Thursday, May 28, 2009

More on RIT-dyed batting

I ran out of batting scraps, believe it or not, and then remembered I had some in the attic.  It was the real cheap stuff, from Jo-Ann's, that I bought back when I first started quilting and didn't know any better.  The photo doesn't do it justice, but actually I love how it turned out.  It looks very nubbly and worn, like something from the bottom of the sea.  Plus, the colors are brilliant.  Really, I wish you could see it in person, because it just isn't the same in the photos.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Too busy today to work on my dyed batting project, so instead I'm sharing the eye candy I get from my kitchen window....

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dyeing Batting using RIT dyes

After reading Judy Coates Perez's article in Quilting Arts Magazine (Dec/Jan 2009), I decided to try dyeing batting with RIT dyes.  Like most quilters, I have scads of batting scraps lying around. What really got my attention, though, was the potential of using batting for needle felting.  My expectations were low, having used RIT dyes once before to dye a costume for one of my kids (no photos of THAT disaster, lol).... but I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of color I got using the low water immersion technique Judy outlined in her article. 

One caveat:  Given that one package of powder only dyes about 1/2 yard of batting, this is probably not the most cost efficient way to dye -- although it is certainly easy and fast.  I tried to dye some fusible interfacing, too, but the kind I had on hand must have had too much polyester content and not enough nylon, because it came out very pale and boring.  

I am in the process of making a really cool project, and will post pictures when I am a bit further along.  This is so much fun!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Follow-up on Peruvian Dyes for wool roving

Here is where I bought the dyes I used today -- at the market in Urubamba, Peru.  I only wish I had gotten more, because they work beautifully.  I am so happy with the results.

The only strange thing is that my fingernails now look like they have green polish!  I used gloves, of course, and my fingers themselves show no discoloration, but my nails have gone from a pale pink polish to green.  There weren't any holes in the gloves, either.  Weird.

Dying wool roving with Peruvian dyes

Dying wool roving was something I've wanted to try, since I just got a new needle felting machine for Mothers Day. I visited Peru last Christmas and bought some dyes in a market, and thought this would be a great time to experiment with them.

It was so easy! Here's what I did:
  • I used a pound of merino wool that I ordered online from Alpaca Direct, and cut it into 1 oz. lengths (somehow, I must have gotten the measurements a little wrong, since I ended up with 18 "1 oz." sections from a 16 oz. ball of wool.....).
  • For the mordant, I soaked the wool in a 10% alum solution. A small jar of alum from the grocery store was 1.9 oz..... close enough to the weight of the wool that I was dying, so I emptied the jar into a bucket of warm water and soaked my 1 oz. bundles for an hour.
  • For each 1 oz. bundle, I put 2/32 of a tsp. dye into a jar, and then added 1/2 c. warm water and a scant 1/4 c. white vinegar, plus the wool. I stirred it around with a chopstick, then placed 6 jars at a time into a baking tin filled about half way with water (like a bain marie), and put it into a 275 degree oven for 45 minutes.