dyeing at lunch a tutorial -sort of

I love cloth. I love dyeing cloth. I like screen printing, stamping, and sewing but I LOVE DYEING. I’m sort of obsessed with it. The clamping, the folding, timing a stacking to get different shades, using the least amount of water possible and my personal favorite: dyeing anywhere and everywhere. So here is my question to you.  Do you love to dye cloth too? Are you ready to try dyeing at work during your lunch hour?

Here is a how to dye during lunch tutorial.
First of all you’ve got to pack your bag in the morning or the night before. Here is what you will need:

Cloth to dye
Dye
Soda ash or washing soda
Plastic tub or bucket to dye in
Clamps, rubber bands, binder clips,

anything you can think of that will make an impression or rather a resist.
Plastic spoons
Coffee cups
Rubber gloves
Goggles or glasses
Dust mask

Maybe you already have some of this stuff at work. Great! I want to hear about anything and everything you tried to use to make a mark on your cloth –even if it didn’t work.

Get yourself an apron and find a private place to set up your dyebath (just for this first time anyway)- maybe the bathroom?

Put on your mask and fill a coffee cup about one third with water. Put in a teaspoon or two of dye and mix it until the dye dissolves, then add some more water to make about 2/3 high. Set it aside. fold, bind or clamp your fabric (you could do this ahead of time or even the night before), and place it into the bottom of one of the tubs. Pour the concentrated dye mixture right onto the dry fabric. Go ahead, do it! Swirl it around if you want. Take photos if you can, you are gonna want them later!! After 5 minutes or so dissolve about 4 or 5 Tablesoons of Soda Ash -Use twice or three times as much if using washing soda- into about half a quart of water. Pour it over the dyebath. Swirl it around or stir the pot. Now you can just leave it to do it’s thing or add another color after 15 minutes or so. Leave it for at least one hour -more is fine or even overnight if you have to- the dye will stop working after an hour at most-at least that is what I’ve heard. I notice that the color is a bit deeper  the longer I leave it.

After an hour, pour the whole thing into the sink and rinse in cold water, then hot water with synthrapol until the water runs clear. I usually rinse in cold and then throw it in a plastic bag and into a hot wash with synthrapol in my machine when I get home-2x.

Here is mine -I used sage green then I unbound it, unfolded it, refolded it, rebound it and dyed it with procion boysenberry. It will get lighter after I wash it at home. I got a lot of great markings from the binder clips.

So don’t try this if it will  get you in trouble or if you work where migrating dye could cost you your job like a fashion showroom or clothing store. But if you have an office job where people are kind of artsy, you might just start a new fad -lunchart! Don’t be surprised if everybody starts being a little nicer to each other.  oh and don’t foget this:

eat your lunch!

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8 Responses to dyeing at lunch a tutorial -sort of

  1. Sally says:

    Hi Marjie, I enjoyed reading about the process, but i haven’t tried it yet. Maybe in the new year.
    xo. Sally

  2. marjorie says:

    Reblogged this on i dye every day and commented:

    This is my absolute favorite blogpost from I dye everyday so here it is again. That was a really yumm sandwich ahhh Brooklyn

  3. Curls & Q says:

    Lovely! It looks as if you dye cotton. We have only done animal fibers which use acid dyes. Do you use only procion or are there other cotton dyes? We haven’t tie-dyed since our college days. 😎 Your work is beautiful!

    • marjorie says:

      Thanks so much! I started with cotton, linen and silk and use procion dyes and natural dyes from plants and spices. I would love to plant a dye garden. I just started using acid dyes on my silk and I love them. Also have dyed some wool/silk blends with the acid dyes and they came out lovely.

      • Curls & Q says:

        Does cotton absorb natural dyes well? It doesn’t the acid dyes. Do you use a mordant? We have cotton yarn we’d like to overdye. Have you tried lichen dye on cotton?

      • marjorie says:

        oooh lichen dye! sounds incredible!! I was in Portland recently and there was lichen everywhere! I use alum for a mordant and also vinegar. I have had good results with fresh parsley – a lovely lemon yellow, and dryed turmeric a nice golden yellow. I dyed cotton yarn once and it really soaked up the dye, but came out very light. I used procion and soda ash.

        I hope you will post about the lichen, I can’t wait to see it.

  4. marjorie says:

    No you can have it.

  5. Peter says:

    Are you going to finish that sandwich?

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