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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Story of Two Dyes

In the last couple of weeks I dyed two pieces of fabric using Ann's LWI process.  One fabric I wanted mottled with multiple colors. The second I wanted to be more flat in color.  I used Ann Johnston's method on both fabrics and by using different combinations of dyes while using the same process, I got both of the effects that I wanted.

First, I dyed a fat quarter with a mixture of blues and purples, I didn't measure and didn't record which ones.  I used the dye concentrates (1 T of dye powder + 2 T of Urea + enough water to make one cup of liquid) that I made up previously.  Since it was a small piece of fabric I used only 1/4 cup of each liquid in the process--1/4 cup water to wet the fabric, 1/4 cup of water with the chosen dye concentrates to dye the fabric, and lastly, 1/4 cup of soda ash mixture to set the dye. Wait one hour and here are my results.  I love the mottling.

The second piece was a two-yard length of fabric that will become the front and back of a baby quilt for my new great-nephew.  I wanted it dyed a strong yellow so that I could batik several layers of blue over it. Because I want bright colors, I did not want any red mixed in my yellow dye (the red would have dulled the green from the blue and yellow mix). That really limited the yellows that I could use since most of them have an orange hue to them.  I used lots of lemon yellow and just a drop of sun yellow concentrate.  I took more pictures this time.

Here are the two  yards of dry fabric stuffed into a gallon ice cream tub and the 2 cups of water I am going to pour over it to wet it before I add the dye.

Here is my dye concentrate mixed in with the 2 cups of water for the dye solution.  Once the material was thoroughly wet, I added the dye solution.

Here is the fabric after I wet it with 2 cups water, 2 cups of dye, waited 15 minutes, and then added 2 cups of soda ash solution.  Notice it is not completely covered with liquid.  I worried a bit about that.

Here is the result.  A much more flat color since I used very little dye variation.  And boy, is it yellow! (The spot in the upper right is just a water spot that will dry)

Lessons Learned:
1.  One pure color is going to create a more flat color.
2.  Multiple pure colors, even if they are very similar, produce a more mottled, interesting fabric.
3.  I love LWI dyeing.


  1. Great mottled fabric and I also love LWI dyeing. Can't believe I've actually "met" the person who figured it out! Thank you Ann

  2. Don't you just love the flatness of the yellow piece? I do!


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