Thursday, July 8, 2010
Eleven dyed sheets
A lovely warm day spent dyeing white and whitish sheets in the shade of my sycamore tree produced this rainbow of fabrics -- to be used for the Vacation Bible School costumes for the kiddies, run by my church next week.
One of the frustrations I have had as a newbie dyer is the plethora of dyeing instructions available in books and online, most of which do not give a person a step-by-step method to follow, instead getting sidelined into, "if you want to do this..." "or if you want to do that..." -- leaving me a bit confused. I had a great time last summer making all the fun low-immersion dye projects in Anne Johnston's Color by Accident (a book I always remember as being titled Dyeing by Accident, so to all to whom I've recommended this book, I apologize) -- but it didn't help me with measuring proportions when it came to dyeing sheets in sizes from twin to King.
Dharma instructions were good, but left me with questions, and Paula Burch's site answered tons of questions, but still did not have the sequential how-to information I needed. I guess what I was looking for was a "Dyeing for Dummies" instruction manual.
I finally happened upon PRO Chemical's instructions for immersion dyeing (not low-water). Ahhh, exactly what I needed. I decided to pretend each of my donated sheets weighed one pound dry, soaked the sheets in water, laid them all in my hammock to drip while I measured out the various dye concentrates (mask firmly in place), figured out each of my ten new IKEA wastebaskets held about 3.5 gallons, barely enough to manage 2.5 gallons of dye liquid, but went ahead. I dyed and stirred, and then stacked the wastebaskets in three tall leaning towers to batch in the sun. The fit in the wastebaskets made stirring a little bit of a challenge, but since I didn't require an absolutely even result in the color, it worked out fine for me. And... surprise, surprise, surprise -- everything turned out exactly how I wanted!
I will watch the leaves on the sycamore tree, to see if they turn the same colors as my sheets, since all the washout from the sheets saturated the ground under one side of the tree... (j/k)