Friday, July 23, 2010

Dyeing with Procion Dyes in the Washer

Procion dyes are for dying plant fibers such as cotton, bamboo, linen,..... they are fixed with soda ash (aka washing soda) and don't need high heat, although some darker colors can be achieved with higher temperatures. These are instructions to be used in a top-loader washing machine.

Dharma Trading Company had a huge number of procion dyes available in any color imaginable so it is really fun to take a white or natural fabric and change it over into some fabulous new color!

There are a lot of things you need to work with procion dyes to achieve the best possible dye job however you don't need them all in order to get the dye on the fabric.


-Procion dyes (buy at Dharma Trading company or your local Art store)
-Plant based fabric (cotton, bamboo, linen,...)
-soda ash (called washing soda at the grocery store)
-urea (optional, buy at Dharma, helps to get more even dye jobs and more intense turquoise colors).
-Calsolene oil (optional, buy at Dharma, helps dye dissolve for less uneven results).
-Synthrapol (you can use dish detergent but synthrapol has no dyed or fragrances to stick to your fabric in place of your dye)
-non-iodized salt (necessary for dark colors - buy from an animal feed store)

1) Wash all fabric in warm water with synthrapol or dish detergent.

2) While the fabric is washing mix up your warm urea solution. Mix 1 tablespoon of urea in 1 cup of water. Use warm water and not hot. Hot water and urea make toxic fumes. It is a good idea to measure your urea in a ventilated area or wear a dust mask. The urea will dissolve fairly quickly if you give it a good stir. If you don't have any urea, skip this step.

3) Mix up your dye solution. I usually use 1 tablespoon of dye per yard of fabric but you may need more or less depending on the weight/density of your fabric and how dark you want it to dey. Some of Dharma's dyes specify that you need to add more depending on the color.

Place the dry dye into a container and add 1 tablespoon of Calsolene oil. Fill the cup with just enough hot water to wet the dye and mix into a paste.

4) Add the dissolved urea to the dye and stir until everything looks dissovled.

5) Make the soda ash solution by dissolving your soda ash in water. I usually use 1/3 cup soda ash in 2 cups of water per yard of fabric. Dissolving the soda ash in water is an exothermic reaction, this means heat is created and released, so don't be surprised! You have to stir for a while to get it to completely dissolve.

6) When your fabric is done washing, take it out wet and store it somewhere clean.

Turn your washer to the longest setting on warm and fill the empty washer. Add 3 cups of non-iodized salt per yard of fabric. The salt is necessary to achieve dark colors, you can omit it for lighter shades but you simply cannot get dark colors without it. You can buy small amounts of non-iodized salt at the grocery store but it is far far cheaper at an animal feed store.

7) When the washer is full, pour in your dye mixture and let it stir for 1o minutes. Set your oven timer so you don't forget and let the dye drain out of the washer.

8) When the timer goes off put in your wet fabric and set back the washer so it doesn't empty on you and you loose all your dye. Set the timer for another 10 minutes.

9) When the timer goes off again, set back the washer. Push the fabric to one side and add the soda ash a little at a time. Pour the soda ash into the washer as far from the fabric as possible and stir the water a bit before turning on the washer to make sure it doesn't splash up against the fabric, it will leave dark spots if it does. Set the timer for 3 minute increments until all the soda ash solution is added. Set back the washer again if needed. Set back the washer and set the timer for another 10 mintues after all the soda ash is added.

10) Keep setting back the washer and resetting the timer so that the fabric stirs with the soda ash for at least 30 minutes. Don't forget that timer or you will forget to turn the washer back and all the dye will go down the drain! ack!

11) Let the wash continue on its cycle and allow the dye to drain away.

12) When the washer has finished it's cycle wash the fabric again in synthrapol and do an extra rinse. If you are dyeing a very dark color consider doing another complete wash to insure all extra dye is washed away.

13) Dry in the dryer and enjoy your lovely new fabric!

Here I dyed black (well really it came out a dark charcoal), better blue green, and maroon brown on cotton french terry for sweat pants for the boys.

And fuschia red and lilac on cotton velour for Shiloh. What rich colors!!! I love it!

My first knitting project!

One of the things I wanted to do when I changed my business over to patterns was to find the time to take up knitting. I have tried a number of times during my life to start knitting and both Grandmother's spent more than one afternoon trying to teach me but it never stuck. Now I was determined! So I cracked open my Reader's Digest Knitting book and got to it!

With a few false starts and some ripping out of stitches I eventually got the hang of it:) I visited my LYS (Local yarn store!) and got some lovely cotton yarn and a super cute pattern for Shiloh. I'm proud to say I have finished the front and back (and even knitted them together!) and just need to complete the sleeves. Sadly the sleeves seem super complicated and I might dumb them down or I'm afraid I won't finish the top before the summer is over:)

Here is a pic in progress and a pic of the pattern. I decided not to do stripes given that it was my first knitting project. I'm pretty proud of myself!

Empty Sewing Room:(

Well my sewing room is officially empty! Dh and I packed everything up, pulled down all the thread racks and put away all the shelving:( The room looks so sad and empty! There are so many things I am itching to sew but it will all have to wait. We leave in 7 days and we have a whole house to pack up so we are busy busy busy!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dyeing Playsilks

Now that you have your acid dyes for your wool blend you can use them to dye other animal fibres like silk! (Acid dyes work on all animal fibers and also nylon).

Dyeing playsilks is quick and easy. I did 6 in under 45 minutes! The silk is so thin that it takes the dye very quickly. If you plan how you add your dyes, you can do many colors by just using two pots.

You can buy white playsilks and acid dyes and Dharma Trading company.

First you need all your materials:
-acid dyes
-synthrapol detergent
-white vinegar
-large and small spoons
-large not-going-to-be-used-for-cooking pots (ceramic or stainless steel)
-large garbage bag
-rubber gloves
It is a good idea to wear rubber gloves throughout, you are working with hot water and some chemicals.

1)Wash all playsilks in synthrapol detergent. This removes dirt, grime, natural oils,....anything that will get in the way of the dye sticking. You can use dish detergent but this has fragrances and other additives that will stick to the silk and prevent the dye for being as even.

2) Rinse out the playsilks.

3) Cut your garbage bag open and tape it to the floor.

4) Fill pots 1/2 full with hot water (this makes them heat up faster instead of starting from cold water).

5) Put pots on the stove and turn the elements to high heat.

6) Add the dye while the pots are heating up. You really don't need very much at all, 1/2 tsp at the most for up to 6 playsilks.

Here is where you need to plan:

You want to use the lighter colors in the pots first so that you can add darker dyes as you go to get the most colors from just two pots. I started with orange in one and turquoise in the other. I added red to change the orange pot to red. I used red and turquoise on some of the playsilks and then added purple to the red dye to get a wine color. Depending on the darkness of the color you may get mixing or you may get the true color of the second dye added. For example, red covered orange entirely but red and purple combined to make wine. Then I added spruce to the turquoise pot to get a dark teal color. I dipped the silks at different times to take advantage of all the colors.

7) Check the temperature with a candy thermometer (purchased at the grocery store). When the pot reaches 120F (just below boiling) you can add 1 cup vinegar per pot. The vinegar fixes the dye (don't forget it!!).

8) It is now time to add the playsilk to the pot.

Take the playsilk and stretch it out so that it is completely unfolded. If you would like a diagonal pattern, put two opposite corners together and then put one corner into the dye. You can also put two opposite corners into the dye at the same time, leaving the middle of the playsilk out. Then you can dye the middle of the playsilk with another color. You can experiment with this! If you would like vertical dyeing (as opposed to diagonal) then fold the playsilk in half by aligning the vertical edges and then dye as above.

Hold the playsilk for at least 2 minutes in the dye. Longer will give darker shades, shorter will give lighter shades.

9) Once you have dyed the playsilks how you want with the first colors, lay them on the garbage bag so that no two colors are touching. If they touch they may run into each other.

10) Add another color to each pot and dye some more playsilks. Keep going until you get through all the colors you planned or run out of playsilks!

11) Throw them all into the washing machine with synthrapol and wash on warm with an extra rinse at the end. The colors will not run in the presence of synthrapol.

12) Dry in the dryer.

13) Admire your hard work!

I made these six as party favors for Cai's 5th birthday party:)

Playground Longies Pattern soon to be released!

I'm planning another big sale (probably Thursday July 15th) selling, knit solids, stripes, polka dots, and wovens (don't miss it!!). I will also be releasing my Playground Longies/shorties pattern! I love love love this pattern! Such a cute behind for your little one. Great for girls and boys! Here is a sneak peak:

This pattern (like the others) are pdfs with computerized pattern sheets, printable at home. Lots of pictures and pages of instructions. Even two pages devoted to how to sew with knits on a regular sewing machine and/or a serger!

You can use this pattern to make a diaper cover by sewing it up with wool interlock (100% wool) or wool blend (95% wool, 5% lycra), purchased from Nature's fabrics, or from polyester fleece. You can also sew it up in any knit for comfy clothes for your little one:)

Coming soon to my Hyenacart store and my Etsy store.

Giagantic Sale!

A week and a half ago I had a huge huge huge sale selling most of my knit prints and a ton of wool dyed yardage! I thought it would be better to sell the things I wasn't using instead of bringing them to Toronto! LOL!

I'm planning another big sale sometime next week with solid knits, stripes, polka dots, and wovens too!

Here are all the packages before heading off to the post office! EEK!