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.

Set One:

And on it goes 3
Dry dye OVER ice
And on it goes 6
Dry dye UNDER ice
Liquid dye over ice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Set Two:

Dry dye OVER ice
Dry dye OVER ice
Dry dye UNDER ice
Dry dye UNDER ice
Liquid dye concentrate over ice
Liquid dye over ice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 ….

 

Triangular folds clamped with chopsticks
Triangular folds clamped with chopsticks
Detail
Detail

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!

Yum!
Yum!

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 ….

 

 

Ice Dyeing … on it goes ….

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6 thoughts on “Ice Dyeing … on it goes ….

  • January 31, 2016 at 3:48 pm
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    Love your patterns, love your colors and love your experiments! It’s the first time I’ve heard of applying dye powder under the ice. Since my group has been doing some snow & ice dyeing, I’ve forwarded your blog post onto them. I’ve wanted to ask you too is if you have experimented with ice cubes versus crushed ice?

    Reply
    • February 1, 2016 at 10:39 am
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      The dye under ice wasn’t satisfactory for me, there were just too many spotty freckles! Mind you, I have only tried it once so maybe, with practice, it would get better. I don’t have the patience, or inclination, to spend a lot of time, dye and energy on a technique that may or may not work for me. I haven’t experimented with crushed ice, I just pop along to the nearest shop and buy bags of ice cubes when I need them. I would like to try crushed ice but bashing all those ice cubes with a mallet may be a good workout, but I would rather be in the studio dyeing! Very happy to share any information with your group.

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 10:35 pm
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    Of the three ways my preference is the liquid dye over ice. Loved the soft effect.
    The dripping ice gives an intriguing random effect.
    Keep dyeing…keep the heart singing…your work is fab …

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 4:34 pm
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      Thanks, Kathy. One of these days, I’ll need to think about how to use up some of these fabrics, but in the meantime, I’m having fun!

      Reply
  • February 10, 2016 at 6:53 pm
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    Wow wow wow! Fabulous results! Loving all the techniques but have to say I do love how the bonus scraps which were laid under the dripping ice have turned out.

    Reply
    • February 10, 2016 at 9:20 pm
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      Thanks, Gemma. I can never be sure what the bonus fabric will look like, fab or forgettable, but that’s how serendipity goes!

      Reply

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