08 May 2017

A tale of two finishes.

Alas, I had a great idea....I decided to take my first batched piece, lay it in the driveway and wash it out with a hose. DO NOT do this. As I sprayed, I watched all the dye go streaming down my driveway. (tears in eyes). I grabbed it and hung it on the line. What I should have done was soda soak WITH the wax on it and apply more thickened dye but noooooo..........I just let it dry and hoped I would be able to hang on to the remaining color.

     ** An aside:
Long ago when Judith and I were experimenting with thickened dye as a thin line we found that if we let the thickened dye dry completely on the cloth, it would NOT smear. It had to be bone dry. We just threw it in the machine, washed it and poof, it was brilliant. Attempting to MOVE the fabric with thickened dye lines. washing it out while it was still wet, or trying to 'cover" it ruined it but perfect crisp clear lines were possible with this strange method.

OK, back to yesterday. We decided that after batching, we would hang out wet pieces AS IS on the line with the thickened dye and wax in place. I did this. It was SO windy here, they were dry in less than 90 minutes. As another aside, I thought since we had such strong winds, I should soda soak some fabric to use over the next two day and get it to dry fast too. That part of the plan worked. I've got a stock pile of fabric ready to go.

This morning I took the dried batiked fabric and and ironed off the wax. I also had an inkling that the heat + dye would be a good thing; it made sense to me. Here are the finished pieces.

For the hose on the driveway piece, I think there was little hope. If you know me you know it must be  COLORFUL and VIBRANT. I really had to ask myself, Was this really a disaster? No. I may well be able to incorporate this misty soft fabric into some land or seascape.

This piece didn't miss a beat and it as vibrant as when it was wet.

This piece was kind of a "miss" even before I started with the dye. However to dye DID hold up in intensity so I am happy. I am going to move to a bigger and more easily heat controlled electric skillet. Today - MORE EXPERIMENTS.


  1. My understanding of dyeing was that the soda ash was necessary to chemically bond the fabric and dye. I usually wax on soda-soaked fabric. Haven't tried to add soda after the thickened dye...does the color really stay after batching without it?

    1. I have found that I can take any piece of fabric, use thickened dyes without soda ash added and then spray the front and backs of the fabric with soda ash water then batch it. All of these fabrics had been pre-soaked in soda ash though but the hose was just too powerful. Even when I use pre-soaked fabric I STILL spray the back of the fabric for an "extra shot" of soda ash.

  2. The look so different now their finished. The top one is mayby not vibrant but it is a beautiful start.

    1. I did re-dye it. Coming up in a few posts.


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