Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dyeing for it

Last week I went to a workshop on Ozecraft fabric dyes, and came home with a beginners' kit that included several pieces of rayon guipure lace and three bottles of dye. The colours I chose are Wisteria, Olive green and Cream. These images are of my first attempts at applying the dye using various techniques:I used a fine brush to handpaint the dye onto this lace motif, so there is very little bleeding of the colours (I won't say there's none, but it was my first attempt so I've forgiven myself). I used 1:4 solutions of the wisteria and green dyes but I used the cream dye undiluted to get a pale yellow colour. After the dye was applied, I zapped the piece in the microwave to heat-set the colour.
This length of fringing was first dyed with diluted cream dye, using the boiling method in the microwave. I used a solution of about 1:10 as the colour is a little stronger when you boil it. After dyeing the whole piece cream, I used a large paint brush to apply wisteria and green dye 1:4 solution to selected parts of the lace, but I just dabbed it on -- I didn't try to "stay in the lines" when colouring in the flowers, for example. After I'd finished, I realised I'd worked on the back of the lace, but when I turned it over I quite liked the broken-up effect of the dye that had seeped through to the front.
I cut this length of lace into five lengths and applied colours in various ways. The top layer had the various dye colours applied in random blobs using a large paint brush; the second layer was the last I did, and it was dyed by immersion in a mixture of the cream dye left over from the microwave method above and the green dye solution I had used for painting -- it came out a nice pale green. The remaining three layers all had the colours applied with a paint brush, all over the piece, then they were heat set in the microwave. Because they were only small pieces, it was possible to get pretty even coverage with the paintbrush and I didn't need to dilute the colours more than 1:4 so the final result is nice, strong colour.

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