I came upon a realization lately - there seems to be a common thread to…
Mankind has always had a love affair with colour and design! You can’t imagine how easy this is; just magic. Make your own incredibly amazing Ice Dye Color Splitting!
The Starting Point:
Summer holidays warrant a few larger projects, Quilting to be exact! But this project did not involve a trip to the fabric store… just because. If you know me at all now, you know that I like to do things a bit differently. I like to impart some uniqueness to everything I do. So, that meant that I would dye my own fabrics for the quilt. These 100% cotton sheets have a worn softness and a pleasant collection of hues.
As readying for the Ice Dyeing I soaked the fabric in a solution of Soda ash and water (1 cup to 1 gallon of water) at least 30 minutes. Hand wring as best as possible or use the spin cycle of the washer. This only works with natural fibres like cotton, hemp, linen, rayon etc. The soda ash allows the fibres permanently dye with a chemical reaction.
Since I am using only one colour here all the fabrics are arranged together, scrunched as finely as possible on top of a mesh or grate to keep it out of any collection of bottom dripping. To get as much detail the more smaller folds the better.
The Fiber Reactive Dye:
As you know I love my blues! But for this project I decided to switch things up a bit and bought some BLACK! Dharma trading has a few to choose from and ‘Raven’ (PR 200) was my choice. I am not a fan of psychedelic tie dyes, so shades of grey seemed perfect.
After cleaning out all my ice from my freezer I sprinkled the dye powder carefully (while wearing a dust mask) over the ice. How much coverage will determine the strength/darkness of the final product. The artist in me excitedly accepts whatever I get!
With no rain expected I set it out on the patio table, in the heat, but that is not really necessary. Slowly the ice melts and the tiny rivers create the amazing ‘watercolour dye arts’
Looking closely at the dye after some short time I saw something interesting! I had some strange colours sometimes appear when working with my favourite ‘navy’ fibre reactive dye but I now saw all kinds of colours! How can that be?! Well, it’s because the dyes are made with a combination of colours, each has different densities and therefore travels or floats to preferred places. How perfect!
Batch & Rinse:
After waiting for the ice to melt and let it ‘batch’ (meaning sit long enough for the warmth to make the reaction finish) it was time to rinse. Length of batching times depends on temperatures so that’s why I like summer dyeing.
Remove the fabric carefully (gloved hands) and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. It may seem like much rinses out since there may have been quite a it that did not ‘attach’ but don’t worry…
After the cold rinse the unreacted dye needs to be washed away with a hot wash. It’s so exciting to see all the amazing designs magically created with the flow of melting ice!
But what is even more interesting is the way the colours split! As a watercolour artist I am amazed at how they still hold their hues and have such subtle blends!
It seems as there is the full rainbow of colours, even little surprises of yellow and red.
Yes, the tones are still quite muted especially when printed on an existing colour but that is exactly perfect for a modern day quilt. No flowers or polka dots here!
I could show you a ‘million’ images of intricate details much like the beauty in natural geodes and gems. Imagine a piece stretched over a frame and hung as ‘modern art’!
If you make any type of folding (accordion) or pleating the pattern becomes even more faceted.
Fibre reactive dye has held well on all my clothing that has been repeatedly washed. It has also held well on my shibori duvet cover so I am in complete confidence for using this fabric in a quilt.
Have you ever seen all the amazing way that Art quilts are now created?! Original designs should have original fabric! That opens a whole new design element to fashion as well! (just wait and see what I’m going to do next…)
Ok, I gotta run and get sewing; actually teaching someone how to sew! I’m happy to and happy that I’ve up-cycled some of my fabrics and made something that can’t be duplicated… perfect day!
Go make your own Amazing Ice Dye Color Splitting Fabric!