Hand dyeing fabrics at home is a fairly simple and straight forward process. It takes a few minutes and a bit of patience to do. All you need is a small space with a sink, a measuring jug, spoon (dedicated to dyeing, not for food use), some recycled containers, and a way to protect your surface against spills. Dyes of course, you also need some soda ash. To ensure you love the end result, it also takes some knowledge of colour mixing.
Hand dyeing my fabrics for a new quilt, I am going for a colour combination that I have not used before – greens and pinks. My design is computer generated, so I have to generate a design from it that I am happy I can replicate. I could print from the computer, but I want to make my own fabrics and use the design as inspiration. Greens can be tricky to mix in art, and I ordered up some new Procion dyes. These are cold water dyes. The process is included for this type of hand dyeing and many more in my design ecourse.
What I want to discuss here is the single greens you can purchase against mixing your own. There is a rule in art that you never use a bought green, but you mix your own. I was not dissatisfied with the results of the bought greens, but still I used my signature method for mixing the two, so they are not ‘out of pot’. However I was unconvinced that I had quite the right green I was looking for.
I went back to my dyes and mixed more and was rather annoyed to find that the dyes I already had made a more suitable green for my project. I also made a more suitable pink with the dyes I already had than the ones I had purchased.
Mixing dyes is fun and if you measure dyes, you can replicate results exactly. I now have the 6 fabric colours I was hoping for to start my project. You do need a little colour knowledge though not to end up with something sludgy. Colour mixing is part of my online ecourse Colour for Quilters.
Hand Dyed Fabrics
My hand dyed fabrics, are available to purchase exclusively here
Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019