I absolutely love surprises – that is, “good” or “happy” surprises. It’s like change. I always have loved change as long as I was making the change. But that’s another story. Let’s talk about my latest dyeing session.
This past Saturday I was looking for a specific pink for a project I’m working on. And since I’m working with pure dyes right now (dyes that aren’t made up of other colors) I wanted to mix my dye and see if I could get it. I had four different dye combination. The first two were just the Mixing Red dye with differing amounts of water. I added a little black to the second two thinking I’d get darker colors but the black dye turned it into more of a lilac.
Blacks are funny to work with since they are made up of other colors. When you buy them, they will say they have a greenish cast or a bluish cast. Mine evidently had a bluish cast.
If you have ever had the burning desire to understand black dyes, Johanna, at Magenta Freckle Hand Dyed Fabrics has done a great experiment on 11 blacks dyes. You can check out her post here. I sure wish I would have read this before I bought this last black. Anyway, this was one of those surprised I didn’t want. The color is a pretty lilac, but definitely not pink.
Yes, I could buy the pink I’m looking for, but I didn’t want to buy more dye and really have enjoyed mixing my own.
My next surprise was these napkins. If you ever run into me at thrift or second hand stores, I’m always in the linen area looking for cotton napkins to dye. We love using them and I’m always looking for that perfect napkin to add to my collection.
The top napkin is the original colored napkin. It’s kind of a pukey green. I knew I’d throw it in the dye as soon as I could.
The second napkin I added some of that lilac I had left over from the previous surprise. The bottom napkin I added both the lilac and some lime green that I was also using that day. I love all of the texture. Now I wish I would have dyed all four since I’ll never get those exact colors again!
The last surprise was this parfait with three dye colors. In this previous post I only used one color per layer. For this parfait I used three colors on each layer: Golden Yellow, Turquoise and Brown Rose. Brown Rose is not a pure dye, but I had it on hand and thought I’d like to see how it played with these two other pures.
If you aren’t familiar with parfait dyeing, you scrunch up your first piece of fabric and place it in the bottom of your dye container. (All of the fabric has been soaked in soda ash water.) You then add the dye. I added all three colors. Then you put the next piece of fabric on top of that one and again add the dye. You continue until you place all of the fabric you want to play with. I chose just to use four pieces.
As you add the fabric, you can press down a little to help the dyes mingle. However, be aware that the bottom pieces will be a lot darker and you don’t want to end with mud. After I’ve added all of the layers of fabric and dye, I set the container out in the sun. I usually wait until the next day to wash mine out. If you live in a real warm climate you might not need to wait that long.
So here are my results and it’s a happy surprise! When I took them out of the dye containers and started rinsing them, I thought they were absolutely ugly. I figured the top one was the only one I’d be able to save. After the first rinse they still were real dark. Anyway to make a long story short, when they came out of the dryer, I fell in love with them. In this picture it shows how they were in the container.
The bottom two pieces are dark, but they still have lots of texture and light. I love surprises and with two out of three “happy” surprises, I’m again a happy dog. What about you? Have you had any surprises lately?