Sunday, 13 September 2015

Creating With Friends

I belong to only a few of the subgroups of my local quilting guild. I find I dislike being stretched too thin, and with regular meeting times, it is sometimes hard to move into that headspace when you're in the middle of something entirely different.
But the summer is coming to a close. That means the optimal time for painting and dyeing is fast disappearing.
One of my groups had decided last spring to meet this weekend to play with dye.

We are fortunate enough to have a gentleman in the group who takes this very seriously and is happy (and patient enough) to squire a group of Post Menopausal WOMEN through a lot of the pit falls.

I PLAY with dye. He is in the process of mastering it. I too, learned a lot.

I doubt it will change much of what I do, as I'm basically VERY lazy, but I will experiment again in the near future. As long as I can work in my well ventilated garage and the car doesn't need to be inside.. I have time.

And I apologize now for not taking pictures of the activity. I have only my records. Later we will meet again and i will try to remember to take some photos to post.

In the morning we played with "painting", thickening the dye with an alginate solution.

my sample cloth

I mixed a golden yellow, Cerulean blue , a red and a fushia. After showing them how to play and control the dye application, everyone went to work. Probably the hardest thing for people to get used to was the strict need for brushes dedicated to a colour, a bit like when in kindergarten and the other guy had the red brush. You wanted the red brush but the teacher said NO blue in the red!

The result was, of course there were over twenty brushes on the table. LOL

In the afternoon most tried a method of dyeing called "parfait" dyeing. Yes, like the dessert, cloth is layered, added at a fixed interval to let the dyes set and each addition receives a dilution of the original dye concentration. The result is (will be) a progression of fabrics in different shades.

I don't stand around and wait for things like dye very well, (or bread rising, or canning timing) so I will  attempt this another time.
What I did was deal with the left over gels that have a very limited life span.

Using the dye as paints necessitated the addition of the fixative (soda ash) into the dye. Adding it as a solution at the end, which is the norm, negates the whole point of controlled painting...it would wash and move the dye around.
But after it has activated in the thickened dye, you have a time period of about 3 hours.
We played for a few hours in the morning and had a leisurely lunch (watching dyeing videos), so we we're at the end of the time period for any meaningful take up of the dye to happen.

I DID use the layering method, however for the first two samples.
Starting with the deep blue, I scrunched a FQ into my container and poured the gel mixture, diluted to about one cup, over the cloth.
It was worked for about 5 minutes.
I added the second FQ on top and poured the diluted golden yellow gel over the new cloth, working it only enough to get all of the white into the dye solution.


 Check back to the top sample.

This blue is very pale, echoing the edge bleed of the first fresh sample. This is not a true dye colour, it is a commercial mixture, so when they try to work at the end of their useful time, it gets interesting.

And boy was this dye at the end of it's life span.



Adding the yellow on top gave another interesting sample. The yellow, too, was exhausted but the interaction between the blue and the yellow gave a lovely soft green mix. VERY useful.












The reds still had some punch left in them.
 I combined the red and the fushia to get this brilliant sample. The blue contamination may be from the "dirty brush" syndrome.

But  WASTE NOT WANT NOT....

I have 3 very useful and unique pieces of fabric.






Our learned friend is on a mission to mix his own BLACK. This doesn't exist, other than chemical mixtures between the primaries. We've all seen it, black T shirts and jean fading to blues, and grey and even greens. When I discharged a piece of black material for another piece, I got rust.

So I took the remainder of his gelled black. But this time I accordion folded a FQ and stood it upright on its edge, in the gel. And I got this....



a nice little Shibori style...

But here it is very evident that this is also a tired mixture.





This activated dye is near the end of its usefulness and the mixture is coming apart. Some colours react faster than others.
Most of this piece now reads blue and both red and green are coming through very clearly.

There IS a science to this.......my goodness a whole industry.
But it fun to play.