Friday, July 29, 2016

Another Day of Ice Dyeing -- the Process Illustrated

You can see that I again stacked the mandalas as I really like the subtle differences and as I used less dye and some lighter values, they came out pretty good! I am sure now that the one on the left is the one on top and the one on the right is on the bottom.  It was easy to sort them out last night as they were all so different.  Note that these haven't been ironed yet!

The post today will be a relatively detailed description of how I do these.  This is one of the tshirts lying across a relatively flat surface before I start "pleating".

Here I have almost finished the pleating process.  I start at the lower left hand corner and just use my fingers to.gather up the garment on the diagonal. One is reversed as I did it inside out!!

All gathered up and now I spiral it.

Two spiraled t-shirts sitting on the drop cloth which is on grate suspended over a plastic box.  I did four t-shirts altogether yesterday.

Here you can see four mandalas altogether.  There are two in each half of this square (really looks more like a rectangle as I didn't cut as even as I could have!).

This is what the t-shirts look like after I have applied the ice and the dyes.  Used here were sun yellow, grass green, leaf green and some dark green (which is very very dark I have discovered).

This is one set of mandalas covered with the ice and dye.  Lots of yellow here.

This is mandalas after 2 1/2 hours.

These are the t-shirts after 2 1/2 hours.

These are the mandalas after five hours.

T-shirts at five hours.  The ice is almost all melted.  Note that a lot of the yellow is still in powdery form.

These are the mandalas right before I start washing -- this was about 7 hours later.  I do these in my basement which is relatively cool.

These are the t-shirts before washing.

Before I do the washing, I nuke each of the t-shirts for about four minutes and do the same for the mandalas (although I group the mandalas and do 4 at a time).  I do the same with the drop cloths.  Just want to get them nice and warm to make sure the dye is set.

I then unfold and rinse in cold water getting a lot of the dye out and hopefully most of the soda ash.  I then dunk them in quite warm water, swishing them around to get out as much dye as possible.  (The water will look very dark.)  I change up the two waters after two t-shirts.  I then thrown them all into a bucket and cart them to the washing machine for final washing.  I use the hottest water I can in my washer and add Synthrapol.  I also make sure I am using the maximum load size.  The rinse water is warm.  After this wash, I remove them and get all the strings that have tied them all up off and look at them as this is probably what they will look like.  I then repeat the wash/rinse process one more time.  I always tell people to make sure they wash before using as well as they may have a hotter wash cycle and potentially could get some more dye out.  The dye that is left is really a stain and no longer active though so generally if there is some staining, a little Synthrapol will get it right out.

 These are the remaining mandalas displayed with their "partners".

 And here are the t-shirts.  The first two are Hanes x-large and the third one is a Basic Editions (K-Mart) 2x.

This is a 1x v-neck t-shirt.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Another Day of Dyeing -- You Win Some, You Lose Some!!

It was a day to do some experimenting but not on t-shirts as that would be a little costly.  I tried putting clothespins on a couple of pieces and then I stacked two sets of pieces to see if they would come out with the same pattern (they should).  I also used mostly purples with some blues.  To say the least, I was very surprised by the outcome!!

The most surprising was that  by looking at the pieces separately, I could not tell which ones were the stacked ones!!  I finally figured it out when I put them ll on the computer and had them all small and sitting next to each other!!  

This was the mate to the one above!  I suspect it was the one on the bottom as it has less color but will have to confirm this by actually labeling the pieces next time!!  Here I thought I had a great opportunity to have two the same!!  Hardly....

Here you can see the two pieces next to each other.  I like both of them but notice with this bunch of pieces (I did 10 altogether in one session) that I like the photos better than the actual pieces although I do like these two.  Overall, I think I used far too much dye yesterday and will get out my shaker bottles to tone this down a bit.

The next two are also stacked pieces.  They look more alike than the first two but not if you are just looking at the big pieces.

I am not sure if the color difference is true or a function of darkening up the pieces as the flash lightened them up too much.  They are really pretty dark.

Here they are next to each other.

The next two pieces were really dark and I used all the different purples that I had including Grape, Blue-Violet and I think one called Deep Purple.  I may have thrown in  a little blue in as well.  These were my least favorites as they were very dark.

This one and the previous piece were the ones with the clothespins.  I think the effect was extremely subtle (so subtle I m not even sure these were the two pieces!).  I only put two clothespins along the edges of these two pieces.  You can see a lighter spot along the diagonals.

You'll notice on a few of the pieces that they are longer than they are wider.  Operator error I think!

I believe that these were done together as well although I didn't mark anything so it is just a guess on my part.  By together here, I mean that they sat next to each other with the same colors sprinkled on top.

These two were done together as well with a lot more blue in them -- I believe a lot of Basic Blue.  The bottom one is my least favorite.
Overall, the day was a limited success.  I got a few pieces I liked and a few I didn't like too much.  Going to go back to using those greens which are mixed dyes as I like what I got with them better.  Will do some more mandalas today and then back to t-shirts.  I had to order more Synthrapol as I have been using Dawn which seems to do the job just fine but...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Back to the Dye Pots!!

Well, after several weeks away and catching up on all my travel blogs, I finally got into the basement, picked up a bit and set myself up to dye some tshirts and more mandalas using ice of course.  I like the look you get with the ice so much better than just squirting dye onto the shirts like the old days. You get much crisper lines with ice dyeing and greater variation in value.    I did three t-shirts and of course the underlying "drop" cloths that I use.

I have done this fanfold technique before on tshirts and really like the effect of doing the fold on the diagonal rather than straight up and down.

For these tshirts, I placed some fabric underneath each one (don't want those stripes occurring from the cookie racks) and then took the soda ashed soaked, fan folded tshirts and made a spiral with each one.  They didn't even take up much room on the racks.  I covered them with ice (just enough so no fabric is peaking through) and then sprinkled generously all my different greens and then a little navy blue and mixing blue just for the heck of it.  I think I threw a little sun yellow in at the very end.  I should note that a couple of the greens are very light greens and obviously have a lot of yellow in them but I also used a very dark green as well.  I like a lot of value contrast!  I let them sit until the ice was all melted and then nuked them each about 4 minutes -- just enough to get them nice and warm.  They looked navy blue at this point.  I rinsed in cold and then warm water and threw them into the washing machine and ran them through twice.  I ran out of Synthrapol so used Dawn and it didn't suds too much and obviously got a lot of the color out!!  

I also did the fan fold on this one although did it right to left this time.  The biggest difference between this bunch and all the others is the size of the fan fold.  Before I folded them about every three inches either across or diagonally and really like that look as well.  Yesterday I decided to only do about an inch deep fold which makes for a lot more color in the shirts and little white space (none as a matter of a fact) while my others have a lot of white in them -- a look I also like.  Now if I could just figure a way to get those fan folds to be more even with a soggy large t-shirt!

 You can see how much color my "drop" cloths got as well!!  This fabric was a drapery weight pfd sateen that I got many years ago.  Before this, I had used it primarily for monoprinting as it has such a nice firm hand.  It is about 54 inches wide and each of these pieces is about 3/4 yard.  I think they will make some great looking tote bags!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Days 18, 19 and 20 - A Visit to Western Missouri and St. Louis

 We stopped at the Missouri Star Quilt Company on our way to visit Vicki's older brother.  This is essentially a series of quilt shops that basically take up all the buildings in this small town.  Each of the shops is dedicated to different kinds of fabrics and of course is complete with all the Missouri Star quilt patterns.

Vicki waited patiently as Joan and I wandered down the street and through all the shops.  We stopped for lunch here as well - there was literally almost no place to do this but Vicki had noticed a lot of people going in and out of this one restaurant (really the only restaurant).  It was of course filled with quilters!

From here, we stopped for a nice visit and dinner with Vicki's brother and his wife and caught up on family and trips.  I hadn't seen her brother in fifty years and it was fascinating and  really nice visit!!

The next morning we headed for St. Louis.  We hoped that we would get the visit to the famous Arch and a  boat ride in that afternoon.

This is my first view of the arch up close.  It was not easy to get to at all.  I can say that this was easily one of the most difficult tourist destinations to which I have been.  Even finding  it with the GPS was difficult and once we talked to a cop for directions, we had to walk quite a distance from the parking lot to the Arch.  I might add that the temp was 102 and there was no shade at all.  

We got our tickets for both the ride down the Mississippi and the elevator ride in the Arch first.

This was the boat that we took.  In order to get to it, however, you had to go down to sets of steps with no guard rails (amending that to say that there were wooden guard rails running at a ludicrous angle at the very ends of the steps -- nothing you would want to attempt).  Thank goodness I  had my cane with me.  The boat ride was nice but there is really not much to see along the river edge -- St. Louis has certainly not developed this area at all -- it has all the potential to be a really nice riverfront but certainly not there yet!

From there we headed back up those steps to get to the entrance to the Arch.  Remember that it is 102 with an effective temp of 108!  This was not pleasant!!

 The visit to the Arch itself was interesting.  To get to the top of the Arch (650 feet high), you ride in these small cars that kind of look like washing machines and the ride up,  you kind of go back and forth rocking.  This is the view looking to downtown St. Louis from the top.  There are basically very small windows to view out of.  I cleaned a couple off with tissues and got fairly decent pictures before we took the ride back down.

This was the view toward the Mississippi.  The real high point was the film about the building of the arch back in the 60s.  It was truly fascinating and quite an engineering fete which was well documented.

The walk back to the car was  beyond horrendous and by this time I had decided I would stay in the hotel room rather than ever go out in this heat and humidity again!!  We had planned a zoo visit for the next day but I had had it with the heat!

Well, I just love zoos so the next morning I decided that I could  brave the heat to see one of America's best zoos.  It had a tram as well so I wouldn't have to walk too much.  It is a free zoo but you pay for parking and for the tram so not quite so free!  It is really a beautiful zoo and really as nice as the San Diego Zoo or Bronx Zoo for layout although it doesn't have the variety or size of those two enormous zoos.  This is an Addax.  There were several species that I don't remember seeing before (but probably have!).  I should note that the temp was only 98 this day but there was lots of shade and even a little breeze occasionally.  One of the first things you see is a monument to Marlin Perkins -- remember Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom?

This is a Takin.

These are Chinese Gorals.

Took the picture of the camel just for my daughter who loves camels!
 This was one of two baby zebras.

 I really enjoyed watching the kangaroo jumping around but eventually it was too hot even for him.  The rest of the kangaroos were lazing along the sides in a ditch where it was obviously cooler.  Would love to see kangaroos in the wild but that is probably not going to happen!

 Mama lion is sitting in the shade.
The Gorillas and the Chimpanzees were inside enjoying the cooler air.

Probably my favorite exhibit was the penguins.  these are Rock Hopper Penguins.

 These two are Humboldt Penguins and were outside.  They can tolerate the warmth and probably were the penguins my daughter swam with in the Galapagoes.

 This is a Crested Puffin.
Just a regular Puffin.  I want to see these in the wild as well.  A visit to Acadia will be in my future!

 Last but certainly not least are the King Penguins!

This was about the nicest penguin habitat I have seen.

We spent our last night of touring in St. Louis.  The next day we were truly on our way home with only two more official stops -- Hancock's of Paducah (a great fabric store) and a visit with our high school friend Fran Mayo in Albertsville, Alabama.  We made two sleeping stops, one south of Nashville and one south of Atlanta.  It was 104 when we reached our first stop and luckily we didn't have to be outside except for a few minutes as it was difficult to breathe at that temp!  We reached Vicki's house in Florida on day 23!  

I was scheduled to leave a couple of days later and flying through Atlanta.  Unfortunately, weather interfered with my plans forcing an overnight stay in Atlanta which Delta Airlines nicely provided.  They also flew me first class on the remaining leg of my trip back to Rochester the following day!  I can't say enough good about this airline!