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.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Extreme Embroidery Project--Beth Schnellenberger

In the previous post, I gave the supply list for a pin using "extreme embroidery." In this post I will list the instructions along with pictures. Since I was a teacher in a previous life, I work better with a step-by-step list of instructions.


  • Gather your supplies.
  • Using Misty Fuse, fuse the white/cream fabric to a piece of the felt. If you don't use Misty Fuse, hand/spray baste or pin the fabrics together. (Misty Fuse will make it MUCH easier to do.)
  • Using your permanent gel roller, draw a simple design for your pin. Don't go too crazy on detail. As you can see from my examples, you don't even have to be REALLY careful. (For this example, I cut longer rectangular strips first. I then drew several designs and cut them apart before beginning to stitch. Cutting them apart makes it easier to handle the piece when you are stitching. Be sure to leave enough background fabric to have some to "hang on to" while you are stitching. I find 3-4 inches works best for me. Because the designs are small and relatively stable, I don't use a hoop when I embroider. If you would feel more comfortable using a hoop, you will need to cut your fabric larger to start with.)
  • Using your colored markers, color your design (just like you would a coloring book page). Keep in mind that you will be matching your embroidery floss to the colors you use. I color the piece so that if a little bit of the fabric shows through, the color will match and make it less detectable. I also don't have to worry about making any color decisions after this point.
*****After having made my first pin (the sample for this post), I decided that a black ink "border" should be added to the outside of the drawn and colored piece BEFORE stitching begins. I don't have pictures of the ORIGINAL sample with this done (since I didn't do it on my first pin), but I wanted to show you what this looks like.
  • Using your black gel pen, color as close as you can to the outside of the piece. Color around the entire piece adding approximately 1/8" to 1/4" of color BEFORE you start to stitch. This will cover the light colored background with a black edge (to hide any remaining light background after cutting the background away once the stitching is done). In the following picture, you can see what this looks like. THIS BORDER WILL NOT BE STITCHED.
  • You are now ready to begin stitching. I usually start in the center (away from the edge) of my design. Use any type of a filler embroidery stitch. For my pieces, I usually use French knots, stab/seed stitches, tight lazy daisy stitches or chain stitches, split stitches, and stem stitches. I do try to find unusual stitches if I'm doing a big piece. (That is a good excuse to have lots of embroidery books in my library.) If you are unfamiliar with how to do some of these stitches, here is a video tutorial for the stitches I use most often--basic embroidery stitches.

I started with the purple on the bottom. Can you see it?

  • Fill in every single inch of the fabric with stitches. Vary the color and texture of the stitches. As you saw in the bluebird (in the previous post) you can even cut really small pieces of fabric and stitch over those to add a different look to your piece. I have labeled all the stitches I used for my pin so you can see what they look like. When you have finished all the fill-in stitches, use a backstitch (I use black.) to outline each section of the design. (Compare how this next picture looks to the finished pin front--the picture with the black background. I think the black outline stitching makes the piece pop.)
  • Cut a piece of your heavy-duty fusible large enough to cover the back of your stitched piece. Cut it a bit smaller than the Eco-Felt. Use a Teflon pressing sheet or parchment paper and press the heavy-duty fusible to the back of your piece covering just the stitched area (not the entire piece).
  • If you haven't already, cut a piece of Eco-Felt approximately the same size as your finished piece including the background. Using your Teflon pressing sheet or parchment paper, press the Eco-felt to the back of the piece.
  • Now, CAREFULLY cut away the background from around the stitched piece. Cut close to the stitches, but leave a little of the black ink border you colored. Having that black ink border will give you a little "wiggle room" when cutting away the background and may give you the room you need to prevent you from cutting your stitches. (This is the second pin I made. You can see a bit of the black ink border remaining on the cut-out piece.)
  • If, after you have trimmed the background away, you have any light colored fabric still showing around the very edge of the piece, use your black gel pen to color it.
  • You are now ready to add your pin back. I chose to stitch mine to the finished piece, but your could glue it if you wish.

Here are some pins I have finished.
I love making these little pins. I hope you will too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Gather Your Supplies--Beth Schnellenberger

If you are interested in trying your hand at "extreme embroidery," here is a way to do it. I will give you an overview of what we'll be doing and a list of supplies you will need (many of which you will already have on hand).


I recently decided I'd like to make some pins using this technique. The pin idea started when I made a donation piece for a child advocacy center. I made this little bluebird as part of the piece. I really thought he was cute and decided I might like to make him into a pin. (I haven't done it yet.) As you can see here, I used some fabric, a big bead for the eye, and lots of embroidery to make this piece.

Then, I thought making a pin might be a good way to teach someone about "extreme embroidery." This is the front of the pin I'm making to use for your sample.

You will be preparing your fabric for stitching, doing some embroidery, and finishing your pin. As I made my pin, I took pictures and will share those with you along with the instructions in the next post. (Keep in mind I'm showing what works for me. Of course, you should do things the way that is the most comfortable for you.)


  1. Cotton fabric--4" square
  2. Felt--two 4" squares
  3. Misty Fuse fusible web--small amount 4" square
  4. Heavy-duty/no-sew Heat and Bond, Steam-a-Seam or other heavy no-sew fusible
  5. Permanent pen
  6. Colored markers
  7. Embroidery needles
  8. Scissors
  9. Embroidery floss
  10. Pin back

Let me talk a little about each of these supplies.

  • Cotton fabric--I use a white Kona cotton for my pieces. All you really need is a small piece of any cotton fabric that is a solid cream or white. A 4-inch square is large enough.
  • Eco-felt--This is the felt I like to use. (I get mine on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics. It is made of recycled plastic. I don't think it would matter what kind of felt you use for this project. If you have some on hand, use that. I like to use a black felt (since it might show a little in the end). For this project, use what you have on hand. You need two pieces that are the same size as your fabric.
  • Misty Fuse--I fuse the cotton fabric and the Eco-felt together with Misty Fuse. I wouldn't use any other type of fusible, because I haven't found any that is as easy to sew through as Misty Fuse. (If you don't have Misty Fuse, (since this project is so small) you could hand baste or spray baste the two pieces of fabric together. You might even be able to just pin them. If you do use the Misty Fuse, you will need a piece the same size as your fabric and felt.
  • Heat & Bond or Steam-a-Seam--Be sure to read the package and get the heavy-duty fusible that doesn't require sewing to make it permanent. (There are several different kinds of fusibles from featherlite, lite, heavy, to no-sew.) I use this to attach the finished pin to the the Eco-felt backing.
  • Permanent pen--I use a Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric. I use this pen to draw the design onto the fabric. I LOVE this pen and use it often. I used it to cover the entire background fabric with writing for my "Then We Pray" piece shown in a previous post. It is perfect to use for making labels for your quilts and other art pieces. It writes very smoothly on fabric. Lots of stores carry them and you can get them online. (Amazon carries them--here. I like them SO much that I order them by the box--a much better buy if you think you will use them for anything else.)
  • Colored markers--I use Ultra Fine Bic Mark It Permanent Markers. I like to use these markers to color my designs. They are easy to use on the fabric and come in a large selection of colors. My work isn't washed and most of this color will be covered with stitches, so permanency is not an issue for me.
  • Embroidery needles--These needles have sharp tips that pierce the fabric as you stitch, and larger eyes for accommodating floss and embroidery thread. Here is the best site I have found for explaining needles for embroidery-What Needle Do I Use? For this project, be sure to have a needle who's eye will accommodate your thread and that opens up a large enough hole in the fabric to allow the thread to easily pass through. Needles are sized by number and the bigger the number, the smaller or finer the needle. I found the following guide on the DMC website. When using 1-2 strands of embroidery floss use a size 26, with 3-4 strands of embroidery floss use a size 24 and with 5-6 strands of embroidery floss use a size 22. For #5 Pearl Cotton use a size 20, for #8 use size 22 and for #12 use size 10.
  • Scissors--This is pretty self-explanatory. You will be cutting threads, cotton fabrics, and felt.
  • Embroidery floss--I use whatever kind of floss suits my needs for color and coverage. I generally use DMC floss and Perle cotton. Lately, I am REALLY liking the Perle Cotton in Size 8 (picture on the right below). If you use that thread, you don't have to separate the strands of floss. I think, particularly for satin stitches, the Size 8 makes a neater stitch. If you have some embroidery thread on hand, pick out a variety of colors you like. Whatever you have on hand will be fine for this project.

  • Pin back-You can buy these lots of places. Be sure to get a size that is appropriate for the size of your pin.
In the next post, you'll see how I made my pin. You can make one too!


Monday, January 25, 2016

Current Work--Beth Schnellenberger

I just finished a piece that I REALLY hope gets juried into Dialogues: Contemporary Responses to Marie Webster Quilts (a regional SAQA exhibit) that will be shown at the Indianapolis Museum of Art from June 24-September 4, 2016. Here is a closeup of the piece. I didn't post an entire picture, because I'm a little superstitious about showing it all before the jurying is done.

The entire piece measures 38" high X 30.25" wide. It is entirely hand quilted and contains a lot of hand embroidery. The shapes are machine appliquéd to the background. Most of the individual shapes are made up of MANY small pieces appliquéd to make the whole.
I also have a "forever" English paper piecing project that I am perpetually working on. To give you a perspective on how small the pieces are, here is a photo of one of the pieces next to a dime. Each piece is hand basted to a template and hand pieced into the quilt top. (That is A LOT of hand piecing!)
I have worked on this project off and on for two years. The design is based on a piece of old Italian tile work on the floor of a hotel in southern Indiana. Here is what I have done so far.
At this stage, it measures 86" at its widest point and 47" tall. It is made entirely of scrap fabrics--all different red, gold, brown, white, blue, orange, and gray fabrics. I think the variety in those fabrics gives it a bit more "sparkle." I have a love/hate relationship with this piece. I love how it looks, and I love to do the handwork. I hate how hard it is to follow the pattern I drew up, I hate how long it takes to do it all, and I hate having to handle the whole huge piece to add rows to it. It may end up being one of those unfinished "What Was She Thinking" pieces when they find it buried among my things when I'm long gone.
This next piece is a companion piece to Metamorphosis I. It measures approximately 20" tall X 10 1/2" wide.
It isn't close to being finished yet even though it may look like it is. I add color to the background before any stitching is done so I can concentrate on the stitching once I get to that point; I don't have to make any color decisions then. There is quite a lot of the piece that has yet to be stitched. If you zoom in on the picture, you can see the areas where the stitching still needs to be done. I use the technique I call "extreme embroidery" for the work on this piece. The entire surface of the cloth is covered with stitches and in some cases I add small pieces of fabric. (The mouth on this piece is red wool with stitching over the top of it.) When it is finished, the cream background you see here will be cut away. I haven't decided yet whether it will be appliquéd to another piece or whether it will be framed like Metamorphosis I.
In my next couple of posts, I'll be showing you an extreme embroidery project you can do (and it won't take you months and months to do it).


Sunday, January 24, 2016

WINNER of the Dyeing Alchemy book

Sara van Alkemade is the winner of the "Dyeing Alchemy" Book. 

You need to contact Diane at diane dot franklin at gmail dot com.

If we don't hear from you in three days we will choose another winner.

Friday, January 22, 2016

More Happenings--Beth Schnellenberger

I especially love having my pieces juried into shows that are open to every type of art. I really like the fact that fiber art is being juried into all-media shows. The Mid-States Craft Exhibition includes sculpture, jewelry, painting, woodworking, ceramics, metalwork, and more. Three of my pieces have been chosen for the Mid-States Craft Exhibition at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science in Evansville, Indiana, (one at a previous exhibit and two for the exhibit occurring January 17-March 6, 2016).

"Zen" made it into a previous exhibit.

"Zen" (30" X 24" X 1.5")
"Zen" detail

"Zen" has LOTS of hand stitching. In the detail shot, you can see the many French knots, stem stitch, and satin stitch embroidery that make up a big section of the piece. Zen measures 24" X 30".

These next two pieces are in the current Mid-States exhibit.

"Metamorphosis I" (25" X 25" X 1.5")
Detail "Metamorphosis I"
Detail "Metamorphosis I"
"Black, White, and Red All Over" (26.25" X 36.5")
I guess you can tell by looking at my work that I REALLY like handwork. "Metamorphosis I" is an example of my "extreme embroidery" work. The figure is TOTALLY made up of hand embroidered stitches. "Black, White, and Red All Over" is hand quilted, hand embroidered, and hand beaded. I also made all the lime green yoyos by hand.

I'm excited, too, that I have some work in Jane Dunnewold's latest book called Creative Strength Training due out in June. You can find more information about it here. I'm not sure which pieces actually made it into the book (since it is on preorder), but I'm pretty sure "Spike" made it in.

"Brain Freeze" aka "Spike"
"Spike" appeared in Jane's Quilting Arts Magazine "Unbound, Thoughts on Making; What Does Alignment Look Like to You" article. The article is in the August/September 2015 issue (Page 22).
Nobody has been more surprised than me at the positive reception of my work. I truly feel blessed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

This is What I've Been Up To--Beth Schnellenberger

After the success of selling some of my work and some positive encouragement from friends, I decided to try to get some of my work into some national/international shows. I ended up having two pieces juried into the Sacred Threads Exhibition in 2015. (I was THRILLED!) My husband and I got to attend the show (in Virginia) and had the most marvelous time. Here are my pieces from that show.

"And Then We Pray"

This piece was inspired by a photograph I saw in a newspaper which depicted mourners praying over the coffins of security forces killed in Fallujah, Iraq. I wrote quotes about war and peace on the gray background fabric. The coffins are hand embroidered.

Detail photo of "And Then We Pray"
This next piece that made it into the show, "Final Separation," is about being separated from my Mom by Alzheimer's and, ultimately, by death. There is a hidden quote by Washington Irving on the piece which is hand embroidered in black on the left-hand side between the heart and the diagonal "track." It reads--"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief and of unspeakable love."
"Final Separation"
Detail of "Final Separation"
I was really excited when “Final Separation” (one of forty) was chosen for the Sacred Threads traveling exhibit which means it will be touring for two years. If you’d like to hear me tell the story of "Final Separation," click HERE. In partnership with the Quilt Alliance, Sacred Threads is able to share video clips of the artists telling the stories of their quilts. (If you check out the video, I said my Mom passed away in 2012. That isn't correct. I was SO nervous AND SCARED about doing the video I misspoke; she actually died in 2010--how embarrassing!) I was really touched by this show; I want to share more of it with you. There is a gallery "walk" here, where you can see all of the quilts from the 2015 show; and there is a documentary about the show here.
I have another show and another thing or two I'd like to talk to you about in my next blog post; and in subsequent posts, I'll show you some things I have in the works right now. I'll also show you a couple of the techniques I've been utilizing--English paper piecing and what I call "extreme embroidery." I've even included a little "extreme embroidery" project.

Monday, January 18, 2016

In the Beginning; It's Scary--Beth Schnellenberger

Beth and Judith from And Then We Set It On Fire asked me and at least one other former resident artist for the group to fill you in on what we have been doing since we left the Fire blog. I was one of the original contributors to the blog. It was a GREAT learning experience for me.

I remember when I first started my own blog Quilter Beth's Blog. I was really scared to put myself out there. I decided to work through a book (Art + Quilt) and post my successes and failures on the blog. Again, it was scary. Then, I was contacted by Judith and asked to become a resident artist on the Fire blog. I remember emailing Judith and saying I couldn't do it; I wasn't an artist. I had been quilting for MANY years, but I hadn't really "done my own thing." I wasn't sure what I could share in the "art realm." Judith had been following my blog and saw something in me that I didn't see myself. She convinced me I did have something to contribute to this new blog. I was SCARED, but I have NEVER regretted the decision. I did have REAL trouble, however, calling myself an artist.

Throughout my time with the Fire blog, I learned SO much--I met Judith in person (and found we had A LOT in common), I learned to write a decent blog post explaining my process (including pictures), and I added MANY new "tools" to my toolbox. I did not, however, do much work on "becoming" an artist--on finding MY OWN voice. After much soul searching, I dropped out of the Fire blog to work on my own art. Again, I was scared.

Since leaving the blog, I have been spending time developing my own artwork. It really started when I took an Advanced Independent Workshop (for two years) with Jane Dunnewold. I really feel that the work I did in that workshop set some really good things in motion for me.

I had told Jane that part of my problem in creating art was that I liked every aspect of fiber art (stitching, piecing, dyeing, painting, screen printing, etc., etc., etc.) and couldn’t narrow it down enough to actually get started. I had read LOTS of books, worked through LOTS of exercises, and taken LOTS of classes. I guess I was afraid to actually “do my own thing.” Jane made me focus on “what I liked and what I was good at.” I had to quit being pulled in so many different directions, quit taking classes, and quit reading how-to books and experimenting--I had to actually DO/MAKE/CREATE. The fact that Jane made me accountable for getting some of my own work done gave me the incentive I needed to get started. During that time, I ended up making 12+ pieces of art.

I got brave enough to start exhibiting my work and sold one of the first pieces I showed publicly. No one was more surprised than me!

"Flying Bikinis" (named by my son) is heavily hand quilted (as Jane would say...something I like to do and am good at). It contains pieced silk sari strips within appliquéd bias curves and measures 10" X 23.75".

That sale and the positive comments at the show gave me the courage I needed to continue creating and showing my work. Since that time, I have had pieces juried into several shows, have had a solo show, and have had pieces in an invitation-only exhibit with artists I really admire. I was scared to do it all, but I have found that I grow when I do things that really scare me.

Have you been thinking you might want to "put yourself out there?" It is a scary thing to do; but you CAN do it, and it can be very rewarding.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dyeing Alchemy Winner

Thanks to every one for the great comments on my three posts. I’m glad that the information was helpful to many of you.

To pick the winner, I used a random number generator from mathgoodies.com. The winner is Sara van Alkemade. Sara, please send your email address to me at dyeingalchemy@gmail.com and I will send you a copy of the book.

Sara commented:
Thanks for sharing this. My past dyeing hasn't required a lot of precision, but I have been aware that I don't have a great deal of control over the color outcome. It never occurred to me that something as simple as a difference in spoon shapes could affect the outcome. A 2016 resolution: learn more control.

I look forward to posting again in November. Meanwhile, I hope everyone has a productive dyeing year.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Dyeing by Weight Vs. Volume 3: Showing the Difference Between Fabrics Where Dye Was Measured vs. Weighed

In this post, I (Diane) will show you 6 different pieces of fabric, 2 each of red, yellow, blue. One set of fabrics was dyed with dye powder that was measured. The other set of fabrics was dyed with dye powder that was weighed.

For this experiment, I actually calculated the correct amount of dye and auxiliary solutions needed for the weight of my fabric and the depth of shade that I wanted.  Each sample was 6” by 14” and weighed 7 grams. I decided that I wanted a depth of shade of 4%. This depth of shade gives the fabric a medium-dark color.

Using the formulas already available in the Dyeing Alchemy workbook, I calculated that I would need 0.3 grams of dye powder to get a 4% depth of shade for this amount of fabric. This is the amount of dye powder I need for each piece of cloth in the "weight" part of the experiment. The formula I used was the weight of fabric in grams times the depth of shade percentage. If my scale had been accurate to two decimal places, I would have seen that the correct amount of dye powder was actually 0.28 grams rather than 0.3 grams, but the later amount is accurate enough for most purposes.

Since I was dyeing small amounts of fabric, I decided to mix my dye powders right in the cups in which the fabric would be dyed. Each cup has been labeled with the color of the dye and an indication of whether the dye has been weighed or measured.

To help the dye powder dissolve, I have put 1/8 teaspoon urea granules into each of the 6 cups. The amount of urea is approximate. From experience, this seemed to be a good amount to use for a small piece of fabric and small amount of dye. I could also have dissolved the dye using urea water rather than plain water, but generally I prefer using urea granules since they act like small ball bearings that help dissolve the dye powder.

For the cups where the dye will be weighed, I used the same process as in earlier posts: I put the cup with the urea granules on the scale, tared the scale to zero, and weighed 0.3 grams of dye powder. (As in earlier posts, I worked in a sink below my face, with damp paper towels in the sink. I also wore a mask and gloves.) Once I measured 3 colors of dye powder, each into its own cup, I was through with the part of the process related to dyeing by weight. 

I then had to figure out how much dye powder to use for the samples where the dye powder was being measured by volume. I looked in my dye books and on the Internet so see if I could find an agreed-upon volume figure for the weight of one gram of dye. I found some information that said 1 gram of dye powder is about equal to ½ teaspoon of dye powder. This is the information I used in this experiment. (This does not correspond, however, to the weights I got in my last post, but more about that later). Using the following formula:

1 gram/.5 teaspoon = 0.3gram/X teaspoon,

I calculated that X = 0.15 teaspoon. This is a little more than 1/8th teaspoon (=0.125). So I measured out a scant 1/8th teaspoon of dye for each sample dyed by volume and added it to the appropriate dye cups which already contained urea granules.

Next I needed to figure out the liquids I would add to the dye powder in each cup. Using the Dyeing Alchemy workbook, I calculated that for each 7 gram piece of cloth, I would need to use 70 milliliters of total liquid, divided into 32.5 ml. of water, 22.4 ml. of salt stock, and 10.5 ml. of soda ash stock. In this instance I used a 10:1 liquor ratio where the amount of liquid is 10 times the weight of the cloth (10 times 7 = 70 ml of liquid). 70 milliliters of liquid (a little more than a quarter of a cup) is enough to cover the fabric piece once it is squished down. Since this formula for liquids includes 13.5 milliliters of dye stock to make up the total of 70 milliliters, I used about 46 milliliters of water instead of 32.5 to compensate for the fact that I was working with dye powder here rather than dye stock.

Next I labeled my fabrics. I used little pieces of Tyvek that I stapled on the corners of the fabric. I like using Tyvek labels rather than a marker notation in the corner of the fabric pieces since they will show up no matter the darkness of the dyed fabric. Marker notations on the fabric itself may be obscured if you are dyeing the fabric a very dark color.

Since I needed about 276 milliliters of water total for the 6 cups, I poured about 300 milliliters of water into a measuring cup and heated it in the microwave. I then used a thermometer to make sure that my water was about 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Centigrade). This is on the high side for mixing dye but I knew the water would cool a bit while I did the other steps in the process.

I also got out my bottles of salt stock and soda ash stock so they would be ready when I needed them.

For the first dye container, I measured 46 milliliters of warm water into a measuring cylinder. I then poured a small amount of that water into the first dye container and stirred it with a spoon. As the dye dissolved, I added a little more of the water. When most or all of the dye was dissolved, I added the rest of the 46 milliliters of water and stirred the dye until it was fully dissolved, translucent and without any dye granules on the bottom of the cup. The urea granules helped to dissolve the dye powder quickly. I repeated this process for each of the other 5 cups.

Next I measured 23 milliliters of salt stock into each cup. I didn’t bother to heat the salt stock since I was using such a small quantity and had already heated the water I first put into the cup. I put this amount of salt stock into dye container and stirred.

The next step was adding each labeled piece of fabric to the appropriate cups. After adding each piece of fabric, I squished it with my gloved fingers and massaged the dye into it. I did this for all 6 cups, rinsing my fingers in between handling each piece of cloth. I left the cups for 15 minutes, stirring and massaging the fabric throughout that time. Then I moved the fabric pieces to one side of the cup with a spoon and poured 10.5 milliliters of soda ash stock into each cup. I left the cups for another 60 minutes, stirring each frequently. Then I rinsed, washed and dried the fabric in the usual way.

Below is a picture of the finished 6 pieces of fabric. The fabric where the dye was measured is on the left. The fabric where the dye was weighed is on the right.

You can see that for the blue and yellow dyes, the cloth where the dye was measured is darker than the cloth where the dye was weighed. For the red dye, the colors are pretty close though the piece where the dye was weighed may be slightly darker than the piece where the dye was measured.

BUT, as I said above, this color difference could be an artifact. In my middle post this week, all the teaspoonfuls of dye that I weighed were between 3.8 and 4.9 grams, with an average weight of 4.4 grams. This means that an average 1/8th teaspoon of dye would weigh 0.55 grams which is almost twice the weight of 0.3 grams that I used for the "weight" part of this experiment. That alone could explain the discrepancy in color between the two pieces of each sets of fabrics, since the pieces dyed with the measured amounts of dye had almost twice as much dye as the pieces with the weighed amount of dye. The only way to know for sure would be to dye 3 more pieces of fabric with a measured amount of dye equal to about 1/16th teaspoon. Since I don't own a measuring spoon that small, I would have to work with a 1/8th teaspoon measure and then use half that amount of dye powder in that spoon.

Because I was really curious about what would happen if I measured 1/16th teaspoon of dye powder, I decided to do one more experiment using the same method and formulas discussed above.

It was really hard to measure out the 1/16th teaspoon of dye powder using the 1/8th teaspoon measure.

The process was messy and the amount was probably inexact. But I proceeded to do this as best as I could for each of the 3 colors I was using. I also decided to weigh the amount of dye in each 1/16th  teaspoon just to see if my hunch about weight was correct. The red and yellow dyes each weighed 0.2 grams and the blue dye weighed 0.3 grams.

I then dyed the fabrics. Below are the results. On the left is the original piece using dye that was measured. In the middle is the piece where I tried to measure 1/16th teaspoon. On the right is the piece where the dye was weighed. (The colors of the dyed fabrics below are a little different from the colors in the pictures shown above but this is because I took the photos in different lights.)

For the blue fabric, the colors of the middle and right hand pieces are quite close. This makes sense since the amount of measured dye in the middle weighed 0.3 grams, exactly the same as the piece with the weighed dye on the right. In the case of the red fabric, the middle piece is lighter than either of the other two. This is to be expected since the 1/16th teaspoonful of dye used for the fabric in the middle weighed 0.2 grams, less than the amount of dye used in either of the other two samples of red fabric. For the yellow fabric, the color of the piece in the middle is closer to the piece on the right. These two pieces differ only by 0.1 gram in the weight of the dye used so it makes sense that they look similar.

Hopefully the experiments in my three posts will help you decide whether you want to measure or weigh your dye. In most cases, my vote is for the latter, since weighing dye is easier, quicker, more accurate and less messy than measuring it. Weighing also allows you to use exactly the amount of dye you need, thereby saving money and reducing the use of water needed to wash out excess dye.

That said, some people prefer just to experiment with dyes, mixing by eye, or playing around to see what they get. That's fine too. As I said in my initial post, there is no one right way to dye fabric. But the more tools you have, the more you will be able to decide on the method that makes the most sense for your desired outcome.

Even easier than working with weighed dye powers is working with 5% dye concentrates where 5 grams of dye powder are dissolved in 100 milliliters of water. (If you need larger quantities of dye concentrate, you can use this formula to make up the amount of 5% concentrate that you need.) Making up and working with dye concentrates will be the subject of one of my posts later in the year, but if you want to know how to do this sooner, you can read all about it in my book.

Remember to add a comment if you want to be entered into the drawing for a free copy of Dyeing Alchemy. On January 16th, I will compile names of all the people who commented on this week's posts and randomly choose one person to receive a copy of the primer and workbook. Please see the Dyeing Alchemy link for more information about the book as well as some reviews of it.