 dye colours
  • left for up to 15 minutes without any agitation of fabric
  • soda ash solution poured over & pressed into fabric
  • repeat these steps for as many pieces of fabric as desired, after last piece of fabric leave for at least an hour after addition of soda ash before rinsing.

 

Don’t be put off by the way this looks during the process, as you can see from the pictures the results are amazing!

Various

Folded_2_colour

This piece was first soaked in soda solution then folded whilst damp, concertina style, then in half, as it was too wide for my container. the first dye colour (orange) was put into the container and the fabric was stood in the tray so that the folded edge only was in the dye. After 10 minutes I took the fabric out, poured away the orange dye, replaced this with turquoise dye then rotated the fabric and pushed the undyed portion into the dye bath, left for an hour before rinsing. I kept the fabric folded during the initial rinsing only opening it up when the water was running almost clear.                                                                                                                                                         My container was quite small so the fabric was tightly packed giving more pale areas towards one end.

Folded_dipped_edges This fabric was soaked first in soda ash before being folded concertina style then again into a small square. The whole square of fabric was left for 15 minutes in the first dye bath (a beige colour), then removed and the dye poured away, replaced with a burgundy colour and the edges each dipped in and held for a couple of minutes. The whole package was left to absorb before rinsing.

The beige colour was mixed from lemon yellow and rose brown, I like the way the yellow has absorbed more rapidly giving very subtle changes in colour in the light areas.

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These pieces were first soaked in soda ash solution, scrunched into a container and dyed the first, (lighter), colour then removed and twisted. The piece on the left was twisted from the centre and the piece on the right from one end, before being coiled back into the empty container and the 2nd dye colour poured randomly over the coil. They were left for an hour before rinsing.

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Overdyed

 

This piece was pre soaked in soda ash then scrunched into a container and dyed with yellow, left for 15 minutes then squeezed out. The fabric was opened up and re-scrunched before being put back into the container and dyed with the orange.

The effect is very similar to that achieved by the ‘parfait’ method which allows more fabrics to be dyed at once.

 

 

The images below and right are the same piece; this wasGEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA actually my cleaning up cloth! There was so much dye on it by the end of the session that I decided just to twist it up, as if wringing it out, and pour over the bits of dye I had left over from ‘painting’ some final pieces. I left this for about 15 minutes then poured over soda ash solution and left to cure before rinsing.

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A final point – the ColourCraft dyes were much easier to mix; being single chemical dyes it was much easier to assess the colour. With the Jacquard dyes I had particular difficulty assessing any mixes using the blues and reds as they appeared very ‘muddy’ – that said I am very pleased with the final colours after rinsing and drying the fabrics.

It is possible to mix an infinite range of colours using single chemical dyes in the primary colours, especially if selecting more than one of each so it is certainly worth investing in these alone unless there is a particular mixed colour that you use a great deal.

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2 thoughts on “Dyeing for some colour!

  1. Pingback: Summer Holidays | Stitched Notions

  2. Pingback: Just opened a shop on Etsy! | Stitched Notions

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