At DippyDyes, we dye a lot of solid fabric. The easiest way to do this is with a washing machine. For three-yard pieces, a table top washer is ideal. The washer does the stirring for you, because if you want solid fabrics, you must stir. A lot. And then stir some more. Up to 90 minutes for the darkest values.
From left: phone timer, washer base with timer, kitchen timer.
Here’s where three timers comes in. There’s a timer built into the washer. That runs, stirring the fabric for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes of being still, it needs to run for another five minutes. So when I start the five minutes on, five minutes off period, I set the washer at five, the kitchen timer at ten minutes and I set my phone timer for 30 minutes. The ten-minute timer reminds me to jump up and restart the washer for another five minutes. The washer does a good job of stirring AND of snarling a three yard piece into a mess, and it just doesn’t have hands. So at the 30 minute mark, it’s time to completely rearrange the fabric. Yes, there’s a little compulsiveness going on here, and thanks to that, I get good solid fabrics. If you’d like to learn more, you can sign up for my email list here: (http://eepurl.com/cHfygr) Thanks! Gotta run – my timer just beeped at me!
Monday I did something I have never done before – I ordered ten pounds of dye powders from Pro Chemical. Only eleven different colors – I got two pounds of two of the colors, and eight ounces or one pound of the rest. I’m about to embark on a solid adventure – dyeing 400 yards of fabric in about a month. Now, lest you think I’m completely out of my mind, I’m not talking about dyeing 400 different colors. To give you a little perspective, I’m starting with just twenty colors – ten yards of each. For inspiration, and to help me narrow down my choices, I went to the Robert Kaufman Kona (R) color story page, and picked summer, ’cause it’s on its way. That group is shown at right. Then I thinned that down to just the twenty colors that I’ll be dyeing. That’s my first, firm goal – 200 yards. And, as projects involving color often do, the concept has grown. Since I’m going to mix up those 20 colors, if I mix up just a little more than what I need for ten really saturated yards, I’ll be able to dye the same colors in a lighter value. So the next couple days will be spent preparing and documenting my progress – and getting some orders filled as well. Sue Reno’s project “52 Ways to Look at the River” has inspired me to track and share what I’m doing, plus it adds a degree of accountability. If I know people are watching, I’m going to have to keep at it! I hope you’ll follow along – and comment on the blog. I’m going to give something away — but I’m keeping that under my hat. #400yds30days