Friday, October 26, 2012

Champlin Women of Today's Annual Arts & Crafts show

I'll be participating in the Champlin Women of Today's Annual Arts and Crafts Show on Saturday, November 3rd from 9am to 4pm at the Champlin Park High School.  It is just north of 610 and east of 169 at the corner of Douglas and 109th Ave.  Map

I haven't been at this show before, but with more than 150 crafters I'm sure you can find something you just can't live without.  And being at a high school there will be a lot of parking.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Because I can

Why would I go to the trouble of hand dyeing dish towels?  Because I can.  Now I have dish towels that match my kitchen.  They were just some plain 100% cotton ones. 

I'm really fond of my salt pig or salt cellar (in the middle).  I do a lot of baking and cooking and it is a lot easier to measure out salt fro mthis than trying to pour from a shaker into a spoon.  Unfortunately, the seller doesn't have any more listed in their Etsy shop right now.  My Mom said it looked "so weird", which it does.  But it's fun.  Should I mention that I suggested to my husband that I could make it into a small water fountain or Halloween decoration?  But that might be too weird.

And the little bowl I have under my pepper grinder helps keep my counters and table clean.  No more pepper bits everywhere you set it down.  Those are all of my hints for Heloise for now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I like purple, can you tell?

These three are Itijime Shibori, where they're folded and clamped between shapes.  Kind of like folding paper for cutting out snowflakes in art class in school.  All three were in the same batch of dye.

The one on the left is silk crepe de chine.  The middle is a soft, slightly looser weave of rayon.  The one on the right is a hand woven (not by me) rayon with subtle stripe in the weave.

And again, you can see how the color shifts on silk compared to rayon.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Another Arashi Shibori tied scarf.  This one in soft rayon dyed forest green.

Friday, October 19, 2012


I've been busy in the basement.  These two are Arashi Shibori scarves.  Where I wrap them around a pole like a candy cane, wrap string around to hold in place, scrunch it down to the end of the pole and dye.  The string both holds it in place and creates the pattern.

These were wrapped the same and in the same dye bath.  The one on the right is a soft, looser weave, rayon scarf.  It compresses more so has wider stripes of white.  The one on the left is silk crepe de chine, which doesn't compress as much so the amount of white is smaller.  And the color is a bit different because one is silk and one rayon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Eden Prairie Lioness 2012 Art & Craft Show

This Saturday I'll be participating in the Eden Prairie Lioness 2012 Art & Craft Show from 9am to 4pm at the Grace Church at 9301 Eden Prairie Road .  Hope to see you there.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Circles and squares

Another Itijime Shibori scarf.  Folded into little squares and clamped between some pieces of wood.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Another example of the different color cotton and silk give even when they're in the same container.  This is lavender dye.  The tshirt is a soft 100% cotton and the scarf is 100% silk Crepe de Chine.  The silk seems a lot more blue.  Other times when I put silk in blue dye it seems more purple.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Frozen or ice dyed

It isn't a technique I invented, but I modified one I saw mentioned elsewhere.  Someone had described snow dyeing where you scrunch up your soda ash soaked item, put a layer of snow on it, pour on the dye and wait for the snow to melt and the dye to color the fabric.  The dye doesn't react with the fiber until it gets warm enough.  And when it is all scrunched up the insides of the shirt don't get dye as fast as the outsides.  So by the time the snow has all melted there isn't any dye left to color the inside.  Except this doesn't work as well in the summer or if I don't feel like digging snow up out in my yard.

So instead of snow I freeze the shirts in my basement freezer.  I've written up a step by step description of how I do it. Since I use the standup freezer in my basement I have quite a bit of room and can do several shirts at a time.

Some dye is highly likely to land on the table and/or floor so chose your location carefully. I work in the basement on a concrete floor near a floor drain. My basement isn’t really finished so it doesn’t matter to me. Plastic on the floor can be slippery so use with caution.

The instructions are for fiber reactive dye such as Procion MX. This isn’t for RIT or other all purpose dye.

 · Dissolve soda ash in a bucket at one cup soda ash per gallon of water. Make sure to wear your dust mask when measuring out the soda ash. While it is pretty mild, it can’t be good to inhale the powder. The bucket needs to be large enough to fully submerse the shirt. If you’re doing more than one at a time they don’t need to all be in there at the same time but it makes it easier.

· Soak the item in soda ash for at least 10 minutes to make sure it is completely wet. It can be a day or more if that works better.

· Prepare a flat work surface. I use a plastic tray to protect my work table and contain any drips. (See here for info)

· Squeeze out the excess water. You don’t need to really wring it out, but you don’t want it sopping wet. The more water left in it, the less dye that will get to the backside. Not a problem when doing fabric or a scarf since that is a single layer. But a t-shirt is 2 layers and the other side won’t have as much color. So it depends on the look you’re going for.

· Lay it out flat on your work surface then bunch it up. Try not to get parts folded under when bunching it up. You want to create high and low spots but not more layers. How tightly packed it is will affect how much dye gets into the fabric and to the back since the dye is applied to the tops of the ‘hills’ and won’t run down to the ‘valleys’ easily if it is tightly packed. 

 · I normally put the shirt into a one gallon bucket to keep it compact and to make it easy to handle. But for larger shirts I’ve used a plastic tray or plastic sheeting in a cardboard box.  A larger plastic tray can hold more than one shirt or scarf at a time.  5 quart ice cream buckets would work well and have the added bonus of 'requiring' someone to eat the ice cream.

· Put the items in the freezer. If they’re only in there an hour or two they’ll have a different end pattern than if they’re in there for at least a day and are frozen solid. Since I’m in Minnesota I could put them out in the garage come January. See here for a comparison

· For the dye, I mix it fairly strong since I want it to be a good contrast to the white of the fabric. Again, it depends on how you want it to look. I use two or three colors. They may intermix so choose colors that will blend nicely. I mix at one tablespoon dye powder to one quart water and can cover 4-6 shirts with this amount. Make sure to wear your dust mask and gloves when working with dye powder. Wet some newspaper and lay it on the table before mixing the powder. It will help capture powder and make it easily visible and cleanable. I don’t add urea or anything else. Only dye powder and warm water. If you want more info and hints on how to mix up the dye powder, Dharma Trading has good detail.

· You can put the dye liquid into squirt bottles or measuring cups with spouts. Once you’ve used a cup or spoon for dye don't use it for food again. Use some cheapo or disposable cups and spoons. Check out Goodwill or the dollar store.

· Apply the colors in patches. You’ll have to experiment to see what you like best. I tend to cover the surface with dye. Usually, I use 2 colors in about equal amounts then add a third color in a smaller amount.

· Let sit for at least one day for it to thaw and react completely. The dye won’t react with the fabric until it gets up to room temp. If the area you’re storing the container in is colder, you’ll want to leave it for a couple days. It won’t hurt it any to leave it for several days until you’re ready to wash it out. The top might dry out a bit, but it won't hurt it if it does. And after a couple days it doesn’t really matter since all the dye that was going to react already has.

· Rinse well in cold water then wash by itself in warm or hot until the water is clear. Once the extra dye is thoroughly washed out it can be washed normally.

· Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Falling leaves

This is one of my new favorite colors.  Dharma calls it Dancing with Raisins.  It is a nice, rich ruby or wine red on soft rayon.

And the leaves and dragon flies scattered on it give it a windblown look. 

It is a good thing I got the large container of this dye color.  I think I want one too. Just think how nice this would look with my black wool winter dress coat.  Hmm, perhaps flowers instead.  But which ones?

Monday, October 1, 2012


A batik design that looks like a necklace.  A border around the neckline, front and back.  The round shapes were inspired by one of my origami papers.  Considering how many cranes I've folded over the last several years, I spend a lot of time looking at origami paper.  It is a nice activity when you're on the phone with someone and need to pay attention but don't need to take notes or look something up.

The color is a nice golden brown.  Dharma calls it Palamino Gold.