Sunday, June 28, 2009

After Dyeing

Here's a photo of my first attempt to quilt first, dye later. It's also the result, as I indicated in my last post, of my first attempt to use Procion MX dyes in a grown-up and responsible way.

This is the completed quilt, with binding but before dyeing:


And this is after dyeing:


This little quilt has been a series of experiments for me in stitching, dyeing and alternate binding and while some of the results I got were excellent, others were not and will require more practice and study- labors of love, for me.

I used 4 dye colors: (MX 004) lemon yellow in the center, (035) hot pink extending out from that to create orange, (028) bright scarlet towards the outside edges blending with the hot pink, and finally (050) deep purple on the binding itself.

The colors are vibrant and distinct, but I'll admit I didn't expect to split the dyes quite so obviously. Coming from a painting background, blending color has always been SOP for me but as I'm learning, each dye color strikes the fabric very differently from the other colors and don't blend exactly as I expect them to. Live and learn. This is one area where I know I won't instantly achieve beautiful results- only practice and experience will win this race. I think it would be a good idea for me to look into a local, live fabric dyeing class, too.

The best part of this quilt is the binding, I think. I love the slightly grungy, frayed look it has, and most of the fabrics used to construct it show the purple dye nicely, despite it having mixed somewhat with the yellow dye in the low immersion process.

The cotton thread, as expected, absorbed the dyes nicely. The stitching would be a good opportunity to experiment with using some threads that cannot be dyed by Procion MX. I'll try that in a future piece.

I learned a LOT from the process and it was fun, which means I'll be more likely to keep working on it it until I've got the process learned.

This quilt may have no future... I could wind up using it as a background for more painting/stitching/beading, or I may just leave it as is, a kind of dyeing sampler that can help me correct mistakes in the future.

One fun bonus was the pile of colorful tissue I wound up with after mopping up the work area with plain white 2-ply paper towels.


These pretty little things may get fused to muslin for later stitching.

This week my goals are ambitious... I want to get away from the sewing machine for a little while and get back into the studio, so I plan to do some painting. I found two great children's books that I'd like to start altering, so that will take up a few joyful days of splashing paint and glue around and digging through my scraps of paper and fabrics for collage.

Later in the week, however, I'd like to revisit textiles again and RIT dye some cotton batting I bought last week for that purpose. I'm looking forward to taking over my kitchen for a couple of hours of color-mixing fun!
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