What a Waste?

I wasn’t raised in the depression, but my mom was. She saved bags by the hundreds and margarine tubs were stacked in cabinets. What are we going to do when this **** is over? (I’ve made a personal pledge to refrain from using the word). Possibly hoard toilet paper or save our last soft drink like we will never see one again!

Well, the habit of saving or not wasting dye has been something I started when I took a class from Yvonne Porcella. She has passed away many years ago and left a legacy that will last for centuries. We were dyeing silk and she suggested we take a scrap of wet fabric compatible with the type of dye we were using and wipe down our table.

This is much easier when the dye is suspended in water. So that is what I did! I ice dyed blues for a background for a portrait quilt. I had dye from rinsing my spoon, a little spill and a small amount of dye from the original container (if you spill powder dye always use a wet paper towel or fabric to wipe it up). Sorry I’m off track again!

I wouldn’t do this with contrasting colors on the color wheel and experience tells me to stay away from colors such as blue violet. Red and blue make purple or Violet. If you use many colors or hues you get what I call mucky muck. A brown or grey. Not fun; unless you want it.

Check out the picture below for an example of putting blue violet in the mix.

Ice Dyed! Check out the red! Beautiful but not what I wanted!

Back to the waste dye results. I put several long 5 inch wide pieces (WOF) in the cup with the leftover dye. Be sure and leave enough for the soda ash solution to set the dye. Of course, I didn’t think of it in advance.

Here is the fabric from the waste dye. The pieces at the bottom were darker than the pieces at the top! What a waste to throw the dye away!

I can’t predict what you will get using this post. For me it’s a spontaneous. The results are unpredictable to some extent.

If you have never dyed fabric, I hope you can in the future. Always take safety precautions. I wrote a blog post on Safety as well. One of my first. I always say, put safety first!


Dyeing Safety- March 12, 2019

I had friend of a friend texting me about dyeing pants. After texting her, I realized that the majority of the conversation was about dye safety. Here is the advise I gave her: ALWAYS wear rubber gloves when you are dyeing. Rubber gloves should be put on even before you open the jar of dye. NEVER dye in your kitchen or where food will be stored or served. If you use something from the kitchen, it should never be used in the kitchen again. I use recycled plastic cups, spoons, buckets, measuring spoons and cups. I keep them in the garage. They are used for dyes only. I take buckets of water outside before I start to dye, to rinse these items before they are put away. After your dye process each jar of dye needs to be wiped with a wet paper towel. The reason being when the moisture or water drys it leaves a powder or tiny little particles that get on your hands later. You don’t want dye power showing up on your hands. When an accident happens, I use this:

This leads to a discussion on adding dyes to urea. The urea softens the water. Its usually needed for colors like black, red, fuchsia. Its best to mix urea in water before you add the dye. Never add dye to a dry surface.

ALWAYS add powder to a wet surface. Prepare your solutions with warm water ahead of time in cups. I use the cups over and over after they are cleaned. If the cups crack, they need to be thrown away. I always use a respirator mask while I dye fabric. In the past, I have used a small mask to protect my face. They are similar to ones doctors and nurses wear. It protects my mouth and nose from aspirating the dye particles. I wear glasses as well. I need them to see, but they are also protecting my eyes. I’ve bought my masks from Amazon and replace the filters on the respirator. I also, buy fabric and dyes from Dharma and Pro Chem. I’m sure they sell the masks as well. Here are the masks:

These are called comfort masks.
Here is the mask I found on Amazon. It has replacement filters.

After dyeing, gloves, containers, buckets, spoons, washing machine drum (yes, that too, I don’t use a front loading washing machine), jars and fabric all need to be washed with the gloves on. If you take the fabric from a bucket after adding water and soda ash, the gloves need to be on your hands. I wash the fabric twice sometimes three time in hot water.

I know this sounds a little preachy or maybe a lot of preaching to some of my readers. It’s a serious discussion. Why do I dye fabric? It’s a lot of work. Work reaps rewards. I enjoy seeing the fabrics; when they come out of the dryer. My usual response is: “this batch is not as pretty as the last.” But as I press them with a hot steam iron. I notice their beauty. So, let’s end with : It’s better to be safe than sorry.

This is a work in progress. It was done with my dyed, and painted fabric. Its not laying flat, but it will quilt out. This is a design by “bee creative.” I’m not able to find her with her website or by phone listed on the pattern to give her credit.