Monday, March 1, 2010

The Snow Dyeing Obsession

I wasn't sure I was going to do any more snow dyeing this season, but that beautiful foot of nice wet snow beckoned last weekend.   Plus my friend Kate wanted to try another round.  I tried a couple of new twists this time, (literally I did twist one piece of fabric) and here are the results.  All but the last were placed on hardware cloth above the bottoms of the trays so that they were not sitting in the dye as the snow melted.

For both of these I treated the fabric with soda ash water and then froze it the night before.  Well, I intended to freeze it--left it out on the front porch and checked in the morning but after so many nights of temperatures in the twenties, it hadn't made it down to 32 degrees and so I shoved them in the freezer for a few hours.  Much has been discussed on the Quiltart email list about whether the fabric should be frozen or not.   So you can judge if it makes a difference.  The one on the right was a mix of brilliant blue, black, yellow, and plum; on the left deep purple and black.

These two were not frozen.  The one on the right is my favorite of this batch, although the photo did not pick up all the colors in it.  This is the kona cotton that I was complaining about in the last batch, but I am now sure it was the quality of the snow that made the difference there.  It is a mixture of fire red, moss green, and some other dye I thought was brown but was so old it was before I was labeling everything and must have had some blue in it.  The one on the right is just plain dyer's cloth with yellow, moss green and that undetermined bluish color.  Of course, if I was doing a real experiment I should have used the same colors on the frozen and unfrozen fabric, but I don't think the freezing made any difference.
This is my twisted experiment--I twisted the fabric instead of scrunching it.  The dyes were fire red, black, and a little plum.

And I had to try another folded piece.  The colors here are frustratingly inaccurate--sorry, but you get a little of the idea.  The dyes were moss green and yellow so the color should be a bit greener than it is. 

These are much richer results than what I got the second time I did this.  I was careful to use more dye and used it full strength so that might have helped but I think the quality of the snow has a lot to do with it.  This was wet snow, so packable it kept forming individual snow balls as Kate and I tried to cover the fabric in the bins.  

And if you want a more scientific explanation you can look at a book called Winter: An Ecological Handbook, which my husband handed me, after I kept remarking on what a difference the snow made.  In the book are twelve pages of charts and descriptions on how to classify different types of snow.  Fascinating stuff.   So many connections.

And I promise my next post will not be about snow dyeing. . . . 


Kathy P said...

They look fantastic! Patsy Thompson just blogged about a new fabric that she loves for dyeing. You can read about it here:

Anya said...

Lovely, as usual. I guess you won't be hoping spring comes too early...

Peggi Yac said...

Your twisted fire red is luscious!