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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