Monday, 22 February 2010

Fabric dying workshop


Last week I went on a workshop to learn how to dye fabric using the microwave.  Who would have thought it could be so easy!

We began, surprise, surprise, with all the Health and Safety stuff, but I suppose that's unavoidable these days.

The truly amazing thing was how many colours we managed to make just using the 3 basic colours:  red, blue and yellow.


My primary school memories of colour were that all colours come from these 3 primary colours, but somehow it doesn't mean the same as when you add a little more blue to the red dye and see the transition from red to purple or add yellow and see the colour heading towards orange.
So, anyway, to the procedure:  we started with plain prewashed muslin.  The prewashing bit is important because the dye doesn't take if your fabric hasn't been washed.  You can get blotchy bits like the yellow in the photo - although those particular blotches are caused by using a fabric that doesn't hold dye well.  That was another part of what we did - trying out different fabrics to see which ones held the dye properly.
We made up a salt solution with hot water, a dye solution using the microwave dye powder and added the 2 together in a microwavable container.  Put in the fabric (precut into fat quarters), stir well and microwave.
After we had played around with different proportions of colours to produce a range of colours, we experimented with folding and tying the fabric and using 2 different dyes on the same piece of fabric.  The workshop leader even brought some salt shakers that we used to sprinkle black dye on for extra effect.  A really informative and fun workshop!


Then after all that time spent working with colour, I went home and made some clutch bags using just one colour for each - and fairly plain colours at that!  I think I'm waiting for inspiration to strike on how best to use all the dyed fabric.
Later in the week I had a phone call from someone who described herself as 'your dying friend'.  You can imagine my panic - I didn't even know any of my friends were ill.  Turned out it was someone who had been on the fabric dying workshop with me.  Phew!  That was a relief.

Thanks for calling by my blog.  See you again I hope.



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