Saturday, July 5, 2008

More Shibori Using Either Direct Dyeing or Low Water Immersion Techniques

Shibori Using Direct Dyeing Methods

A little definition to begin with! Direct Dyeing is also called dye painting and it is basically a process where you either pretreat fabric and then paint with dyes or used untreated fabric and paint with dyes containing either soda ash or sodium bicarbonate or some mix of the two. A more esoteric way is to paint with the dyes and then apply a fix afterwards but for this post, we won't discuss that option.

Direct Dyeing using Pre-Treated Fabric -- To pretreat fabrics, first make sure you have removed any dirt or oils from your prepared for dyeing (pfd) fabric by washing in 1 tbsp of Synthrapol and a couple of tbsps of soda ash. Prepare a bucket of soda ash solution by dissolving 9 tbsps of soda ash/gallon of water. Soak your yardage in this solution for about 10 minutes until it is thoroughly wet. At this point, you can either choose to use the fabric wet or allow it to dry. You will get far more control with the dried fabric or slightly damp fabric.

Direct Dyeing using Dye Activator (Soda Ash) in the dyes -- There is no need to presoak your fabric with this alternative although it is recommended that you wash the fabric first as above. Mix a dry mixture of 1 part soda ash (sodium carbonate) to 4 parts bicarbonate of soda (baking soda). Make your powdered dyes into a liquid form -- I like to use about a 10% solution for my highly concentrated liquid dyes.

Put your liquid dyes (I use about 5% solutions or 1 tsp to 1 tbsp/cup depending on the colors -- more for yellows and less for reds) into squeeze bottles (all the dye vendors sell these -- 8 oz ones should be big enough) diluting the dyes above to half strength .

Clamp or pole wrap your fabrics as you normally would. If pretreating, I would let them dry if you are pole wrapping but it is actually easier to fold them for clamping if they are still wet.

If you are using a pole, find a nice 3 gallon or bigger pail and hold the pole horizontally with the wrapped fabric part over the bucket. Squirt dyes onto the fabric messaging a bit so they do get in. Cover the fabric with color and then keep moist by covering with plastic for 4 - 8 hours. If using turquoise or basic blue, use the longer time. After a couple of hours, it is usually okay to unwrap the piece and lay out flat. Laying it out too soon could cause the dyes to migrate more than you want.

If you want to clamp the pieces, hold them over a dish or any kind of small container and squirt dyes all over. After you have done this a few times, you will know how it will look when done. Again, dump any liquid that remains on the dish and let the piece sit there or in a plastic bag for 4-8 hours. Again, you can unwrap earlier but it takes more space to keep it then.

Make sure when doing either of the above that you get dyes into all the nooks and crannies. You can message a little but don't go overboard. Also be careful when mixing your colors as it is easy to get mud (which is fine if you want mud).

Cover with plastic and let sit for 4-8 hours in an area where the temp is above 70. After this, rinse as you would any other dyed fabric. You will find that these dye painted pieces generally look the same after they are washed as they do after they dry with the dyes and soda ash still in them.

Shibori Using Low Water Immersion(LWI) Methods

It would be almost impossible to use LWI on pole wrapped pieces as you would have to have the dye deep enough to cover the pieces and therefore it would probably be regular immersion dyeing.

However, you can easily accomodate folded and clamped pieces using low water immersion. In fact, you can get a little more control on your finished pieces with more variability in coloring. As in all shibori, fold and clamp your fabric. You can presoak it in a soda ash solution if you desire as this will give you some crisper lines than applying the soda ash later. Treat as you would any low water immersion.

Make up your dye solutions ( again I generally use 5% solutions - maybe a tsp to a tbsp per cup of water). Use about 1 cup of water per yard of fabric to presoak the pieces and then squirt dye or dyes all over making sure to get good penetration unless you want lots of white. Be a little careful to not put complementary colors directly next to each other.

Turn over and make sure the whole piece is covered with some of the directly applied dye (as opposed to that which meandered into the area) and then let it sit in its own juices for about fifteen minutes before adding soda ash. The trick here is to find a container whose size will cause the soda ash and water to submerge the whole piece. It is important that the soda ash solution reach all parts of the clamped or wrapped piece so some "smushing" is a good idea here. (This is another reason that I very often presoak my fabrics with soda ash and then add a little more later on!) Some good candidates are those Rubbermaid separators for silverware drawers for long skinny pieces or leftover Cool Whip containers for those flatter pieces.

About an hour after you have added the soda ash solution, rinse out as normal.

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