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Experimenting with Sun Resist Dyeing

When writing about my latest Shibori project, I alluded to some sun dyeing I had attempted.  After that first attempt, I decided to do some experimenting to determine the best protocol to use for sun resist dyeing.

I set up the first set of samples about a month ago. Two weeks ago I finished the first trial and started the second set.  This past weekend, with beautiful weather, I was able to complete these trials.

In order to created colorful fabric, something is needed that combines with dye to fix or bind it to the fabric. In low immersion dyeing, the mordant most commonly used is soda ash (sodium carbonate). When silk dyeing, the mordant I used was vinegar. For natural dyeing processes, soymilk is commonly used with plant extracts. While not actually a mordant, the soy act as a binding agent between the fabric and dye.

The idea behind sun resist dyeing is that objects placed on the wet soy-treated fabric will block the suns rays from activating the soy binding of the dye to the fabric.

Having read several different articles about dyeing with soymilk, I first wanted to compare the different ways of prepping the fabric and dyeing the fabric. Some textile artists use just soy milk, some use powder from soybeans and other use soda ash as a pretreatment. So I set up to test several different combinations of pretreatment and dyeing.

For pretreatment, I used used three old pieces of partially dyed fabric (browns and khaki dyes). Each piece was pretreated with either soy milk (1 cup diluted with 3 cups water), soy powder (1/4 cup powder diluted with 4 cups hot water), or soda ash (4 tsp each of soda ash and salt, diluted in 4 cups hot water).

After pretreatment, the fabrics were allowed to dry completely.

Mixing Blue dye (1/4 tsp) was then mixed with soy milk, soy powder or soda ash (similar dilutions as above) and painted on one-third of each piece of fabric. The fabrics were placed in the sun with various shaped buttons set on top. After the fabrics dried, they were washed with Retayne and dried in the dryer.

Fabric was pretreated with soymilk.
Fabric was pretreated with soda ash.
Fabric was pretreated with soy powder.

Based upon these test samples, pretreatment of the fabric with soy powder did not result in very strong binding of the blue dye to the fabric. Furthermore, mixing the dye with soy powder did not result in any binding of the blue dye to the fabric. Pretreatment with either soy milk or soda ash was successful in dye binding. However, only the mixing the dye with soy milk cause the sun resist to be visible.

I did a second round of experimenting to verify my findings. In this experiment, the fabric was pretreated with soy milk (left side) or soda ash (right side) and dyed with three different colors of dye (Golden Yellow, Fuschia and Mixing Red) mixed with soymilk.

Wet dye painted, leaves placed to block sun.
Samples after drying in sun
Samples after washing with Retayne.

I love the results! I can’t wait to do more sun resist dyeing.

Featured

Small Shibori Quilt

I originally published this post on Sunday. However, for some reason the article disappeared from my blog. I know it was originally there, but someone asked about why I took it down.  When I went to check, it was gone. Luckily, I had saved a copy on my computer so I am able to repost today. 

My previous post, “The Ants (and other bugs) Come Marching In“, was also changed after I posted it.  For some reason the date of that post was changed by a couple of weeks.  So, instead of being a mid-July post, it is showing up in June.  I am not exactly sure what is happening. WordPress has changed their setup and that seems to be messing with my blog.  

For those who already read this article, I apologize for your having to receive it twice. For those who did not receive the original, please enjoy.

Pam

Free time is hard to find now that I am back to work. However, while my office was closed down in the spring, I had lots of extra time available. One of the things I did during my time off was to work on some fabric dyeing ideas.One bright sunny day, I set up some sun dyeing on my deck. I had seen this technique on a different blog (Tamarack Shack) and wanted to try it.I wanted to try larger shapes that I could then quilt around. I cut some large flowers out of cardboard, placed them on the dyed fabric and set them out in the sun for a couple hours. Unfortunately, and unexpectedly, the wind must have been a bit too strong at some point, because when I went to check on it, the cardboard had moved and distorted. The resulting dye blocked shapes were rather indistinct. I did like how the pink and purple splattered dye turned out. But the shapes were not as I had hoped. So, I’m planning to try this experiment again. Next time I will weight down my shapes with rocks or something heavy.Rather than just stashing the dyed fabric away to use whenever inspiration hit, the next day I decided to work on an idea that I had for a Shibori quilt.Last summer, I posted about a Shibori table quilt I had made. Using the same technique, I designed the stitching pattern for the shibori, the fabric painting, and the quilting. All of the running stitches were completed with polyester thread. This is a rather time consuming step that took about fifteen hours to complete.The pink flowers were then painted with dye mixed with print paste.The Green leaves were painted.The threads were gathered and tied tight.And the background was dyed blue.This project sat in my sewing room for a few weeks. Now, after a couple hours of long arm quilting and I am finally done with this project.

Papillon/Butterfly

I love butterflies. They are colorful, graceful, almost ethereal. Because I like them, I have used them in my craft projects, such as:

Quilting:

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Butterfly Art Quilt
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Butterfly Pillow

Fabric Dyeing:

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Images from backing of Butterfly Art Quilt

and Fused Glass:

Butterfly Glass
Butterfly Wall Art
Butterfly Glass2
Butterfly Garden Art

 

Butterfly Necklace
Butterfly Necklace

Recently, an email from a yarn store featured several new patterns. The Butterfly/Papillon shawl pattern by Marin Melchoir caught my eye. Later that same week, while shopping a a local yarn store (Three Kittens, Mendota Heights, MN), the owner was wearing the shawl.  Written for fingering weight yarn, this was the weight of yarn she had used for her shawl.  I really liked the pattern, so I purchased it.  However, I wanted the shawl to have more “movement”.  So, instead, I knit the shawl in lace weight yarn, using the indicated needle size.  This created a softer, lighter version of the shawl, but the same size as the pattern. 

I really like how the shawl turned out.  However, I’m not sure whether I will make another.  This shawl took about 40 hours to complete!

Nui Shibori Table Quilt

Fabric Dyeing has been a fun, creative way to make unique fabrics for my quilting.  This spring, I spent some time playing around with stitched shibori.  I wanted to figure out how to create drawings in the dye.  I also wanted to try hand painting before and after dyeing the fabric.

So, I set out to do a few experiments.

Experiment #1. Nui Shibori flower and over-dyeing painted fabric

  • Draw pattern on the fabric with a water soluble fabric marker
  • Stitch the drawn lines  with polyester thread
  • Dissolve Dye in 1 ml Urea Water, Add 2 T Print Paste, 14 ml Urea Water, 1/8 tsp Mixed Alkali, Mix well
  1.               Dark Pink = ¼ tsp Mixing Red
  2.               Light Pink = 1/16 tsp Mixing Red
  3.               Dark Blue = ¼ tsp Mixing Blue
  4.               Light Blue = 1/16 tsp Mixing Blue
  5.               Green = 1/8 tsp Evergreen
  • Paint dye on fabric areas within the shibori stitching

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  • Paint dye in sections for over-dyeing

Dye Paint

 

  • Allow to dry for 4 hours
  • Pull center threads and tie off

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  • Place in 1000 ml of 0.15 mg/ml Mixing Blue Dye (with Soda Ash)
  • Batch for 5 hours
  • Wash with Blue Dawn, Dry and Iron

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Dye Paint Overdye

Lessons Learned:

  • Shibori pattern turned out well
  • Dye painting turned out well, but the the color edges were too crisp – use less Print Paste next time
  • Over-dyeing does not change the underlying painted color very much

Experiment #2.  Whole Cloth Pattern:

  • Design quilting using QuiltCAD program

Capture

  • Stitch section outlines on long arm with polyester thread for pattern placement when quilting
  • Draw shibori pattern by holding water soluble marker in the needle position and running pattern on trace

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  • Hand stitch shibori sections

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  • Dye Paint:
  1. Mixed Alkali: ½ tsp mixed with 8 ml Urea water
  2. Yellow: 1/8 tsp Golden Yellow in 10 ml Urea water; Combine 1 ml concentrate with 6 ml Print Paste, 3 ml Urea water and 0.6 ml Mixed Alkali
  3. Green: 1/8 tsp Evergreen in 15 ml Urea Water. Combine 7.5 ml concentrate with 15 ml PP and 1.5 ml MA
  4. Dark Pink: 1/8 tsp MR in 15 ml Urea water.  Combine 7.5 ml concentrate with 15 ml PP and 1.5 ml MA
  5. Light Pink: Combine 3 ml MR concentrate with 15 ml PP and 1.5 ml MA
  • Paint on Fabric sections of shibori stitching

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  • Allow to dry for 4 hours
  • Pull center threads and tie off
  • Stitch Floss “Ties” to center of fabric to help with lifting in/out of water
  • Make Dye Concentrate: Mixing Blue 10 gm in 100 ml Urea Water (100 mg/ml)
  • Place in 4000 ml Soda Ash solution in bucket
  • Add dye concentrate at 5 minute intervals (10 ml, 10 ml, 10 ml, 10ml, 40 ml) = 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 2.0 mg/ml to create an ombre effect
  • Lift fabric a small amount after each dye increment
  • Prop fabric up on support dripping into empty bucket, cover with plastic bag

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  • Batch for 4 hours

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  • Clip and remove all sewing lines
  • Wash with Blue Dawn, Dry and Iron

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  • Quilt as planned

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Lessons Learned:

  • Paint center dye before pulling tight the outer threads – easier than having to paint on a bubble
  • If you forget the first step – sealed air packs work well to fill the bubble for painting

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  • Fabric will trap air, creating a bubble, in the middle – easy to keep the center section out of the dye bath.
  • Use a color of thread different from the color of dye – makes it easier to remove the threads.
  • The fabric dye paint did not turn out as well as I had hoped.  So, after quilting, I repainted the fabric dye without Print Paste for a smoother look

 

I entered this quilt in the Minnesota State Fair on a whim to see what the judges comments would be regarding the shibori  and hand painting technique.  Boy was I surprised that it was awarding a blue ribbon!

 

Dyed Fabric Strip Quilt

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One of my original posts on this blog was about fabric dyeing (Sept 22, 2015).   At that time, I mentioned that I had watched a Craftsy class about dyeing fabric.  Before jumping in and buying numerous colors of dye and supplies, I decided to try a sample kit.
The purchased a gradation dyeing kit which was a smart decision.  This kit gave me the opportunity to try my hand at mixing dyes to get different colors, as well as working with low volumes and how to best handle the fabrics.
The first color kit I purchased was “STONES & SHELLS”. Stones&Shells
Colors included were: Camel 5181, Old Rose 5220 & Stormy Grey 6160
Following the directions, I created thirty fat eights in a gradation of earth tones.  While the samples were fun to make, I had no idea what to use them for.  So,  these pieces of fabric have been sitting on my shelf waiting for some inspiration.  Earlier this year when I was doing some strip quilting, I decided that a strip quilt might be a good use of these fabric as well.
To add some pops of color, I dyed three fat quarters of cotton fabric using a variety of techniques – marbling, sun dyeing and batch dyeing.  For the sides and the backing, I dyed a three yard piece of 108″ wide cotton with a evergreen dye.
The gradation fabrics were cut into 2.5″ x 20″ strips.  These were then sorted by color and then   The green pops of color were cut into 2 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ pieces.  The strips were then sewn together with dark green on each side.  After sorting the gradation fabrics, I split them into three groups and pieced starting with the first color of each group.  This allowed for the fabrics to be distinct rather than blending from one gradient to the next.
The quilt top was then put together using my long-arm machine just like a did with the black strip quilt earlier this year (May 8, 2019).
Another fun quilt to donate.  And, more fabric used from my stash!

Shibori Quilt

Sometimes, when working on a quilt, parts of the original design are adjusted and changed as I proceed with the project.  This was the case when I was making the large butterfly quilt that I described in August 2016 posts.

Early in the design process, I had thought that a rainbow shibori border would look nice.  To create the border,  I made four 9″ x 90″ shibori panels with red, blue and yellow dye.  These panels turned out lovely.

The next step was to dye the fabric that the butterflies would be appliqued onto.  When planning out this step, I changed my mind about the border and decided that I wanted the butterflies to be in a more “natural” environment.  So, I made four more panels of shibori that looked like grass.  This change was perfect for the quilt at that time.

However, I had the rainbow shibori panels already dyed.  Not knowing what I wanted to use them for, I just stored them in my fabric stash and didn’t really think about them for a few years.

Recently, when organizing my fabric, I ran across these panels and decided I really needed to use these in a quilt. Utilizing a simple triangle quilt design, I combined the shibori  fabric with a black fabric.  This was a quick project that turned out really nice. I love the optical illusion that the dyed fabric creates.

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More Donation Quilts

Having received a large quantity of fabric from my sister, I needed to make room for storing this.  Sorting through my current stash of fabric, I found a container of dyed fabrics that I had made when trying different dyeing techniques.

These swatches were each 5″ x 5″.  Many of my original dyeing samples were used in previous projects,  such as described in “Fabric Dyeing” and “Spring has Sprung“.

The ones left were a bit dull in color. No longer needing these, I decided to make another of the many quilts in my “Future Projects” folder on my computer.  To brighten them up, I combined them with white fabric and use variegated thread for the quilting.  It’s amazing how the white makes even drab fabrics look cheery.

This was a simple pattern that combined these 250 different swatches in long rows separated by white sashing, turned on point and set in asymmetrically.  I really like how it turned out. IMG_2732

Spring Has Sprung!

It’s April, the birds are singing outside my window, the bulbs are coming up in my gardens and the grass is starting to get green.  So, it’s time to change the decor in my bedroom – a new Daisy Bed runner really added some springtime color.

 

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To make this bedrunner, I used the leftover blue fabric from the backing of my butterfly quilt as the main background.  To supplement the blue, I took out some of my custom dyed fabric samples, generally ones that were trials on different dyeing techniques. For added color, I decided to try out some fabric paint crayons.

A few years ago, I took a class on Shiva Paintsticks and Rubbing Plates.  I enjoyed the class and purchased some supplies.  However, time being in short supply, I really hadn’t used them since completing the class.

This project, I thought would be a good use of the paintsticks to embellish the fabrics that I had in my collection. After a day of painting, I set the fabrics aside for a week to allow the oils in the dye crayons to dry.  The dye pigment was then heat set by ironing the fabric between pieces of brown paper (absorbs the excess oils very nicely).  The resulting fabrics were really interesting.

Triangles were cut out of the fabrics and the border was then made by alternating triangles of blue and color.

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To enhance the bedrunner, daisies and leaves were appliqued onto the center panel. The runner was quilted and the binding added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arashi Shibori Experiment

Arashi Shibori, pole wrapping, creates an interesting dye pattern in the fabric. Because I liked how my initial samples turned out (see April 13, 2016 and August 12, 2016 postings), I decided to do a small experiment.  To assess the effect of the amount of compaction of the fabric has on the dye pattern, the following experiments were completed.
Experiment #1:
1. PVC pipes with caps (to reduce the amount of dye needed)
2. Three pieces of fabric  cut 8″ x 45″, stitched together using a long stitch length to form a tube of fabric, and scrunched onto the pipe
3. Scrunch one piece of fabric:
– loosely, about 20″ in length
– moderatly, about 15″ in length
– tighly, about 10″ in length

8 inch wrap

Experiment #2:

1. PVC pipes with caps (to reduce the amount of dye needed)
2. Three pieces of fabric  cut 9″ x 45″, stitched together using a long stitch length to form a tube of fabric, and scrunched onto the pipe
3. Scrunch one piece of fabric:
– loosely, about 20″ in length
– moderatly, about 15″ in length
– tighly, about 10″ in length
9 inch wrap

 

Experiment #3:

1. PVC pipes with caps (to reduce the amount of dye needed)
2. Three pieces of fabric  cut 10″ x 45″, stitched together using a long stitch length to form a tube of fabric, and scrunched onto the pipe
3. Scrunch one piece of fabric:
– loosely, about 20″ in length
– moderatly, about 15″ in length
– tighly, about 10″ in length

10 inch wrap

I now have samples that I can refer to when planning to dye fabric using this technique. Can’t wait to try some more fabric dyeing.

Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair ended one week ago.  Finished up just in time, I entered my butterfly quilt this year.  A third place finish was a nice outcome considering that the Sweepstakes winner was the first place quilt in my category.

Butterfly Quilt on display at the MN State Fair
Quilt and Pillows on our guest room bed.
Pillow sham

After submitting the quilt, I did have some time to make a pillow sham and decorative pillow.  The sham was made with custom dyed fabric and thread painting similar to the quilt.

Decorative Pillow

For a decorative throw pillow, I did an on-line search for paper piecing butterflies and found a really nice site (https://lillyella.com/2015/09/02/butterfly-charm-block-paper-piecing-patterns/).  I really enjoyed using my dyed fabrics to make the butterflies for the pillow.