Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Something fun and quick

Low-Water Immersion Dyeing using MX Procion dyes

Well, that pretty much describes it; you're using a low water to fabric ratio to dye.

But seriously, it is a process that leads to a varied amount of outcomes. It can be used with single colors or multiple colors. You can use it to get a mottled/variegated effect or solid shading.

As with most dye processes, everybody has their own way to do things. So the following is my process, which has been gleaned from a variety of resources including and

You might be asking 'Well, how much fabric do you use per cup of dye solution?'
Quite honestly(and some dyers may cringe at this) my primary criteria is whether or not my final dye bath, which includes the soda ash solution, will leave my fabric mostly submerged. I like to have the level of liquid be level or just above the level of the fabric in the container. Some dyers are more precise about the amount of dye based on the weight of fabric. If you would like to be more precise than I am Prochemical's LWI instructions are a good place to start.

When my dye(s) is mixed and my item is crammed to my liking in its container, I pour the dye solution over my fabric. I may or may not choose to manipulate (by hand, with a spoon or by shaking the container) my item to encourage the dye to migrate to certain areas. The more manipulation you do to your fabric during the process the more blended and less mottled/variegated your end dye results will be.

If you are dyeing with more then one color, I suggest pouring on the lighter color first then the darker. Sometimes I mix it up; I'll pour on half the light color then half the darker then the light color again, topping it off with the darker. Just one of my many quirks!

After my dye has been poured on and my fabric has been manipulated or not to my satisfaction, I let this sit for about 20 minutes or until I remember! I then pour a solution of 1 ½ tsp soda ash to 1 cup water over my concoction of fabric and dye. Just to note I use 1 cup of this soda ash solution per cup of dye solution.

I let all this sit to react for at least 4 hours. Remember that temperature is important to the dye/fiber reaction. Keep it above room temp, around 75'F. On warm, sunny dyes I let my dye batch sit outside. If there is enough room for the container I will set it on top of the stove.


1 comment:

  1. Nice tutorial! Very informative. And you make it seem easy.