A little over a week ago I returned from a rather disastrous dye class in WA. Two days ago I decided it was time to remedy that and see what I could do to over-dye some of the 12 yds of fabric which came home in pastel hues. I was a bit more concerned about the water issue seeing as we are in a drought as opposed to WA where everything is green and growing.
While I had used fresh dyes of tangerine, fuchsia and turquoise in WA, at home I used golden yellow, fuchsia and presumably turquoise. I say presumably because the dye was so old I could not read the label but dye spills on the exterior looked to be turquoise!
I pressed on in my wet studio experimentation of this new (to me) process. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to pour the mixed combinations into the baggies set on the wood countertop in the basement and not on my print table, which I did consider for maybe 10 secs. The reason it was so smart became abundantly clear later when I was sealing the stuffed baggies and loading into a plastic dishpan to batch. Excess dye had run out the bottoms of several bags and literally flooded the wood countertop. I mean flooded. The microwave was sitting in the purple river as were the cords of several pieces of equipment.
So I did what any self-respecting dyer would do. I went to the shelves of fabrics waiting to be transformed with dye and paint and pulled out one large, formerly peach commercial cotton table cloth which I paid $1 for in a thrift shop some years back. I tore it in half and mopped up the river of purple dye.
The other half I tossed into a baggie and poured in all the leftover dye. I also mopped up with an old linen printed dishtowel…you know the kind you pick up at Windsor Castle and it is gorgeous! Crisis=exquisite in my dyers manual!
I left all the fabric downstairs sitting in very small rinse buckets for at least 24 hours so I didn’t waste gallons rinsing out dye like back in the day.
So what have I learned from this big experiment? Possibly the best thing I could learn is that I can still dye fabric, with old dye, in primary colors and rinse in very little water. The thing is now I don’t have to for awhile as I have 12 new yards of beautiful cotton! Not that I was lacking for fabric anyway…
Linda Morand says
I think I read an article by Carol Soderlund where she tested the potency of old dyes and except for the magenta, all the colors were still usable. The magenta dye needed more concentration. Otherwise, everything came out fine. I think temperature is critical in dyeing blues. Water hardness can affect results. Glad that you got some usable fabric after all.
Yummy fabrics! Love that you used the river of dye to dye another piece of fabric!
thanks Debby…necessity is the mother of invention after all!