Thursday, September 20, 2012

Easy Ombre dyeing

I got some fantastic linen fabric from Enid this past weekend and decided to try Ombre dyeing.   I did an internet search and decided to try the easy and less time consuming method.  I mixed up three to four ratios of Procion MX dye in 8 oz squirt bottles.  Typically, I did 1/2 tsp in the first one, 1 tsp in the second,  1 1/2 tsp in the 3rd, and 2 tsp in the fourth.  I wrote numbers on the bottles in Sharpie so I would not get them out of order. 
Here are my three sets of dyes: Lapis Blue, Ultraviolet, and Jade Green

I folded my fabrics in half so they would go from dark to light and back to dark.  I also had some 50%poly/50%cotton that I put underneath two of the linen pieces (that were also folded in half). I am hoping the dyes soaked through all four layers. I know the poly blend won't take the dye as well, but if there is white fabric in the house I can't seem to leave it alone. If it is a pale version, I am okay with that.

I would have done this outside but it was only in the 60's so I did it in the tub.  My fabrics were pre-soaked in soda ash water. I put some plastic sheeting in the tub, set my fabric on it, and squirted the dyes on the fabric in equal proportions. I am doing three different sets of fabrics, each in a different color. Next I put down another layer of plastic sheeting and another layer of fabric and squirted on the dyes.  I did this one more time with my last layer. I put some plastic sheeting on top. I was concerned about the dyes getting fully absorbed so I did press on the fabric sandwich with my hands to help push the dyes through.  We will see if it did the trick. (I think I should have probably been more aggressive with this. When I took the fabrics out of the tub, there appeared to be light spots where the fabric was on an angle in the tub. I think this is because the dye ran to the bottom of the tub so there wasn't any dye underneath this section to squish around.)

I let these sit overnight and in the morning washed them  twice. I could see white spots and color variations so I decided to overdye them to at least get rid of the white spots. Here are the fabrics after the ombre dyeing (fabrics were still damp).

Jade Green fabric with three color segments

Jade Green after ombre dyeing, linen

Purple after ombre dyeing, cotton/poly

 Purple after Ombre dyeing, linen

Blue after ombre dyeing, cotton/poly

Blue after ombre dyeing, linen

I didn't wash the fabrics again or dry them, just mixed up buckets of Procion MX in the same colors but a fairly light dye batch, roughly a tsp of dye per each bucket.

If I am making up dye buckets, I am going to fill them with other fabrics too.  The tubes are for shibori dyeing. I love shibori tube dyeing, it's easy and I love the results. I will post about that another time.

I left these overnight, then washed them three times and dried them, and here are the final results.  I would not call these a success, but a good first effort. 

Jade Green linen overdyed, this has the best transition, but this may be because it does not go as dark.

Purple Linen overdyed

Blue Linen overdyed

Here is a section of the purple one that has nice mottling (not good for ombre, but good for other things!)

I will probably manipulate these again.  If I tried this method again, I would do them on a hard flat surface and probably squish the dye around a little more at the transitions between shades.

It is back to the Galaxy quilts for me.  I need to work on painting on them and would prefer to do this outside before the weather turns cold.  In Colorado that could be any time.

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