Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dyeing with Daren

Today I took my last class at Shiisa Quilts. And what a way to go! Dyeing with Daren was awesome! The instructor, Daren Pitts Redman, is an art quilter from neighboring Brown County, Indiana. She uses her own and other folks' hand dyed fabric to make her quilts. And I have to say, she's really enthusiastic, positive, and fun in the classroom. She taught us a low immersion microwave dyeing method, which is quick and easy.

Here's another view with the sun shining through the fabric. We dyed the blue first, then the red, then the yellow, which ran counter to my Easter egg dyeing training, where you always started with the lightest color. But since we weren't layering colors, I guess it didn't matter so much. Apparently when Daren dyes at home she does all red on one day then she'll have a blue day and so on. This makes a lot of sense because after you dye the fabric and set the dye (either via microwave, sun, or time), you have to run it through the washer's rinse cycle a couple of times to get the excess dye out. And at that point you really need to have only one color in the washer at a time, or you run the risk of getting muddy colors.
Here's a close up of just the purple half yard. Check out the mottling. Lots of folks in the class did neat tie dye effects, but I was really looking to see what I could do with just plain dyeing, as I already took a class on the tie dye effects at IQF Chicago with Diane Ricks. But the most interesting thing about the tie dyes was with the secondary colors, at least one of the primary colors seemed to have more capillary action. So even though you only put it in one dye bath, the blue would migrate farther into the undyed areas, so it looks like you've got purple and blue.

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Rebecca said...

Pretty! Whatcha gonna make with them? I'm amazed at the intensity of the colors you were able to get. So when you use different colors on the same fabric do you let the fabric dry in between? Would you ever just mix the dyes instead of layering them?

Sarah said...

Not sure what to make yet. Contemplating a Lone Star. Daren's work is full of intense color and that's one of the reasons I took her class was to see how she does it. The short answer: lots more dye powder than the usual "recipes" call for in the dye solution.

When you use different colors on the same fabric you do not have to let the fabric dry in between. For example, in the microwave dyeing class I took at IQF/Chicago we applied multiple dyes to our fabric before heat setting it in the microwave (when those fabrics get unpacked I'll post some pics so you can see the results). If you let the fabric dry and then dye it again (with the same color, to get it more saturated, or with a different color), it's called overdyeing. The red piece in the picture was overdyed because at first it turned out more pink than red.

The usual technique of dyeing fabric entails mixing the dyes instead of layering them. By connecting Easter eggs to fabric dyeing I probably confused things. In the world of textile dyeing, if you want a secondary color, like orange, you mix an orange dye solution and then apply it to your fabric. Unless you were trying to do something weird, you would not dye it yellow and then dye it red. You can either buy orange dye powder or you can buy red dye powder and yellow dye powder and combine them while you're making you dye solution.

Janet said...

Sarah... I MISS you!! Your fabric looks great!!

I can't wait to see what you do with your hand-dyes... I have the ones that Chris dyed for me in class... think I'll use them for Paula Reid's Tequila Sunrise class. She does it with pastels, but you KNOW how much I love brights!!

Shiisa Quilts