Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Too Hot to Dye?

As a group, fiber artists and quilters are pretty hot.  As anybody who's ever been to Festival, or to one of those wild evening guild meetings or retreats can attest, nobody parties like a quilter.  However, in my not-so-humble opinion, no one is hotter than a dyer.

Now I know there are quilters who don't think of themselves as artists, and there are fiber artists who don't quilt, and of course, there are dyers who don't quilt or even consider themselves artists.  But there is enough of an overlap between the three that I can consider them all together.  And the hottest are the dyers.

Except for snow-dyeing, which most of us agree is kind of a novelty thing that we do when it's too cold to do the regular kind of dyeing, the procion dyes like it hot.  Especially turquoise and the other blues.  And, of course, that includes all the colors that include blue: purples, greens, browns.  Basically all the colors that aren't red, orange, or yellow -- which are pretty hot all by themselves.

Unlike some quilters, dyers aren't afraid of color.  We have all made mistakes when learning to mix colors -- some turn out to be happy accidents, and some, well, not so much.  But there is no bad hand-dyed fabric -- there is probably no bad fabric either, now that I think about it -- one person's ugly is another's "gotta have it."  But I digress...

The weather has been really hot this week.  Lots of people have been whining about it (not me, but that's another story).  So I decided I better get out there and enjoy it.  I had some dyes aging in the dye studio (also known as the northeast corner of the garage) and since I hate wasting stuff, I figured I would use them up.  If they weren't strong enough to create the rich saturated colors I crave, I would just over-dye the pieces with fresh dye another day -- over-dyeing is another reason there is no bad hand-dye.

I recycle plastic lettuce boxes, among other vessels, to do my "tray-dyeing."  So I scrumpled in the fabric, dumped on the dyes, and stuck the whole thing out on the front walk to bake in the sun -- also known as batching.

This morning, when I got up to wash out the dyes, I noticed a large teal-colored stain decorating the front walk. Imagine my surprise when I picked up the container and saw that it had gotten so hot, it warped and leaked!

I posed it next to a fresh box to show the difference.

The piece on the left is the culprit.  Even with those old dyes, I got amazing, beautiful, rich color!  I will have to over-dye the purple and the pink to make them periwinkle and fuchsia for a special order; but I just have to say... I am hot!

Oh -- and that piece at the top of this post?  It was a present from the hot dyers at "...And Then We Set it on Fire"  to celebrate their topping 100 followers.  Pretty keen, huh?


Robbie said...

These are HOT! Geezzz I feel like Paris Hilton!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Great colors!
I have a big piece I need to overdye one more time while the weather is warm (no, excuse me, HOT!!!) but I hate being in the heat so bad, I'm dithering if I can do it in a tub in the garage and not have the whole place purple.....LOL!!!
Or would it be like the sidewalk...hmmmmmm....
Still LOVE that top piece! WOW!!!


Trish said...

And, as an added bonus, now you can give directions like, "it's the third house on the left. White house, with a teal sidewalk. Can't miss it."

Lynne said...

Lovely fabrics! Well done.

I will have to break out the procion dyes (next summer - right now it's too cold to be outside where I do my dyeing) and try dyeing fabric. I have been successful with yarn - wool and acrylic. As you say, some combinations work well, others not so well but it's fun and part of the learning experience.

Beth said...

WOW WOW WoW wow!!!
I think I am going to start ordering some Procion dyes and get busy, OK I have to wait for summer again... which will begin in Aug....
The "prize" piece is cool as are all your pieces!!! Keep going... you will wish you had when winter returns.

Vicki W said...

That's exactly why I stopped using lettuce containers for my dyeing! lol!

Chris Daly said...

Never too hot to dye!! Who would have thought that would happen. What a riot!