One of the things I love about dyeing fabric is the ‘What if?’ aspect. What if I put these colours together? … What if I combine these techniques? … What if I overdye this with that? … and on it goes …. always something new and fresh and exciting to try. And so it was last week when I decided to set up another ice dyeing experiment. Further research into ice dyeing brought the revelation that some dyers apply dry dye directly to the fabric BEFORE adding ice. Being something of a sceptic, I couldn’t quite believe that you wouldn’t get speckles, ie little spots of dye on the fabric. I really dislike speckles on my dyed fabric and consider it to be a failure on my part for not dissolving the dye particles fully before applying the dye. We’re all different and some people actually like speckles and plan for it, but I don’t. However, being curious, I decided to set up an experiment, this time (1) dry dye over ice, (2) dry dye under ice and (3) liquid dye concentrate over ice. I folded and tied 6 fat ¼’s of a really nice quality Delphina poplin and repeated each process twice using 3 different colours for each set of three.
The results were surprising. All three samples were dyed using the same colour blends – orange, navy and plum. The dry dye under ice gives very intense colours but there is quite a lot of speckles on the fabric which I don’t like. The liquid dye over ice gives a very soft watercolour effect.
Dyed using three colour blends – navy, yellow and chestnut, the results are similar to Set One. Intense colour but lots of speckles with dry dye over ice and soft watery colour from liquid dye concentrate. I think, all in all, that I prefer dry dye over ice along with the pale, soft colour achieved with liquid dye over ice. These two make a very harmonious pair.
And the lovely, painterly, bonus scraps which were laid under the dripping ice ….
Not being one to waste an opportunity, I decided to use up the leftover navy and rust dyes. I grabbed a handful of poplin scraps (I keep ridiculously tiny scraps – just in case) and an assortment of bits – chopsticks, rubber bands, clips and string, and folded, scrunched, rolled and bound the pieces before directly applying dyes with pipettes to each individual piece. No ice!
I’m very happy with the results. During art school days, my favourite combination of colours was Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna. I haven’t changed – the combination of dark blue and orange rust still makes my heart sing!
Thanks for reading … experimental triangles and ice next time, then onto the art quilt that is slowly (very!) taking shape ….