Archive for February 13th, 2010

Snow Dyeing in IL

(plus a bonus at the end to make you smile some more! 🙂 )

On Tuesday – Wednesday we got more snow and I decided it was time.

Time to drop the current job/project and PLAY!! Tuesday evening I started.

I had dug out my issue of Quilting Arts magazine for reference the day before.  I googled “snow dyeing” to hunt up a blog I read in the recent past on her snow dyeing.  Plus I read a few others!  I took all the posts and sort of combined them for my process.  Plus a bit of picking of my daughter’s brain.  😉

I cut my fabric (Kona white cotton) into generous 1 yard and 1/2 yard pieces.  Ah… why not use all I had?  🙂

My biggest hurdle (in my head) was what to use for a container with a rack!  Wandering around the basement, I found the onions drying in my coke trays!  I decided the plastic coke trays I have would be great to let the fabric drain and I could just put them in the basement shower to drip.  🙂

I put the soda ash & water in a plastic drawer and soaked all the cotton (and added in a remnant of upholstery fabric with unknown content, only marked “dry clean only” {LOL!} that is cream colored with some embroidery stitching on it).

After supper and clean-up, I suppose the fabric had been soaking about 1 1/2 hours.  I lightly squeezed out each piece and put each one in a tray (3 pieces per tray or so) in a crumpled up fashion.  🙂  I loaded all 5 trays into the freezer.  (because one blogger thought that by freezing the fabrics first, she got brighter colors.)

Yes, right there along with JP’s chocolate ice cream and some Farmer Phil brats.  🙂

I put the other 2 trays in the garage freezer.  Then it dawned on me that I could have just put them outside!! LOL!  Duh!

In the morning (Weds), I carried them all outside.  Nice sunny day!! 🙂

(in case you wanted to see me! 😉 )

You can sort of see that I have the fabric in sections either horizontally or vertically in the tray. The second one from the bottom is the upholstery type fabric.  I also tucked a bit of cheesecloth in that tray.

My view to the east.

My view to the north.

Time to pile on the snow!  I shoveled it onto each tray and packed it down as best I could.  I drew lines in the snow to remind me how I had the fabric in the tray.

And just in time to carry these full trays back to the basement… my helpers arrived! 🙂

Here is my work area in the furnace room:

I used Procion MX powdered dye.  I mixed a rounded plastic spoonful with a touch of hot water in the styrofoam cup.  (very scientific, and no I can’t repeat this!) I labeled the cups w/ each color before starting so I could reuse them.  Then I added more water to fill the cup.  I poured one cup on each ‘section’ knowing that the colors would migrate to the other fabrics.

This is taking longer than expected and now it is time for lunch.  After lunch, I finished the other trays.  The snow hadn’t melted much.

I ran a little heater in this room to help the process along. It didn’t help much…

Eight hours later, there is still plenty of snow! *sigh*  I decide that me sleeping would help this the most.  😉  Phil says ‘a watched tray of snow doesn’t thaw.’  :p

Finally, Thursday morning arrives….

The tray with upholstery fabric (and some snow-dirt :\ ).

Lovely!! 🙂 The snow is gone! 🙂

I pulled out a few of the dripping fabrics and LOVED LOVED LOVED this one!  JP was just heading out for chores so I made him take this picture.

I hung some of the fabrics on the shower and let them drip while I did errands.  The rest sat in the trays.

After lunch, I hung the other ones.

The partially dried ones:

On Thursday, I washed them in the washer on a long cycle with hot water and 1-2 tsp of Synthapol.  It helps remove the excess dye and set the colors.  Then I dried them in the dryer for 20 mins on high.  I even saved the unraveled threads as they will get put in a project as well.

Here are the finished fabrics.  I’m not sure pictures of every piece are here but you’ll get the flavor.  🙂

The whole pile!

I used the following dyes: brown rose, olive green, lemon yellow, fuchsia, carmine red, medium blue, bronze, and raspberry.

I washed & dried the upholstery fabric on Friday.  I have thought of using this (since I bought it) for either a bag or a jacket.  Not sure I have enough for a jacket or that the color is OK with me yet.  I refer to it as upholstery because that is how it was labeled.  It is quilted and embroidered.

The embroidery threads didn’t take the dye: It is much lighter than I expected.  I know I used brown rose, fuchsia, and yellow on this tray.  I’m open to other suggestions for it!

I feel like this whole process was a lot of work but K thinks because I’m a newbie to dyeing.  🙂  I love the results!!! I don’t have immediate plans for the fabric (haha!).



While I was doing this so was my K!! 🙂  She didn’t freeze her fabric but just soaked it in soda ash water and laid it out on oven racks in her bathtub!! LOL!! 🙂  She did this after work on Tuesday with the fresh snow and the timing was perfect since she had Wednesday off.  🙂

She brought the snow up to her apartment in her trash cans and hoped no one noticed! 🙂

Isn’t this yummy? 🙂

Her pieces have more texture to the dyes.  At least different texture than mine.  🙂

And there you have it… the best use of snow  EVER!! 🙂

I’m so happy so many of you have found my blog and entered the giveaway.  There is still time to enter if you have just arrived.  Go to the next post.

Read Full Post »