Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

It Seemed Like Such a Good Idea!!!

As I had looked at all of the circles in the center of my Color Wheel quilt, I realized that I wanted to do a gradation fabric to put behind them. My thought was to have black on the edges, working to a grey in the center. I knew that I could piece one with various shades of black to grey but didn’t want to have a lot of seams to applique over.

SO…..I decided to dye it myself!!!

My plan was to dye several yards of fabric black and then to “dip-dye” a large square of fabric, keeping the edges in the dye bath at all times and slowly lowering the other parts into the bath as time went on.

Getting set up

I was excited as I set up all of the bits and pieces needed for the job…..

I loved the look of the dye powder when it first hit the water for dissolving…..

It was interesting to see all of the colors separating out!!

After dissolving, I added the dye to the water bath that already had the salt dissolved in it…..

Speaking of salt, it took a bit of work to figure out how many cups of salt were in a pound. When I googled it, I was told that it was 1-2/3 cup but that seemed like too much, I ended up measuring how much was in each box that contained 1 pound, 10 ounces and then figuring how many cups I needed……

Dyeing the fabric

I put the first fabric into the prepare dye bath and stirred it well……

Then I started dipping the gradation piece. I had an epiphany to use a small slice of a pool noodle to provide a handle for the dipped piece….

I put it in the middle of the square and folded the fabric over it. It provided a great way to keep hold of the fabric……

For the next 30 minutes, I slowly dipped the fabric in and out of the dye bath, leaving the edges in the bath most of the time.

Also, I added a half yard of fabric for the last 10 minutes of dying time so that it would not be as dark as the rest.

When the dyeing time was up, I removed the fabric, added dissolved soda ash to the bath and returned the three fabrics. For the next 90 minutes, I stirred the bath every 5 minutes.

Then it was time to remove the fabric…..

….and start the rinsing process……

After a bunch of water baths and several wash cycles, the fabrics were ready to dry, although I couldn’t see much difference between any of them…..

And, sure enough, my fears were confirmed……

There is virtually no difference between the full dyed and the dip dyed fabrics and the fabric dyed for a shorter time is only marginally lighter.

Since I am a newbie when it comes to dyeing, I have NO idea what I did wrong. I had read that you needed to double the amount of dye powder when dying black so maybe I added too much. Alternately, maybe I left them in the dye bath for too long during the dye process or maybe during the activation process.


If nothing else, I have several yards of black fabric!!!!

A special visitor…..

I did have one exciting thing happen……this sweet Rat Snake decided to slither thru my outside rinsing area…..

She was between 4 and 5 feet long and made her way past the door into the garage (at least I closed it before she got there) and into my flower garden, quickly dislodging a chipmunk and a baby rabbit.

I have told Michael and that I will not weed the flower bed for at least the next 10 years!!!!

Although I am disappointed in the results, I may try it again this weekend, but only use a small amount of dye and try to get a grey rather than black. OR….I may just buy another fabric…..OR I may come up with another idea!! Time will tell!!!

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