Feb 21 07

Dreaming of Warmer Days

Yesterday, we drove back to OH from North Carolina where we filmed the footage for the next DVD. It was colder than normal there, but nothing compared to the cold and snow that awaited us here in NW Ohio! There is probably close to a foot of snow outside the kitchen door and a huge ice slick all along the side of the driveway. Oh…I am SO NOT a winter person!

This all makes me daydream about “the good old days,” or days when the sun would shine and you could feel the warmth of the sun on your back. For me, these are perfect days for dyeing fabrics and threads outside. Thinking about this reminds me that I wanted to post about a product I tried last fall that worked really well to make my dyeing time more efficient. The picture below illustrates how I generally like to dye:


I usually dye-paint my pieces and have them lay out in the sun on these “dye platters” I made out of pieces of hardboard that I covered w/contact paper. This makes them waterproof so you can keep re-using them and they clean up very easily afterward. Anyways, I just keep doing this and working my way further down the driveway with these platters and once a piece dries all the way, I fold it up to be washed along with the others at the end, then clean off my platter, and begin dyeing a new series of fabric pieces. This goes very smoothly but I came up with a way to be doing another series of dyeing large pieces of fabric AT THE VERY SAME TIME!!! The secret is called…(drumroll please!)…



You can see from the picture on the box that this is a lightweight plastic portable washing machine for small loads. This next picture is the real thing itself:


What I did was that I placed 2 yards of fabric in the wonder washer w/6 cups of dye. It has a timer to agitate the fabric/dye mix for up to 15 minutes and every 15 minutes, I’d just restart the timer for 15 minutes. I only dyed each 2 yard piece for 1 hour and I suspect that the colors would have been even better if I’d gone for the full 2 hours, but I was happy with the results I got. Someone told me that they had dyed up to 4 yards of fabric at a time in the wonder washer, but I’m guessing that you’d have to add a lot more dye. Once my 1 hour cycle was up, I’d gently ring out the fabric over the wonder washer basin and then lay the 2 yards out on the driveway to bake in the sun. I would pour all the leftover dye, (MANY cups) into my plastic squeeze bottles and then use it in my dye painting that I was doing simultaneously with my platters. What a way to get lots of fabric dyed all at the same time! Below is a pic of one of the pieces of fabric from the wonder washer:


You can see that it’s not truly a solid and I suspect that if I’d put an even larger piece of fabric in there, I would have ended up with even more mottling. For me, this is great because I’m not using many true solid colors anymore. If you want to get one yourself, mine cost me $49.95 and I ordered it online. I think I got it from Carol Wright but if you google “wonder washer,” you’ll get a bunch of places that sell it. Good luck!

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