Ice Dyeing: Last Night’s Batch Turned Out Like This…

IMG_7502

NICE!

So why are there no white spots, even though these were more tightly crammed in than the previous batch? I may have soaked these more than the other ones… so maybe the white on the previous set were dry parts in the center of some folds? Not 100% there…

Here is the thing- LOOK at the color variability within the batch though!

Here is how one of the first two scarves I was struggling with turned out:

IMG_7501

Meh. It’ll do. But compared to the color on the left…

So those scarves were 40% synthetic and 60% cotton… JUST like the ratios on the pashmina’s I did in the same dye batch. Can you imagine if I had just decided I couldn’t figure this out and thrown up my hands because of those things? Because here is how the pashmina’s turned out:

IMG_7500.jpg

From left to right: 80% cotton scarf, 100% cotton bandana, 40% acrylic/60% cotton pashmina, and the original scarf I was playing around with, also 40% acrylic/60% cotton.

Check OUT that color variability from the same dye batch.

So if at first you don’t succeed… try a different fabric!

As to the color: funny how when I was a kid purple was my favorite color but it doesn’t do ANYTHING for me these days… I like the previous set better, but I’m also not a huge fan of turquoise. Blasphemy, I know! But it’s not about what I like best… it’s having a nice range of choices at the craft fair and using all the dye in my collection. I do think they turned out purdy though.

 

IT WORKED! Ice Dying

IMG_7493.jpg

IT WORKED!!!! KINDA!

So how about them apples?

So my 24 hour experiment in ice dying with the use of soda ash… rousing success. Aside from the unpredictable nature of the dye itself that is. Let’s be clear- those colors SHOULD have been true blue, black, olive green, and yellow. And we ended up with torquoise, brown, black, pink, a few yellows, and on the 4th one (not pictured, but a gauzier fabric so was already dry and was pulled off the rack at the time of the picture) spots of neon orange.

IMG_7496

The products, even the cocktail salt, are all ordered on Amazon. I can do without a salted rim most of the time but I’ll have to save some for Chiltons. Normal table salt is fine and cheaper, I just ran out

But lord above, I think this whole thing might work out after all. Interestingly, even though all of these fabrics are synthetic and blends, it’s the natural fiber dye that’s working best. And, of course, most of the dye in the stash is iDye Poly instead of just the iDye powder. Sigh.

So here are the steps that led me to this last go round. Make sure your fabric is prewashed. I just tossed all the scarves and bandanas in the washer and washed with regular detergent.

Step One: Brain Folds

IMG_7489

Brains!!!

So I watched a video of a dyer who said the more folds in the fabric the more interesting the ice dying comes out. She said she tries to aim for a brain folds look, which seemed easy enough to emulate. The edges of that ol’ garage sale dish drainer have large holes on the corners so I prop it up with some scrap pieces of 4x4s from when we installed the fence extension. I’m a LITTLE concerned I put too many scarves in this batch and the whole thing might be too tight for the dye to work down… Only one way to find out.

Step Two: Saturate

IMG_7490.jpg

Action Shot

So I totally soaked it with water. Some people get the scarves wet before the folding into place stage, but this seems easier to me. Also, maybe some dry spots will be more interesting. And this keeps me from getting soaking wet myself.

Step 3: Sprinkle with soda ash and salt. More than you’d salt food for both  by about 4 times, but no clumps.

Step 4: Sprinkle on dye powder over surface. Particular colors in spots, some overlapping, but not to much- you don’t want muddy colors. So I hear.

Step 5: Sprinkle on more soda ash and salt. I also poured on the dye activator liquid, which as far as I can tell hasn’t done anything yet, but I might as well use it.

IMG_7491

Im using way more dye powder these days than I was before watching other people do it on tutorials.

Step 6: Top with ice, evenly cover surface with about an inch or so depth.

IMG_7494

Collaborate and listen

Step 7: Wait 24 hours.

Tonights batch (the pictures used in the steps above) are Black (was in the natural fiber dye sleeve, but I may have mixed up the bags to sleeves.. or the black from the experiment yesterday was poly dye… I don’t even know anymore.) Poly purple, all the rest of the poly turquoise that has come out denim blue in the past, and a few dots of the brilliant blue natural fiber dye that turned out turquoise yesterday. I went heavier with the black and purple.

Yesterday I only did four scarves, tonight I went with six and two bandanas, but three were gauzy scarves, including the first two I was experimenting on. The poor ugly ducklings are pretty stiff with salt at this point. Fingers crossed for some swans out of those two on the third try.

Now we wait and see. This part kills me…

Mice Flying and the Pardon

Just kidding, it’s another post about ice dying and the garden.

So… after the debacle of the last 2 scarves… THIRTY pashminas and scarves and then 20 handkerchiefs showed up… creating a bit of uneasiness on the order of WELL WHAT THE HELL AM I GONNA DO NOW?!

So… first step. Test every scarf with both dye types to see what takes. I chose, since they were open, the black dye for natural fabrics and the turquoise for synthetics. We know the turquoise dye takes like a denim-y blue, so both of those could work with just about anything I subsequently dye with. You see how well reasoned that was? Let’s see how that turned out.

img_7467.jpg

So of course the black dye took as red… because why wouldn’t it really?

IMG_7474

But also black… in spots. But red, also red!

But can we all agree the dye took WAY better this time! Like… I can work with that color depth. So I did two things different this time, I used a ton more salt, and also sprinkled soda ash as well. Now, soda ash is SUPPOSED to be mixed in water and the fabric dipped in it before dying… but since it has a warning that it might be FATAL if F-ing swallowed I went ahead and just sprinkled it on the wet scarves (I prewetted them), sprinkled dye over the top, then salted the whole thing, and then added the ice. I will then throw the fatal powder away or give it to the crafty neighbor without kids because that bottle makes me nervous. Please let this shit work out, because I’m already annoyed with the unpredictability of the dyes. Also, I left this trial run sitting overnight instead of just 2 hours. Which… we all knew that needed to happen too.

So now I have 4 scarves out for a second treatment, with brilliant blue (looks purple) olive green (looks pucey) and yellow (looks like brown mustard) so God help me as to what this will look like… they’ll be out there for 24 hours if I can keep my twitchy hands off them.

The garden is burning up in the Texas July… and the woodpeckers have found the big tomatoes. So… it looks like this:

IMG_7472

Bobcat I think is done, HM 1823 is close, and Sungold and Sweet 100 are still going strong

IMG_7470

Seriously this thing. It’s the Leaning Tower of Pizza-Toppings these days, at least 10′ and growing

The Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes seems to be out producing the Sungold right now, or it may be that the Sungold is easier for the toddler and birds to pick off. While the woodpecker eats the large tomatoes, the mockingbirds keep a pretty steady stream in and out of the sun gold for cherry tomatoes. It’s okay… there are enough to share.

 

Ice Dyed Scarves… aka Arts & Crap

We live in a sweet, sweet neighborhood. Old homes, old trees, and mostly old(er) retired residents. We’re like the adopted pets on our street: young (ish) parents and three young kids. On top of the fact that we have plenty of watchful eyes overlooking the girls as they play outside (in a benevolent way of course) or ride to school, they’re also all quite cool. There is the potter down the street, the retired female electrical engineer who sews and reworks antiques, the retired airplane trainers (couple) who sew and paint and cook, there are authors and gardeners… you name it. They’re also all really indulgent with the 9 year old for her flower selling business- I’m SURE you can picture how well that goes down around here! She has to alternate where she starts because she sells out before she can get to even four houses EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

And a couple of times a year we have neighborhood parties. A year ago at a party we all realized there are a lot of artists and crafts folks around, so we decided to have a craft show before Christmas, with a pre-sale invite only wine party the night before. I didn’t have anything, but helped the older girls with their wildflower seeds and acorn crafts. (pom poms glued in acorn caps and made into Christmas ornaments and garlands) They, of course, cleaned up.

We all had so much fun, and honestly it was a really successful show. We’re going to do it again this year… and I’m INTENT on participating this time.

But what to make? I was going to paint… but the second I do it for profit my talent shrivels up into a wadded up ball in the corner… so that’s out. So this year I’m trying scarves. I have a complete and total scarf addiction, so I figured if I did what I loved I couldn’t really go wrong. Sell a craft you’re a total novice at? Why the hell not! Now, I really am not a fan of tie dye, but the process of dying stuff intrigued me, so i tried ice dying.

IMG_7341.jpg

Shot of the finished product!

Or… kinda. So the ACTUAL technique for ice dying is you completely cover the fabric with ice or snow, sprinkle dry dye powder on top, and as it melts it pulls the dye into the fabric. The way I did it is a hybrid of ice dying and speckle dying. (dusting dye powder straight onto fabric.)

First I washed the two polyester/cotton blend scarves I bought on Amazon with dishsoap and rinsed them out well. I wrung them out so they were wet but not sopping.

Second I put them in an old dish rack placed on top of a large piece of cardboard on the grass at the back of the yard. I then sprinkled the scarves with dry powder. A little goes a LONG way.

IMG_7345.jpg

These are the dyes I used- note only the blue was actually for poly fabrics… this was a test

Then I sprinkled some rock salt (supposed to help fix the dye) and some sodium alginate in spots. The sodium alginate is food grade (makes those gel like balls of liquid) and I’d read it can make more concentrated colors when dying)

IMG_7343.jpg

Appetite Suppressant? What the hell

On top of all of it all I then dotted around some ice because we didn’t have a ton and the dye onto the wet scarf was kinda making a cool pattern without it.

IMG_7338.jpg

Super high tech, as you can see

I then resolved to let it sit out there all day… which means of course that I rinsed it out after 2 hours of waiting that almost killed me.

IMG_7342

I am super thrilled with the results! There will be no soccer for a while, methinks

So… how’d it work out? So the ONLY places the tan and black dye took on the scarves is where there was a concentration of salt- so that’s good to know. I’m not sure what percentage cotton to polyester the scarves are, but the black and tan dyes are not supposed to work at all on poly fabrics, so good to know I can hedge my bets there. And weirdly they are a really denim-y blue… even though the poly dye was supposed to be turquoise.

The sodium alginate gelling agent didn’t work AT ALL, and took some light scrubbing to wash off… but when I did get it off it took all the dye with it. I’ll try it again on a cotton or silk scarf, but I’m not holding my breathe on that one.

So, after my initial success I bought 30 scarves for $0.99 each on Thredup clearance with an extra 4th of July coupon… so $0.80 each and $5.95 shipping. And bought another $25 worth of poly dye. Since I’m buying so many scarves second hand I won’t know fiber content, so I’ll do like I did this time and go heavy on the salt and use both kinds of dye every time. And then I bough like 20 cotton bandanas on Ebay… lord help me to sell more than 1 of these things at the show…

I’ll need some more dish racks as well. I COULD just do it on the grass, but I don’t want them sitting in a puddle of dye, I want that more marblesque effect so the dye needs to drain off freely. I’ll hit up some thrift stores for those.

And I should really break down the cost here:

$57 on 12 packs of dye (natural and poly, various colors)

$16 on 2 poly blend scarves from Amazon

$20 20 cotton bandanas from Ebay

$30 for 30 scarves (similar to ones from Amazon and pashminas, about half and half)

Salt, had on hand

Dish drainer- given to me free from the neighbor at her garage sale- I would have paid the marked price of a quarter for it though…

$8 for worthless Sodium Alginate. Nothing ventured, nothing…

So… that’s $131 when i’m supposed to be saving money. Takes money to make money though… right? That’s the ticket.