I’m down to the details of finishing my studio and I am looking forward to more creative time and less shopping, installing, returning and measuring time. One important addition was my “tracking” board, a 3′ x 4′ magnetic dry erase board.
I wanted a 4′ x 6′ board but they were enormously expensive. I learned that all dry erase boards are not equal and the reason you have “ghosting” on your dry erase is because of its quality-who knew? This one is magnetic and just high enough quality to not ghost. I am visual after all, so this literally keeps the big picture in my face.
DH is having lots of fun defacing the board when I’m not looking-I just noticed the happy face in the middle of “joy”, groan. I do keep that “joy” there because sometimes, in the midst of prepping for an especially long teaching trip or when travel plans go awry, I have to remind myself to look for the joy. Why do this if there is no joy?
One thing I have wanted to try for a long time is dyeing silk organza. I have some ideas that I want to pursue and I’ll need specific colors and patterns if I go that direction. I have looked into dyeing twice before and the cost and chemicals put me off. But now I can’t do what I want to unless I somehow figure out how to create my own fabric.
This is not a primer of how to dye-it is more about how NOT to dye silk organza! I made many rookie mistakes along the way, so follow along with me as I muddle my way through. I had purchased a nice collection of acid dyes from Dharma Trading awhile ago. I had talked with them about what I needed and their website provided a lot of detail.
I used 26″ square pieces of silk organza and crumpled each into an XL quart baggie. I added 1/2 t of dye, a tablespoon of citric acid (in the Hershey’s container) and 1/2 c water to each baggie. Yes, I know now that is like 4 times too much! But that’s where I started. For some reason I had it in my head that I needed to process each color separately.
And I thought it would be fine to do this in my studio (how foolish). I am lucky I had no mishaps. I realize now how perilous a choice that could have been. At one point a few drops of dye defied the laws of science and inexplicably splashed onto my (protected) work surface and one little tiny guy hit the floor. Now I know-dye will stain my floor. Luckily it was a wee little spot.
I guess because I had so little fiber in there, the mic was melting the baggie and I had to stop every 30 seconds and then let it cool for 5-10 minutes for a total of 4 minutes of heat. I found that highly annoying: tap, tap, tap, when will it be cool???
And then I rinsed and I rinsed and I rinsed. I finally called Dharma and asked “Is there a trick to the part about ‘rinse until clear'”? She laughed, in a good way, and explained that this was actually a pretty good outcome. Most people get a basic rinse going, do a Synthrapol rinse and then throw into the washer. Ah, that made so much more sense!
Two hours later and this is the result. That was a lot of time and work for one piece. But it was a glorious saturated red! I had to do more.
The next go round I did 6 at once and lowered the microwave to 50% power and things were much better. I could see some glorious colors emerging. Apparently I did not evenly mix the bags-I noticed this on my first piece and loved the mottled effect.
You dyers may laugh, but this was a surprise to me-“Tobacco” bled green. Huh. And this guy bled far more than the reds or blues-go figure.
No one told me that your gloves could get punctured! Sigh.
When I threw them in the washer I added a dye catcher. That dye catcher worked hard!
This was also a new addition this week-an 8′ square design wall-be still my heart! This is something I have longed for. I used 1 1/2″ insulation board, covered it with flannel, mounted with Command Strips and cut out holes for the outlets. Now I had something to pin my newly dyed organza to!
And there they are in all their glory! Now I get it, I get why people dye. Will I begin to dye most of my fabric now? NO! At least I know I can dye silk organza if I need it. I will try painting it next-it may be awhile. I’m very put-off by that whole steaming thing.
Look at that saturated color!
So I did a lot of things wrong, was lucky that I did not damage my new studio in the process and ended up with some fabulous hand dyed silk organza. It was worth it!
I’ll be linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday. Some of the coolest links are there each week-you have to check it out!