Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Adventure with gel glue resist, part 2

Photo: Shows fabric after scraping off the gel, wax not yet removed. Close inspection reveals glue is probably still in the fabric in spite of all my efforts; it shows as darker green squiggly lines in the dyed-green parts.

Before scraping off the gel, I rinsed this particular piece of fabric over and over and over in the bucket out under my sycamore, and the water ran clear. I scraped off the gel (see previous post) and ran it through 3 wash cycles on my washing machine, because now the water was green. Every time. I included with it the green fabrics from my dyed octave (big mistake; see why below), using Synthrapol, but still the water was green.

Mistake results #1 : Little bits of wax were over all the other fabrics like a bad case of dandruff. I rinsed them again, by themselves, but still the bits of wax were there. I let them air dry, since I didn't want to put anything waxy in my dryer, shook them out, and brushed them off with a dry washcloth. When I ironed them, I could still see spots of wax melting, so I pressed them between layers of paper toweling.

Mistake results #2: Little bits of gel glue transferred to the other fabrics, not much, but enough so that I had to wet at least one spot one each piece and peel off the gel that had hardened there. It wasn't difficult, just another fiddly thing that I won't have to do next time, because I won't process any other fabrics with gel-glued fabric again!

I spent a lot of time ironing the purposely waxed areas of the fabric-to-someday-be-a-bag piece, using paper toweling, a lot of paper toweling. Just like the red wax candle that spilled on my carpet a few months ago, most of it came up with the application of the iron, but not all, and not enough. I'll just boil this thing, I thought, still mentally composing a blog entry having to do with the failure of gel glue as a resist with fiber-reactive dyes.

So I boiled it. The water turned a nearly opaque green. As the water cooled, I soaked off the wax that had risen to the surface with a couple of paper towels, and dripped the fabric over to another boiling pot. The water again turned impressively green, but considerably lighter than the first run-through.

I laid it out on the floor to take a picture, and was I ever surprised!

Photo #2: Besides the absence of toes, you may not notice much difference between this shot and the one above it, but if you look closely, you can see the gel glue resist actually worked.

The contrast is not strong because of the highly patterned background, but I am not concerned. This little guinea pig of a project taught me a lot, the last lesson being that boiling gets out both the wax and the rest of that gel glue resist. Too bad I can't boil the wax out of my carpet.


Approachable Art said...

Wow, you really had some challenges on this batch of fabric, didn't you? It looks as if it all worked out but the litmus test for me is always, "will I do this again?" lol. Do you think you'll do it again or will you look for alternative ways to accomplish the same goals?

Sorry for the silly-sounding questions, I just love discussing techniques with like-minded folks. :D

LynnDel said...

Yes, I live to dye again - but definitely will look for alternatives!