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Discharge Samples

Just received fabrics from Robert Kaufman. The photo shows four fabrics, labelled by maker and fabric type. All were tied the same way and were discharged in a hot (but not boiling) Thiox bath for varying amounts of time. The Radiance (cotton-silk blend) is pinned back to show both faces of the fabric. The Panda is a cotton-bamboo blend. I sponge-painted a large piece of it (50+” square) with Thiox in print paste, and washed it out in the sink. It has a lovely softness, and I understand will get softer with more washing.

I have these fabrics on my website in both black and PFD white, except the Blank black, which is available from my local shop, Quilter’s Remedy. See the links at right to go to the DippyDyes site or to their site. Robert Kaufman wants purchases of $1500 per year for me to keep getting wholesale prices, so if I can sell some yardage to other dyers, it will help – thanks.

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First quilt show as a vendor

Just got back from my first fabric-selling show (at a quilt show) and am pleased with the results. It was a small local show, and on top of that had changed its date and location. Sales were reasonable, though I can’t really compare to anything, but as someone wrote, hand-dyes are a niche of a niche of a niche. But I had quilt guild members ask if I wanted to be a vendor at their upcoming show, and if I wanted to speak to their guild. And I had an inquiry from a teacher who has a couple high school seniors who want to do tie-dyed shirts as a fundraiser for their senior project. I said I could teach them. I also need to impress on them the business aspects of dyeing.

People who weren’t scared off immediately by the prices said they liked my work, which was very gratifying! Even more rewarding was my first customer, who accounted for 40% of my sales! She was very excited, and so was I! Here’s a picture of part of my booth.

To give credit where credit is due, thanks to the Variable Star Quilters for letting me be a vendor; to my sister who used to do tie-dye with me in the 60s’; to Carol Soderlund for her wonderful instruction and inspiration; and to my husband for putting up with all this colorfulness!

Now back to real life: paying bills, getting the DippyDyes website whipped into shape, and doing all the paperwork generated from the show while I still remember what my notes mean.

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Taking the time to continue discharge studies

Well, one hope I had for Carol’s class is that it would help serve as a means to get me re-motivated, energised, etc. It has succeeded in doing that! Yesterday I fired up the hot plate and Thiox and Clorox solutions (outside) and tested a rainbow assortment of fabrics I dyed the day before, plus a commercial batik that had produced good results in class. (That’s on the left in the picture.) We tested pure MX dyes in class, so now I’m starting to build a reference of discharged simple mixes. Someday with my free time (!) I’ll get through the simple mixes and mess about with three primaries.

Looking at the amount of time involved in one simple page of swatches has made me decide to sign up for Color Mixing for Dyers. There are some spots left in the fall, and I’m calling dibs on one of them! That and a check in the mail might get me somewhere. Now I just need the cost/benefit analysis to persuade DH.

One thing I learned this week is that a warm solution of new chlorine bleach is far, far superior to the old, cold mix I made up. Got around it, but add that to the long, long “learn by doing wrong” list.

Well, it’s 11:30 and time to quit for tonight. One more week of the under-paying, gas-drinking job and I’ll be focusing on dyeing and quilting! If that’s not scary, I don’t know what is.

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Back to reality

10:30 PM Monday, 5/12/2008
Back to reality again. I have, however, managed to unpack, launder and iron the pieces that came home with me. The final two days were full of work, including cleaning up the studios and packing, as well as the real work for our final project. I did not post anything on this on Thursday night because I was taping my first Thermofax screens with Gorilla brand tape. It’s a really neat technology that may have spoiled me against silk screening.
Here’s a picture of the 12 squares I dyed, two at a time,
using the same recipe from Carol but changing the primaries for each. I used three different yellows, four reds and four blues. I only made twelve samples, which is only a third of the possibilities. One set was saved as a control, and the other set was discharged, using either Thiox in print past, Thiox by immersion, or immersion in chlorine bleach. A couple were left in the discharge solution too long, and one lost the rubber band resist, but they are a good example of the differing results attainable. I did not do any screens with thickened bleach – something to try in the future. To the right is a fabric I machine stitched, discharged and overdyed while the stitching was still in place. This is a picture of the stitched fabric before gathering, discharging and dyeing.
Also still to try: wrapping fabric around a thick piece of rope and tying it tightly, and also illumination – replacing one color with another by discharging the fabric with Thiox containing a color that doesn’t discharge. One fellow student tried this, but was working on top of a color that wouldn’t discharge. However, the replacement color seems to sit on top of the original color without the transparency you’d expect. This is a blue on top of a yellow that did not yield a green. Very interesting, and could be hard to re-create.
Friday night most of our group went out to dinner together to a very nice Italian restaurant (Scali’s) near the hotels. That’s definitely a place to return to! Didn’t return to the room until almost 11, I think, so there was not going to be any posting done then. Got almost completely packed and managed to sleep in, relatively speaking, until 7:30. Then off to the airport to drop off my commute-mate and fellow student in time for her flight to the west coast, and I was on the road home before 10 AM. The return trip was harder, because I was more tired than I was coming out, but I got home in one piece. The greatest pain involved was refueling my truck after 430+ miles, for a mere $101.27! Yikes!!!
Thanks all, for looking. If you were in the class and I have posted any pictures I should not have, please let me know – you have my e-mail from the attendee list.

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Day three – final project looms

11:15 PM Wednesday May 7
Will be very brief tonight! We did a display of all our discharged and overdyed fabrics this evening:
Our homework is to start thinking about a final project that will incorporate the various techniques we have learned over the past three days – dyeing, resists and discharge methods – into one piece of cloth or a series of pieces. We will also start building our sample pages with the untouched dye, bleached fabric and thioxed fabric. We touched on illumination – simultaneously discharging one color while applying another. Way cool!
I also got to use my first Thermofax screen, and have two more to tape up. (Gorilla tape is awesome.)
That’s it for tonight. I do have a large sketchpad page of ideas for the final project that I hope will be achievable. Looks like the beginning of a series to me.

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A second lovely day at the Crow Art Barn

10:30 PM
Another late evening, but well worth it. This will be brief, however, because I have homework to do before bed.
Today we saw some examples of bound, discharged and overdyed fabrics, and proceeded to make our own attempts. By the end of the day we had variously clamped and rubber-banded 18” – 21” squares of black fabrics, soaked them in bleach solution, rinsed and antichlored them. Then they went into the washing machine still clamped. When they came out, two of mine had come apart because I used some old elastic on a spool that didn’t hold up to the wash cycle. They were rebound, and then, after letting them dry a bit, we applied dye followed by soda ash. They are batching overnight, so more in tomorrow’s post.
I also tried discharging a black tee shirt from Michael’s. After a long time in the chlorine bath, it appeared to be just black and charcoal, and wasn’t worth overdyeing. So it went into the washer and dryer with the towels, and here’s how it looked after a good washing out. (Excuse the squint!)
We also discharged the fabric we had put potato dextrin on yesterday. There’s a good view of an assortment of pieces hanging on the line, and also a look down from the deck onto our work area.
We ended the evening with a PowerPoint presentation on what many top artists are doing or have done recently with discharge. Wow! When I don’t have homework to do, I will have to surf to their websites and post a list with links to their sites.
Goodnight for now!

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Day 1 of class

Well, I don’t know how people can produce such great blogs. I’m determined to keep up on this, but I’m not sure if it will be interesting! Today was the first day of the ‘Dyeing to Discharge’ class with Carol Soderlund, and it was quite interesting. Some things we did were driven by the availability of good weather – we’re supposed to have rain later in the week, so we’re taking advantage of the outdoors where possible.
Today we did some very basic dyeing with Procion MX dyes – all single pure colors on cotton and silk, and made pieces big enough so all of us could have a sample of the un-discharged control, and the end result using one or two methods of discharge. We also brought in commercial blacks and batiks on a variety of fibers, and discharged them with the same methods, leaving one piece for a control. Carol gave us great instructions for small scale immersion dyeing and discharging using both Thiox and bleach.

Our last task was to make up batches of potato dextrin resist. Then, while it cooled, we went upstairs for another wonderful dinner by Margaret Wolf. I have refrained from licking the plates, but it’s a tough struggle. After dinner and conversation, we went downstairs for a lesson in applying the resist. Of course, I jumped the gun, and had potato starch soaking into my fabric a while. It may be ‘spud crud’ when it’s all done, but I did learn to pay attention. Of course the glass of wine with dinner had nothing to do with it!
That’s it for tonight – images include hanging samples on the line on a beautiful spring day, and my larger pieces with the potato dextrin applied. Tomorrow – dried dextrin and post discharge pictures, and my first foray into Thermofax screens. We’ll have a little more classroom time when it rains.
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Coming to Columbus

All the supplies are loaded in the truck waiting to be delivered to the barn late this afternoon. I’m glad to be driving a truck; here’s a picture of what it’s carrying:


These include tubs of fabric and tools, quart mason jars with lids, 5 gallon buckets, and paint roller, iron, ‘Big Board’, sewing machine, desk lamp, floor lamp (not shown), camera & accessories, power strips, rotary cutter, rulers and mat and note-taking materials and sketchbooks. This all was loaded on Saturday morning; arrived at the hotel about 6:30.

The hotel (Best Western) is nice – it has all executive suites, so there’s a kitchenette and sitting room. Breakfast is OK – 4 or 5 hot choices plus the usual suspects.

Nearby is Pickerington Ponds Wildlife Refuge. Great place to walk and birdwatch. Among other things, they have a viewing deck with a spotting scope trained on an Osprey nest. I saw a chick in the nest, and was lucky enough to see a parent swoop in for a landing. This is a decent view of the nesting stand – you had to use binoculars or the spotting scope to get a good look.

I also found an oriole nest from last year on the ground, and got to see a yellow warbler. This is stuff I like – tonight we get together at Nancy Crow’s. More then.

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Starving artist is starting to sound good . . .

Well, there have been no posts here for a month, due to the three week job interlude.

Yep, I made it three whole weeks – a new personal best, er, worst. You name it, it went wrong. So, now I am thinking of re-thinking the whole thing, which is just putting major stress on DH. However, I think he was more stressed in those three weeks than I was, so he might not think it’s so bad.

First, though, have to dye up some spring colors and get them into the two shops that have my fabrics on consignment. Then try another two local shops, but that won’t happen until after vacation. Signed up last August for the Elly Sienkiewicz applique academy, which begins in 1 week!!!!! Then back to reality plus charge card bills.

As a result of travel plans and job changes, I’ve been cooking. The last time I cut up leeks, I thought “how neat;” this time I got a photo:
Sorry, it looks a little dingy, but the colors and textures are neat. Now to translate them into fabric.

Have also had GOOD results using the double needle with machine quilting thread at long stitch length for gathering. Beats hand stitching, and, either way they get stitched I love pulling them apart again. The one good sample I have I overdyed — Black, which is a tribute to the job that didn’t last. Well, I’ll make another better one!

That’s it for tonight – thanks for looking!

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Thanks for the surprise Karren


Decided to try discharge on turquoise Procion MX. Got this piece dyed yesterday and today I folded it and stitched circles in it following the directions in Karren Brito’s Shibori book. Then I immersed it in 50% bleach solution – the bathroom exhaust fan and Darth Vader mask in use. Left it in a relatively long time – probably 10 minutes. Anyway, there was a general lightening, I think, but where the cotton quilting thread was left the bleach soaked in a lot. So, even though this looks like white fabric that was stitched and then dyed, it was largely turquoise that was bleached. Very fine detail – the circles are 4″ if I remember the template size correctly.

Now I just have to figure out what next. With the detail, I suspect beads will figure into it, or the next one, somehow.