A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A great technique does not guarantee great results

I almost did not post my results from my sugar resist experiment.  It is not that the technique did not work.  I just made bad choices and the results ... well, you'll see.  It was like I forgot every dyeing lesson I ever learned!  LOL

I started out with a really lovely ice dyed fabric.  Here you see it pinned to my wonderful padded print surface that Beth helped me make. I have been thinking about stamping a pattern in a resist on one of my ice dyes and then overdyeing it in black.  So that was my plan to try with the sugar resist on this piece.

Here are the stamps I used.  I bought them on my summer vacation at a craft fair in Berea, Kentucky.

I then cooked my sugar resist from white sugar and water, let it cool, and stamped the fabric with the resist.  It was a big more blobby that I wanted but still doable.

Next I immediately stamped the fabric with some leftover fuchsia dye paste I had in the fridge.

 I forgot to take a picture of the next step but I dropped black dye onto the fabric in droplets that did not completely cover the fabric with the dye so you can see the drops.  Since that black dye was also leftover dye from the fridge, at this point there was no soda ash in the process.  To add the soda ash, I sprayed the fabric with the solution.  I expected a lot of bleeding of the black dye but got very little.  I then let it batch, rinsed, washed, dried, ironed, and got this results. Yuck.

And a couple of detail shots where I tried to avoid the too bright fuchsia dragonflies. Without the dragonflies, the fabric is ...uh...interesting.

This is definitely a piece that will go back into the recycle pile but I learned some lessons. 

1.  Yep, Lisa did warn us that the wet on wet technique gave soft edges.  The sugar resist did work but it has very soft edges that would look great in something other than blobby dragonflies. Assessment--I shoulda known better.

2. Dragonfly stamps are better used with a resist with more thickness that will give more detail and harder edges.  See assessment above.

3.  Droplets really do not do a good job of defining shapes.  I needed an all over color to do that. See assessment #1.

4. Try again but try not to forget all my years of hard learned lessons.  LOL


  1. You had me smiling throughout this whole post. I'm glad to see the "learning pieces"! My first foray into the sugar syrup thing created less than stellar results -- I'm currently cooking my third batch of sugar syrup -- hope it's a charm!

  2. Your write-up is a good one. I really think that some of the most informative posts are those where everything doesn't go smoothly. Thanks for sharing your experiment with us.

  3. I agree with Quilter Beth that some of the better posts are showing our "challenges" or things that didn't go quite right. I've got an upcoming post about oatmeal resist that didn't turn out like I thought it would. Thanks for the info on your sugar resist.

  4. Sometimes, it's good to have an 'oops' to get us back on track. I haven't tried the sugar resist yet, but have countless other experiments that were 'learning' pieces. I appreciate your sharing of this session with us, and look forward to seeing more experiments from you!

  5. Well, at least you learned a few things from your experience! I agree, sugar syrup is probably not the best resist for achieving your goals. I'd try stamping with either flour paste or a commercial resist, depending on what your stamp is like. I hope you don't give up on the sugar - maybe just leave it for when you want a more serendipitous approach.

  6. Thanks for sharing your experience. I loved it. It is always great to see and learn from other people's experiments! I love the dragonfly stamps. I hope your next resist works out just the way you want it to!

  7. I'm not sure what you mean by "white sugar" but commercial confectioner's sugar often has a thickener (such as corn starch) mixed in. If you were using straight granulated sugar that may have influenced the performance of the resist. Said she who has no exeprience of any kind with any kind of resist. ;-)

  8. I'm late to this party but I have a suggestion - If you still have this fabric! Using your original dragonfly stamp, set it on each "blobby" dragonfly and draw around it using a thin black fabric marker. Maybe then the blobby will look like shadows beneath the dragonflies. BTW - I love the black drop background in your detail photos. Thank you for sharing this great experiment!


Although this blog is no longer active, we will get your comments so please feel free to share them.