The Happy Pigment

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Rainbows and Diamonds

I enjoy rainbows as much as the next person. They are stunningly beautiful in nature, whimsical even. But I don’t like over doing the rainbow theme when I’m dyeing things. That said, I have been doing some rainbows spiral dyes lately. It’s an irresistible pattern for baby clothes and blankets. Which even though my baby doesn’t need anymore I still love doing them.

diamond-rainbow

I recently ordered a pair of haemostats with my last lot of dyes, just to see how they would work when folding spirals. Muslin is such a soft and pliable fabric, and I didn’t take that into account when I was using the haemostats. They didn’t wreck the fabric but rather altered the design slightly. And thats where the diamond comes into the story. Because of the shape of the haemostats ¬†point, the usually circular spiral turned out more like a diamond which I actually really enjoyed!

One of my favourite methods of dyeing is ice dyeing, aka snow dyeing. I don’t know much about the history of it, thats probably something I should look into! But I do know there are a few different ways to do it and each way yields a different result. The way I choose to do spirals is to apply the dye powder directly to the fabric. I use a soft dry paint brush to apply the dye powder. Its really important to note that when ice dyeing you should always where gloves and a dust mask! These dyes are hard to get off skin and the powder is so fine that it’s just too easy to inhale it.

spiral-ice-dye-stage-1

Because this was a smaller piece I was able to use rubber bands to hold it all together. On a larger piece I would use sinew as rubber bands will just bend it instead of keeping it flat. I also use the rubber bands or sinew to mark out the sections when doing a spiral, it just makes it easier for someone like me who is not usually very visually or mathematically minded. As usual I soak all items in soda ash (sodium carbonate) which I buy in crystal form from the supermarket to fix the dye. I use Procion Mx fibre reactive dyes for all my dyeing. The colours that I used in this one were Chinese red, daffodil, mermaids dream, cerulean blue and grape. After the dry dye is applied then it is covered with ice.

spiral-ice-dye-stage-2

I get 4kg bags of ice from our local service station or supermarket for around $1 a kg. Using more or less ice will also yield different results. After it’s covered with ice it’s left to melt and once the ice is all melted it’s left to kind of cure for a minimum of 6hrs or preferably overnight. I most often do all my dyeing at night after the kids have gone to bed then I rinse them out sometime in the morning. That way there are no interruptions and for safety sake I don’t like have the kids close by. J who is 7 can watch if he’s wearing a dust mask.

spiral-ice-dye-stage-3

After the item, in this case muslin wrap has been left to cure it’s time to rinse it out. Starting with cold water I rinse with the rubber bands or sinew still in place and as more of the dye particles come away I make the water warmer and remove the bands. The warmer water help to remove any of the dye particles that haven’t bonded to the fibres. Once the water runs clear the item can be washed on a warm machine wash. I use a gentle spin cycle just incase. And the result is …..

small-rainbow-spiral

Amazing!

Until next time,

Always Love xx