I can’t believe it’s Spring already. I kind of feel like I am emerging from a self imposed hibernation due to a number of major deadlines since late January. I have met them all and now have new ones to concentrate on. I will be posting about them (in retrospect mostly) to bring all my blog readers up to date. I will be doing more regular posts since they have now become “deadlines” to meet as well.
So – it’s the first day of Spring and what am I doing – SNOW DYEING! Finally!!! I’ve been wanting to do snow dyeing since I first heard about it. I was in the middle of all those deadlines and made myself wait until they’d been met. The warm weather we’ve had lately had me concerned I wasn’t going to get to do it this year – but there were still some “drift” remaining on the north side of my studio building so I was in luck. Looking at my schedule I decided I HAD to do it today or I might not get to do it at all.
Yesterday evening I tore 24 1 yard pieces of Kona PFD off the 125 yd bolt and pre-soaked them in soda ash for 30 min. I left them in a damp pile to dye today. I went to the dollar store to get some baskets with slotted sides to let the snow melt out and not dilute the dyes. I found some that fit my dyeing dish pans very well.
basket/bin combination for snow dyeing
The next step was to put the soda ash soaked fabric into the bins so it would have lots of folds for the dye to work with.
20 yards of fabric in bins ready for snow dyeing
I mixed up my dye concentrates using Ann Johnson’s proportions in “Color by Accident”. It was recommended by a number of folks to use colours made of several colours for best results with the snow dyeing because the colour breaks into its component colours during the process. I decided I would use some of the new MX dyes I bought from G&S dyes in Toronto http://gsdyes.com/ . I have 10 containers to mix my dye concentrates in so I used 10 of them. Basically 2 reds, 2 greens, 2 purples, 2 yellows and navy and black. Once those were done, it was time to get the snow.
Time to go out and get the snow – I decided it would make more sense to bring the snow into the studio and put it in bins than to take 20 bins out and and lug them back inside. My tall garbage container worked well – enough snow for about 1o bins.
snow - was more the snow cone icy type than the granulated sugar type of snow we usually get
Once the snow was inside it was time to work quickly and get it onto the fabric in the bins. I discovered it took about half of the green bucket to give the proper depth of snow (2″ – 4″) or about 6 - 500 ml containers worth.
bins of fabric packed with snow - ready to dye
Some people recommend freezing the fabric before snow dyeing. I didn’t have the means to do this so I let the snow sit on top of the fabric while I mixed the dye bottles from the concentrates – so they spent about half an hour getting cold while I did that and started dyeing the bins. Then comes the fun part. Putting the dye on the snow. I tried a variety of colour combinations – thinking of the colours used to make up the compound colours as well as a few “what if” type of combinations.
fuschia and golden yellow dyes applied to snow - looks almost good enough to eat!
same bin 4 hrs later - dye is soaking through snow
Here are a couple of overall pictues of the bins.
20 bins snow dyeing
4 hours later the dye is soaking down thru the snow
If you’ve been counting, you are wondering about the other 4 yards right? Well since I only had 20 baskets, I decided I would dye the last 4 as layers (or parfaits if you use Color by Accident). I looked at the remaining dye concentrates to decide what colours I would use. I finally decided on burgundy (bottom), mixed purple and violet in one bottle for next layer), jade and dark green for next layer, and golden yellow for the the top layer – knowing that some of the combinations would give me a brown of some sort.
I put the fabric in, covered it with a layer of snow then squirted dye over the snow layer, then next layer of fabric, snow, dye, and so on.
burgundy and purple layers done, green layer covered with snow waiting for dye
green dye added to snow
last layer of fabric already wicking dye from layer below waiting for snow
all dyes added
I will stop at the studio tomorrow on my way out of town to take some photos of how the snow dyeing is progressing – stay tuned!