Monday, November 26, 2007

learning to dye

This week at my City and Guilds course we did some dying samples. We didn't actually do anythng that I didn't do with more fun and interest on Magie Relph's indigo dying course except that this time we used Dylon cold water dye rather than an indgo bath. At first I confess to be rather sceptical as I was shown samples which frankly I ( in my arrogance) thought childlike and splotchy. Not what I had seen for sale or on blogs. I was also surprised to be using Dylon which I thought was a kind of general household dye for changing cushion covers - all the professional dyers I had read about seem to use Procion MX dyes.

However, I was quite pleased with the results when I got to rinse them out today. The colours are not 'me' as we had to use the primaries we were given inititally with no mixing but I like the outcome in pattern terms.

This one was folded and elastic bands wrapped around the strip at intervals.

This one was just gathered in a long tube from the middle of the fabric and bands tied around it.

This one had lots of little 'pinches' all over it held with elastic bands.
This was me breaking the instructions and mixing blue and yellow becaused I craved green.

Ironically it was at the point where I wiped out a tub with some scrap fabric and created this subtle pink shade (on the left)that I got interested! I started to mix left over dyes and got this range and then of course I suddenly had a desire to hand dye acres of fabric in a whole range of gradations..... I never do anything by half!
I found this fantastic site on dying and was even lucky enough to get a very speedy and lengthy response to an email I sent with a query today. As a result I now know that I was right about using Procion MX dyes (Dylon is a form of pre-mixed Procion MX and other types of dyes but its hard to get primaries and although each package is only a couple of pounds, per gram its expensive in comparison so I am told). So I am of now to research purchases.
If you hand dye and have tips for me please do post them as comments. Thanks

1 comment:

Claire said...

Hi Helen,
I think Kemtex are the cheapest suppliers in UK ( for procion dyes, and they have larger sizes of dyes which make it even more cost effective.
If you're just starting off dyeing you're better off just getting a few primary colours (e.g. yellow, red, blue) as you can mix the dyes to get other colours.
Turquoise dye takes longer to cure than other colours (~ 24 hrs).
I used dye instructions from Ineke Berlyn's book which uses 3 procion dyes to create a whole colourwheel of fabrics. And it was all done in plastic bags so it wasn't too messy.
Hope that's some help to you.
Claire (Ireland)