Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Don't Be Hogging All the Snow!

 While the eastern part of the US is getting hit with lots and lots of snow....I've got nothin'. No snow here. It has all melted away with several balmy days, which seems so weird to me because this is usually our kick ass cold time of the year. So you know what no snow means? No snow dyeing for me. But........

I have been keeping busy with my fabric dyes. I seem to be on a fabric dyeing binge lately and that is good because I want to build up my stash of hand dyed and painted fabrics. 

Since snow dyeing was on my list of things to try and I've now checked that one off, I also had another fabric dyeing technique to try that I hadn't ever tried before--stenciling and screen printing with thickened dyes. To date, all the stenciling and screen printing I had done was with fabric paints.

So here are a few of my thickened dye stenciling and screen printing results.






I'm quite happy with how these have turned out. Especially since after I stenciled and stamped the thickened dye onto the fabric, I pretty much just let them dry. I was worried that this process might not work so well since it's best if the dyes stay wet as long as possible. But I'm happy to report that my easy peasy method works and I don't have to do any fiddling with trying to cover them up or keep them moist for long periods of time. Yes! I'm a lazy dyer.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Snow Dyeing with Rubber Band Resist Tutorial

I've finally prepared a tutorial for you on how I do my snow dyed fabrics. I did not invent this fun way of dyeing. Many many other fabric dyers have done this before me and for some reason I am just this year jumping on board with this fun technique.

There are many ways you can approach snow dyeing and this is just how I have found that I most enjoy doing it. The fabric can be manipulated many different ways to achieve a wide range of results.

Please note: I do not go into the basics of working with fiber reactive dyes in this tutorial. If you have never used fiber reactive dyes before, you should search the Internet for tutorials, classes, or books on how to safely and correctly work with these dyes.

The equipment I use for my snow dyed fabrics are in the following two photos. The containers/trays I use have sides on them so that any melting snow/dye will pool in the bottom and not slosh out the sides. I elevate my fabric off the bottom of the container as I don't want the fabric to sit in the melted snow. If you don't have a grid or something that the snow will melt through, you can place a smaller container inside the larger container with the smaller one flipped upside down. The grid shown here is cut up pieces from a piece of gridded ceiling tile. I found it at my local home improvement center. I have about three layers of the grid in the bottom of the container, as one layer was not allowing enough clearance.


I use cotton PFD fabric and small elastic bands. My fabric is usually cut at half yard sizes.


I start in the center of the fabric by pinching up a portion between my thumb and forefinger. Varying the size of this pinched section will result in larger or smaller rings on your finished fabric. 


I give the pinched section of fabric a slight twist and then start winding the elastic band on. For the bands I'm using, I think I wind about 6 to 8 times until the band is tightly wound. You want the band to be tight so that the fabric dye cannot penetrate that area when the snow/dyes are melting on the fabric.


Move to an area near the first banded section and create another. You can space these any distance you like.


Continue banding the fabric working outward from the center.


Here is my half yard of fabric, completely banded and ready. Once all the elastic bands are on I put this into my bucket of soda ash mixture and let it soak for about 20 to 30 minutes.


Take the banded fabric piece out of the soda ash mixture and squeeze as much of the fluid out of the fabric that you can. I squeeze it right over my soda ash bucket so it goes back in and can be used again.

I place the banded fabric on the grid and arrange it so it is somewhat flat and not hanging over the edges of the grid.


Snow that is wet works the best. If you can make a snowball and it holds together, that is good! I mound the snow on the fabric making sure that it is completely covered, edges and all. I try to mound it about 1.5 to 2 inches high.


I have my dyes premixed and in squeeze bottles. I use a concentrated dye mixture, 1 Tbsp. dye per half cup of water. I like to use two or three colors on one piece. I start by squeezing the first color of dye on the snow.


Then add the remaining color(s). Once all the dye is on the snow, I set the container aside until the snow has melted. I usually set my container near the wood burning stove so that it can get warm and melt faster. Even in the warm environment I put it in it can take around 3 hours for the snow to melt.


Here is what it looks like when the snow has melted.


I carefully lift the fabric out of the container and place it in a ziplock bag. I seal the bag and then place it in another container, in case of leaks. Then I place this near the warm wood stove again so that it can batch overnight. 


The next morning I rinse the fabric in cold water and start removing the elastic bands. Then I continue with the washing out process to remove the excess dye. Below is the finished piece from the tutorial. The dye colors I used were Aquamarine, Watermelon, and Pewter. These dyes are from Dharma Trading.




Here is another piece I worked on at the same time as the piece above. This one is a piece of cotton jersey fabric and the colors on it are Red Violet, Bahama Blue, and Pewter.


Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Blog Hop With Craft Attitude


I'm excited to be participating in this blog hop with StencilGirl and Craft Attitude.  I'm always willing to try out a new product and this was a fun opportunity. If you are not familiar with Craft Attitude, the product I played with is a printable craft film that comes packaged in 8.5" x 11" size, with 8 sheets per package. It works in your inkjet printer and can be used on so many craft surfaces.

About 10 or so years ago, I purchased a recipe box. It really wasn't a design that I loved, but I couldn't find anything I liked better at the time. I've lived with these chickens, as cute as they are, for all these years. For a few years now I've thought about redoing the box but just never got around to it. This was my chance. Finally!


The first thing I did with the box was empty it out and then sand all of the outer sides. There was a film of some sort that took a little effort to get off. Then I applied a couple layers of gesso.  In the photos that follow you can see my progression of adding color and design. I used acrylic paints.

First layers of paint--pink, orange, light green.

A little black was added

Some white was added

Yummy rich red!

Stencil design added in yellow.
Stencil: Spider Flower 6"

Stencil design added with teal paint.
Stencil: Inky Circles 6"

Stencil design added with purple paint.
Stencil: Square Dancing 6"

Stencil design added with lime green paint
Stencil: Curvy Stems 9x12"

I am going to add some text to the box and wanted to make sure it would show off and not get lost with all the colors in the background, so I added a section of white where the text will go.

I printed out my text on plain paper.

I positioned the paper on the box to audition the size. Looks good!

I went back to the printer and reversed my text and printed it on a piece of Craft Attitude film. Following the package directions, I allowed the printer ink to dry completely and then cut out my shape. I applied glue stick to the area of the box where the film would go and then applied the film. I burnished it well and then allowed it to dry. For the final step I applied some coats of sealer.


I totally love how my recipe box turned out!

I also wanted to try the Craft Attitude film on a fabric project. I found an image on my computer to use. It was a face I had painted and then scanned into the computer. I wanted to make a market tote and I usually use cotton duck fabric for that tote. Because cotton duck is a more textured fabric than just white quilting cotton, I decided to apply my design to a piece of white quilting cotton first and then applique that to the cotton duck.

I stenciled two pieces of fabric with the same designs. One was the cotton duck and one was the white quilting cotton. I used a piece of white quilting cotton that was large enough so that I could apply my design to one part and then have enough left over to use for the bag's lining. I used Tumble Dyes to apply the stencil designs. It is a fabric paint that you spray on and it leaves a nice soft hand to the fabric.

To apply the Craft Attitude film to the piece of stenciled fabric, I used my favorite fusible web, Mistyfuse. I cut the Mistyfuse about 1/4" smaller than the craft film and then layered the fusible and craft film on the fabric. I covered the layers with a protective ironing sheet and pressed according to the craft film directions. I then appliqued this piece onto the tote bag fabric before it was constructed. Then I finished the tote bag construction.

The stencils used on the tote bag project are:

I had so much fun using the Craft Attitude and I know that I will be thinking of many more projects in which to use it.

And now for the extra fun part. You can have a chance to try out Craft Attitude and get yourself some StencilGirl stencils:

Leave a comment to win! All comments on each post during the hop will be entered in the giveaway. One comment per post please. The deadline to enter the giveaway is Monday, January 26th @ 11:59 PM Central. Winner will be posted on StencilGirl Talk blog on the 27th.

Please visit these blogs for more fun with Craft Attitude:


Thursday, January 15, 2015

More Snow Dyeing

I've managed to get three more pieces of fabric done with snow dyeing and rubber band resists. In reality these fabrics are a bit less vibrant than shown here in the photos. I don't know why they are coming across as they are in the photos. I actually wish my fabrics were this vibrant. And that is something that I have been thinking I need to work on. Getting more vibrancy in my fabric, not in the photos. LOL!



Dye colors: moss green, deep orange, black #44

Dye colors: turquoise, brilliant blue, black #44

Dye colors: deep orange, chinese red, bronze
Thank you to all who visited and commented on my previous snow dyed fabric post. There seemed to be some interest in snow dying. I would highly recommend doing an Internet search on snow dyeing. There are so many blogs and sites out there that share their process/results. There are so many ways you can manipulate the fabrics before covering it with snow. You can even use ice in place of snow (ice dyeing). So many options! I encourage you to research and see what appeals to you.

And if any of you need information on the basics of fabric dyeing, well an Internet search can help with that too. There are many good books on the subject as well and if you like to learn while watching, I would recommend Jane Dunnewold's Craftsy class. I haven't taken it myself, but I do have her book, which I recommend.

I hope to get some step-by-step photos next week of my actual snow dyeing process with rubber band resists. I will share those here with you.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Snow Dyeing

Over the years, I have had an on again/off again relationship with fabric dyeing. I love hand dyed fabrics but there are times when I just don't want to deal with the time involved. And when I talk about that time involvement, I've pretty much whittled it down to what I call a lazy dyer's method of fabric dyeing. I don't dye with intention--I'm not trying to duplicate exact colors, I take on the attitude of  "hmmm, I wonder what the result will look like if I add some of this color", and when it comes to the washing out of the excess dye, (which is the part I hate the most), it can take several days until my fabric isn't bleeding out any excess dye.

So my dyeing of fabrics with fiber reactive dyes goes in spurts. I'll do some pieces, add them to my stash and then I'm done for a period of time. I have always admired the results of other dyers and when I see what they are doing when dyeing it lights a fire in me to try and do that too. One of the techniques that I had been wanting to try for quite some time is snow dyeing. I live in a part of the country that does get snow. Sometimes a lot of it and sometimes a little. I live in North Dakota, in case you weren't sure. Our snow season can run about 5 to 7 months. And I can't believe I hadn't tried snow dyeing....until now.

On a date at the end of December I got together with a couple of friends, both of whom had snow dyed before, and we spent several hours dyeing several pieces of fabric.  The bulk of my results are shown in the next photo.


Most of these are just okay in my mind. If snow dyeing was going to produce only fabrics like these, I would probably not do it anymore. But check out the next piece.


Wow, I am totally in love with this one. For this one I wondered how it would turn out if I wrapped many rubber bands on sections of the fabric and then snow dyed it. I'm so glad I did that. I've been on a rubber band wrapping/snow dyeing frenzy ever since. Okay, maybe frenzy is not the right word. But I think about it a lot. I created another one with different colors:



I've got two more in the works as I type this. I'll share those results with you when they are ready. Oh, and I've got more ideas swirling around in my head. Yikes!!! Have you tried snow dyeing?