Feb 24 08

At Long Last…A New Post!

Man, my life has been a crazy whirlwind of late! I have had commitments from early am to late at night everyday for the past 10 days, and I am ready to slow down! It has all been fun but there has been no time to post, so hence, the posting “drought!” I spent Fri and Saturday teaching at a lovely store called “The Sewing Bee” in Jonesborough, TN-great group of women and we had a lot of fun! I drove back here late yesterday afternoon and made 2 gallons of French onion soup and then jumped into my dyeing clothes! I have had several bottles of 5 month old mixed-up dyes in the refrigerator and they have been burning a hole in my heart as I didn’t want to waste them but couldn’t seem to find the time to dye. Well, I was taking a real chance here-working with old dyes who wouldn’t give me as vibrant of colors, and also working in a COLD garage-bottom line, the odds were against me as far as getting some great colors. I started out dyeing silks in tubs, as below. Most of the tubs were 2 different colors that were blended as they hit the silk:


I figured I’d better do something to better my chances for getting a rich color, so each tub was microwaved for 2 minutes after I finished with the color blending:


(I was just flying by the seat of my pants on that cooking time-but it seems to have worked! Also, if you do this, use a microwave that will NEVER be used for cooking food). Here’s a bunch of them batching:


…and here’s the other batch:


I was feeling pretty “juiced up” to be dyeing again, so I thought I’d try a couple of large pieces of cotton sateen dyed in my preferred method, (i.e.spread out on a dyeing platter). Here’s a shot of how this works:


I spread out my damp fabric and squirt dyes onto it, (see the bottles on the side?), and then smoosh the dyes around with my gloved hands. Sometimes I’m lucky and get a lot of these giant
blister” like things:


If you get those, LEAVE THEM because you’ll get some really cool puddles of color when it’s done! Sometimes I really work the fabric/dye to blend them, and in other places, I just let it bleed:


I had 3 of these lay out with a fan blowing; they did NOT get any heat, and turquoise is always a tough color for me to get down, so the color on these wasn’t as vibrant but I am still quite happy with the outcome and will use them. Here’s a sample:


I haven’t had much time to quilt anything worth showing, but here’s a new experimental quilt I’ve just started quilting. This is a top I bought on ebay and am just playing around with quilting designs. You may recognize this background fill design from my last post:


And here are 2 links to blogs I think you might enjoy…the first is a fascinating tutorial on fabric painting. Marjie does a great job explaining her steps and creates a beautiful painting along the way; see her blog at http://marjiesdyestudio.blogspot.com/. I found the other blog by reading the Pickle Road blog. If you want to see some of the most incredible free motion machine quilting, check out http://allenquilts.wordpress.com/. This is really mouth-watering stuff, so keep scrolling back!!


  1. Sally Bramald Says:

    So glad you are back with us.
    Dyeing in a cold place in winter? I love dyeing but I like to be warm….
    The fabrics look great. I have a dedicated microwave too, I tend to cover my fabrics when they are being blasted with either cling film or a lid resting on top. This tends to help it not overcooking the fabric if the bits on top get dry.
    I like your ‘squirt’ bottles they look more controlled than the used washing up liquid bottles I resort to.

  2. Randi Says:

    Patsy, I love what you are doing with that top! Thank you so much for your kind comments on my quilting. I really appreciate it.

  3. Liz Says:

    Your fabric looks scrumptious! I rarely dye fabric myself, but those pictures might get me started!

  4. Ana Says:

    Hi Patsy,

    Yours instructions were great, so here I am. The fabrics are great. I will have a go at Microwaving my next dye batch. Tomorrow I am having a dye day with someone I never met before, but she kindly invited me for a dye day to show me how she dyes… I have to get there first and that is always worrying.

  5. Heather Says:

    Would love to actually hear more about your method of dyeing fabric. Maybe step by steps? What you use to dye with, and how each step is done.
    I have always thought I wanted to give it a try, but not sure how to start or what I would be doing.

  6. Rie Says:

    I am living in Brits in the North West Province of South Africa. I am resigning this year from the teaching profession.
    I love being creative and I am so interested in the art of dying. I Google and came upon your blog. Is there a step by step method that I can use? I am not sure what type of dyes to use say on sjiffon and the again on stretch Tshirt fabric?
    kind regards