Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WIP Wendesday: Wannabe Shibori Dyeing

My parents were here over the weekend which was absolutely wonderful.  I'm only sorry my mom had to work so much and the time was so short.  Luckily I'll get to see them this weekend at my sister's house (and meet new baby Alex!)

In the evenings and mornings my mom and I had time to work on our projects, and we made some good headway.  I was able to get started on assembling my crochet blocks, although the process takes a long time and seems to generate lots of ends to weave in!

Since there were two of us out in the studio, I was also able to make great progress on some church linens I've been working on featuring machine embroideries.  The stitch outs take a while so it was nice to have two people to babysit the machine while we worked on other things.  More on those when I have time to take some pictures.

Most fun though was that we did a bunch of Shibori dyeing experiments.  We didn't really follow a tutorial specifically, but I thought I'd write out what we did here just for our own records. A few pictures of the final products first, for those of you not interested in the details.

These are the ones we shibori dyed.

These are some I dyed to use up the excess dye afterwards since I didn't want it to waste.

The colors on this are off, the best representation is that first picture where they're still on the plastic sheet on the lawn.

This one was a pretty brown when we took it out of the dye, but after rinsing it turned a rather unbecoming vomit color so I've set it aside for overdyeing another time.


We presoaked in soda ash (1/4 c. per quart water).  We used some PFD cotton broadcloth and PFD cotton sateen from Dharma, some random scraps of muslin, some silk/rayon mix scarves, some commercial prints (for overdyeing) and some scraps of some sort of polyester brocade sort of stuff.


I looked on the dharma website for instructions- for tie-dyeing they said 2 tsp dye to 1 c. water.  My mom vaguely remembered that she mixed dye concentrate (for later dilution) at 3 tsp dye to 1 c. water.  We didn't want to waste too much dye and since we weren't doing large yardage decided to mix up 1/2 tsp dye and 1/2 c. lukewarm water.

This wound up being way more dye than needed for our fabric, thus all the random pieces I dyed.

We used Procion dyes, #6 Deep Orange, #16 Maroon, #3 Golden Yellow, and #250 Jet Black.


For the shibori, we wrapped around a wine bottle (most successful but hardest to scrunch on), a beer bottle, and a curtain rod of about 1-1.5 inches in diameter.  We tried to wrap diagonally but it was hard because the fabric kept going off the ends of the beer and wine bottles.  Large diameter PVC would probably have worked better but we didn't have any.

We tied and wrapped all around the fabric with nylon Christmas Tree string (not sure what it is except it's what we use to tie the Christmas Tree to the car), and then scrunched down.  We used a 10cc syringe to appy dye either perpendicular or parallel to the strings.  Then we left them overnight to batch.  After the first morning, the larger pieces of fabric still had big areas that didn't get the dye so we re-wrapped and overdyed with a second round.  For those we re-wrapped and dyed, we did that before rinsing out all the dye (and soda ash).

For the ones we were happy with, we rinsed them in cold water until it ran pretty clear then washed them with a shout color catcher.  I wish I had some synthrapol, but I didn't.

For the gradients, I spread the fabric on plastic sheeting and applied the dye in a 1:2 dilution series mixed with water.

Linking up with Lee as usual!


  1. I've always wanted to try dying fabric, you have some beautiful results here! Thanks for sharing your process!

  2. Wow, that's some amazing results.

    I really want to tie-dye some blue fabric I have with bleach, but I'm afraid of ruining it.

  3. It looks like you had a great time and have some beautiful fabrics to show for it.

  4. This looks so fun! I have been wanting to try fabric dying and you might have actually convinced me!