Monday, August 3, 2009

Putting on My Scientist Hat for a Bit - Back to the Dyeing Board

This is the center of one of my beautiful begonias. What I don't understand is why half the flowers are like this and the other half are huge and have many layers of petals. It is like half the plant is working on being fertilized and the other half is just there for show! The begonias have been spectacular this year

Well, the dyeing table was completely cleaned off and all my full bolts of pfd fabric are safely stored away and nowhere near the furnace anymore. However, I had an increasingly large pile of miscellaneous white fabrics of undetermined fiber (but mostly 100% cotton) and certainly differing degrees of pfd (plain old pfd or mercerized pfd). Some I am sure were leftovers from dyeing sessions (nicely cut into fat halves or full yards). However, there was quite a pile of yardage that I have no idea about.

In addition, there were several bolts of black cotton and some black yardage that I didn't know how well they discharged or what color they discharged to! I even bought some more of those Chlorox pens to test these. Thrilled to find that some of my black sateen (from Joanns) discharges completely to brilliant white! Will have to try the two full bolts I have to see if they are the same. After testing, the other bolts of sateen only bleached to a golden brown -- pretty but not white -- maybe if I leave it in longer....

Now, labelling is my least favorite part of dyeing but label I did! I cut off quarter yards of all the miscellaneous yardage and put corresponding numbers on the quarter yards and on the larger yardage.

I made up a rather large pot of mixing blue (some old powder as I wasn't going for accuracy of color) after soaking the fabric in water first. Fifteen minutes after I had mushed the fabric around sufficiently in the dyes, I added the soda ash solution. None of this was controlled for depth of color.

From my first looks at the fabrics in the washer, a lot of them appear to be pfd and certainly dyeable! There are some I wasn't at all sure about including some polished cotton (whatever they use to polish certainly acts as a resist to the dyes!!). Hopefully I will be able to use those in marbling. If not, they go in the contributions bag. I have quite a collection of "what was I thinking" in there currently. I can't imagine what clothing I had in mind when I bought some of these!!

Well this is the results of my dyeing all arranged as a gradation!! There were about 1/3 that were obviously mercerized and another third that were just pfd and the final third, hmmmmmm.

My biggest surprise was the one below!

This was a stark white (couldn't get it to photo its real color) drapery weight jacquard that I probably bought as a remnant at some point. I have about five yards of it. It dyed as well as the sateen which was the darkest!! It is difficult to see on the piece below but when I iron it, I should be able to clearly see the jacquard pattern. It is really nice fabric! You just never know!!

Besides this happy surprise, I dyed some pieces of linen that I have had for years and it dyed beautifully as well. I also had a piece of cotton twill that dyed extremely well. I was surprised at how well some of my random natural color muslin dyed and may use up that bolt that I bought long ago. It all looked pretty good. The non-mercerized pfd stuff just looked a little duller in color than the mercerized cottons or the sateens. The polished cotton took hardly any color at all. The silk gauze took very little color but that was not unexpected as it is sooo light weight. The cotton interlock I had took very little color and more on one side than the other (curious). The cotton knit I got from Dharma took the color well (like the non-mercerized pfd fabric). I didn't bother trying the rayon as I know that takes dye like crazy!

I never count out the non-pfd fabric. If you want a nice even light color, these work wonderfully as whatever finishes are on the fabric act as a resist. It is amazing to see the differences even in those white on white fabrics. Some obviously have some sort of finish on the front and some don't. You can never tell by looking at them! I really must hit the drapery sections again and see if I can find more of the cotton jacquard!

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