Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Extreme Overdyeing Again....

Well, as usual I am overachieving with my dyeing!  I usually do 35 yards at a time with my extreme dyeing technique but figured since Marcia and I used to do it together and make 70 yards at a time, I could just double my yardage!!  I have been trying to make some semblance of order in my basement and had literally two boxes filled with what I thought looked like prewashed pfd fabric (the only fabric I would prewash!).  I just grabbed it all, cut two yard lengths or gathered up a bunch of scraps to make up two yards.  After using it all up, I grabbed a couple of bolts of my Egyptian cotton and cut that into 2 yard lengths as well. 

I decided I really needed some true reds and can always use greens.  I wanted to see how the fuchsia, mixing red and burnt orange interacted as well.

I actually had forgotten some of my process for doing this so will document it here for future reference!!

Steps are:

(1) Plan how much and colors
(2) Make up the dyes
(3) Mark the fabrics
(4) Set up the "pots" with the right amount of water and dye and put in fabric
(5) Make up soda ash solution and add to pots
(6)  Wait
(7) Rinse
(8) Dry
(9) Sort by second set of dyes
(10) Repeat steps 4-8

First step is to plan how much fabric of each color you want (I am  using one yard per color for this example) and then what colors and depth of color you want to play with (five base colors and five overdyes).  I generally use "pure" dyes in primary colors as a starting point as I don't want too many browns.  I usually do one yard of about 100 gm/yd fabric for this.  Important to know the weight of the fiber you are dyeing though as it is the weight of the dye with respect to the weight of the fabric that determines the depth of shade.  Most MX dyes reach maximum depth of shade at 3 or 4 percent (3 gms of dye/yard of 100 gm fabric).  Some will go darker though.

Next step is to make up the dyes. There will be six  yards of fabric in each "pot".   As my water is not super soft, I use urea water to make up the dyes (2 1/3 cups urea to 1 gal of  warm water).  I make up a few gallons.  I  use metric measures for making up the dyes and make up a 10% solution (10 gms of dye to 100 mls of water).So if I am doing those six yards per pot and I want the concentration to be 2% (I frequently use this), I need 6 x 2 gms (or 12 grams again assuming the fabric weighs 100 gms/yd which is pfd print cloth weight).  I use about a cup of urea water and dissolve the dye in it.  To do this, put a little water in the bottom of a measuring cup larger than a cup and then put in all the dye and mix it up like a paste.  Then  add the remainder of the cup of water.

The next step is to mark all your fabric so you know what colors caused what results.  I use tyvek labels with permanent markers and safety pins.  As my extreme dyeing is a 5 x 5 matrix, my numbering is A0-5, B0-5 through E5, and then 01-05.  That is 35 different colors.  the AO-EO are examples of the plain color as are the 01-06.  The latter don't get added until the second batch of dyes.  Most of the time I use a yard for each.

I set up my "pots" even though I am essentially doing low water immersion.  Each of these "pots" (kitty litter boxes, 5 gallon buckets) will hold 6 yards of fabric in the one yard of each color example (first pot will be all the A's, second all the B's etc.) I put my pots on an old coffee table so that I don't have to raise my arms up in the air to do the smushing.  It's a little bending but is actually easier on the body I find for at least this kind of dyeing (and shibori as well).  I add eleven cups of room temp water to each pot and the one cup of dye to each pot.  This is 2 cups of liquid for each yard of fabric and I always use dry fabric as I want the dye to be as even as you can get with low water immersion dyeing.  If you want it wet, decrease the water accordingly.  

I add the fabrics to each pot making sure they are smushed up.  I then do a lot of pressing of the fabric and manipulating of it. I move onto the next pot and do the same through all five.  Then I start from the beginning again and smush and manipulate the fabric  making sure there are no dry spots.  I repeat this a few times while I am preparing my next step.

Time to make the soda ash solution.  There will be six cups of soda ash solution per each "pot".     This is 6 x 5 cups or just short of 2 gals of soda ash solution (30 cups = 7 1/2 qts and 4 qts = gal).  I use slightly warm water for this as my basement tends to be a little chilly and I want the dye solution to be a bit warmer (but not hot).

After the fabrics have been sitting in the dye solution for 15-30 minutes, I then pot by pot pull out the fabric, add six cups of soda ash solution and then put the fabric back in and smush -- very important to get the soda ash solution to hit all the fabric or you will get faded ugly spots. After I have finished this, I go back to the beginning and smush some more.  After doing this a couple of times, I weight down the fabric by putting plastic  containers with some water in them so that fabric is above the water.  I let it sit for at least an hour.

Next is rinse out.  I am lazy and use the washing machine after the first rinse which gets rid of most of the soda ash.  I wash the fabrics in warm water and Synthrapol  and double rinse in warm water for these once dyed fabrics.  I do dry them as well and make sure all the labels are still   I wash them in separate loads if there are greatly disparate colors (like yellows together, blues  together and reds together).

After they are dried, I pile them all up and separate and sort according to the second digit so that all the ones go together ( A1- E1), then 2s etc.  You are finished with A0 and the other 0s. 

You then put the new piles in the new pots and repeat the first bunch.  

 After you have finished the overdyeing, the first washout in the same.  After you have done that washing and rinsing though, you do the serious washing!  Serious washing is Synthrapol with the hottest water your washing machine can do.  I also make sure I wash for at least 30 min (I turn the dial around so that it does the time twice).  I do two rinses and then do the whole process again.  Make sure that no one is taking any showers for awhile as this will probably use up most of the water in your water heater!!

This is the pile of 70 yards that I ended up with and actually managed to not cripple my back with the water and fabric hauling!  I liked them all except for three which I will overdye with navy probably to make them browner.  I got some great reds and some nice greens as well.  Never can have too much green or too many colors of green!

Here are all the colors!  Looks like burnt orange should be between the tangerine and strong orange.  I do love strong orange and the new pure navy blues that come from Pro Chem.  When added together they make awesome browns and blacks (1:1 for brown and 2:1 navy to str or for black).  My first set of pots were the sun yellow through burnt orange overdyed with the blues and reds.  All the names I used are ProChem names as those are the MX dyes I use.

I decided I wanted some more lighter greens that were a bit more like lime so used some 10:1 sun yellow to turquoise and basic blue.  I liked the basic blue ones better (the top ones) but may try a 20:1 sun yellow to turquoise to see what color I get.  It is amazing how little you need of some dyes to shift the color quite a bit.  Same is true of shifting fuchsia to bright red.  I was amazed at how even the color was on the fuchsia pieces.  I must have really done a lot of mushing!!!  I also have found that I need to add a little more water to the darker colors.  Altogether, I dyed 90 yards with the overdyeing and the greens.  Another 40 yards are being washed out now!  If I can get 500 yards done this summer, I will be happy.  I have all sorts of non-cotton fabrics, yarns and other fibers to play with as well.  I think I will get a large bag of ice and try my hand at some ice dyeing using the colors I have been working with.  And then there are the t-shirts.....

Amid all of this dyeing, we have been picking, pitting and preserving sour cherries from our tree.  We covered it with netting to keep away the birds and squirrels and managed to get almost 2 pecks (16 quarts) this year!!!  We left the netting off after we picked the last big amount and by the next morning all the remaining cherries were gone!!!  Shows how well the netting works!!

1 comment:

Laura said...

Do you actually use that much fabric yourself, or do you sell some? If you DO use it all yourself, about how long does it take you??