Category Archives: fabric dyeing

Art in the Tent – silk scarf dyeing session

On Saturday I participated as part of the Art in the Tent activities at the Glascock Building.   This included some interactive art activities by Art in the Park Artists and some demos by local Maple Creek Artists.  This was part of the Taste of Maple Creek Festivities.  I offered sessions of my popular Silk Scarf Dyeing activities.  Due to the heat and humidity, I was set up inside the Glascock building with all the art on display. (I don’t do heat and humidity well).

Tables set up and ready to dye scarves

Tables set up and ready to dye scarves

I set up well before my sessions were scheduled.  I didn’t have any takers for the noon session – the food was ready to sell down at the other end of Jasper Street. I had to run home and get a bag of pipettes I had mistakenly taken out of the dyeing tote.

At 2 pm I had 6 people wanting to dye.  A mom and her 3 children plus another young fellow and his mom and an woman who was going to be dyeing a square to use as a head scarf.

sisters dyeing their scarves

sisters dyeing their scarves

Here are some of the finished scarves dyed by participants in the 2 pm session.  Children’s faces shown in photos are used with their mother’s permission.

Josie with her scarf.  her combo of purples and blues was lovely

Josie with her scarf. her combo of purples and blues was lovely


Josie's brother, Logan, with his scarf

Josie’s brother, Logan, with his scarf

Logan did something no one else has done in my workshops to my knowledge.  He dyed his whole scarf in one go without opening it and re-scrunching it.  He got good results with his technique. He used the Rider green with some other colours.

Liam with his scarf

Liam with his scarf

Liam dyed a scarf with his mom’s help.  They were camping out at Cypress Hills Park and decided to come in for the Taste of Maple Creek festivities.  He did his with some Rider colours – there was a game that started at the same time as our scarf dyeing session.

Joyce's scarf

Joyce’s scarf

Joyce used pumpkin with a pumpkin/brown combo for her 30 inch square scarf.  It came out lovely.  She enjoyed it so much, she came back for the 4 pm session to dye another 30 inch square in shades of blue.

It was a nice relaxing way to spend the afternoon and the 3 fans I had going helped keep me from getting too hot until it was over.  Lots of folks dropped by to see what we were doing.


Snow Dyeing

Hi – it’s been awhile since I’ve posted but I’ve been very busy in the studio snow dyeing batch after batch of scarves and fabrics the past couple of weeks. Racing Mother Nature to use the snow before she melts it.

You can see what I’ve been up to by checking my Skyswept  Designs Facebook Page

I’ve been “live” facebooking through several sessions lately.

First Workshop for 2012 – Silk Scarf Dyeing

 Tonight was the first workshop for 2012.  It was a private booking for Dyeing Scarves with Color Hue Dyes activity.  We ended up with 4 girls, a mom & her friend + another mom (my friend) who helped out.  These are usually fairly relaxed events that take from 1-2 hrs depending on how many ppl there are plus how involved in colour mixing the participants want to be + how many scarves they make. Sometimes it’s a birthday party activity (love getting to share in the birthday treats!)  I’ve done this activity with all ages (2-92 yrs), all kinds of groups (seniors, youth, school and special needs groups) and even families wanting to make gifts for themselves and others. I’ve even done it on a drop-in basis as guest artist at Cypress Hills Park last August .    

New method of twisting scarf

  Angie ( a mom) used a new (to me) technique for twisting her scarf.  She did both of her scarves in the same fashion.     

2nd scarf done with new twisting

results from using new twisting technique

  The colour choices for her second scarf were quite interesting as well.  I may have to try this combination myself (another bonus of having different people in the studio is finding new colour combinations I may not have thought of on my own.  

another new technique - dyeing the hem itself

  Chloe  took the time to painstakingly dye the hem by itself which was a very nice and different effect I had not seen or done before.  Another technique to try!  

Kaitlin's Scarf - such rich colour

  Kaitlin  used just one colour and kept adding dye until she achieved the rich colour she wanted.   


adding dye drop by drop

Jessica took the time to add her dye drop by drop to achieve the look she wanted.   

Jessica's scarf completed

I love the subtle colour changes and pools of colour in Jessica’s scarf.   

Corey used a variety of colours

 Corey used a variety of colours in her scarf to good effect, escaping the dreaded brown results from mixing opposites on the colour wheel.  She had made a scarf previously when Girls on the Move visited my studio in May 2011 and had requested her mom to book this activity to celebrate her birthday.  

Marvann's scarf using another new twisting technique

Marvann gave me a challenge – to mix her the 2012 Pantone colour of the year Tangerine Tango.  I had a bit of challenge mixing it but came up with a colour she liked.  Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of her finished scarf using her new (to me) method of twisting the scarf before dyeing it.  

Each participant ended up making 2 scarves so it was a fairly busy couple of hours before we got the the cake Marvann had made (very tasty!).  All in all it was a great way to start 2012 workshops.  

If you’re interested in having your own scarf dyeing or other fun crafty activity for yourself and at least 4 friends, contact me by phone or email (info on contact page) to set up an activity for you.  I can handle up to 10 (sometimes) people per 1-2 hr activity in my studio.  More might require an alternate venue.  I’m happy to discuss options with you.    



Christmas in July

I’m having a Christmas in July Sale in my ArtFire Shop.  From July 13-31, 2011, save 10% off your total order.  Plus I’ll pay the Canadian Taxes (no taxes for orders from outside Canada) and shipping to celebrate Skyswept Designs 2nd Anniversary in business.

I’ve uploaded the snow-dyed Kona PFD fabrics to start.  Check them out!  You can also click on the icon on my side bar to take you to my shop.

I’m will be taking more photos tomorrow to upload to the shop as I can.  Once I have all the snow dyed fabrics uploaded, I will begin taking photos of the “regular” hand dyed. 

If you just want to look at the snow dyed fabrics and not buy, I have them here:

Get your drool bibs out!

In March, I dyed  20 1 yard pieces each of Kona PFD and Pimatex PFD using low water immersion techinque to provide coordinating fabrics for those snow-dyed in February.

Those will get uploaded after I attend the Crescent Park Quilt Festival in Moose Jaw, SK on Sunday, July 24.

BAZAART – 9 Days and Counting


Ironing/Tagging station

I spent today ironing scarves, checking all their tags/labels etc to make sure they are all ready to pack next Thursday (don’t want them to wrinkle any more than they have to).  I only planned to iron the hand-woven cotton ones, but it morphed into doing the ones that were left from the big snow-dye a thon I had in March.  This also included washing any that were soiled from travelling to galleries, etc.  Some just neede the price label added (I’d run out earlier when processing them).  I’m feeling much better about how many snow-dyed scarves I have left for BAZAART.  I have a feeling I may run out before we get snow again (OOPS there’s that 4 letter word).  there are few hand rolled hems that have a broken stitch or 2 to be repaired if I have time as well.  The only thing left to do with them is add them to the BAZAART Inventory and Sale spreadsheet so I have a record of what is going.

Snow-dyed scarves ready to go to BAZAART

My new collapsible racks on wheels were very handy to use while processing the scarves.  They started on one rack, and as they were completed processing, they were moved to the other one.  As I have painted scarves dried and heat set, they will go onto the “processing” rack by my ironing labelling station at the end of my work table so I can sit and iron a few for a “break” from other things needing to be done.  All my labels, tags, tagging gun, sewing kit, etc are in one place now which makes it much easier to get this work done in small pockets of time as I find them.

I think I’m going to have set a daily quota of snow-dyed fabric yardage to iron and process each day so it can all be done before next week as well.  Some is ironed but needs labelling, pricing and placing on hangars, ready to pack next week.

Silk Scarf dyeing with 10-11 yr olds

One of the activities I offer at my studio is the chance to hand dye your own silk scarf. I started this with a group of seniors last year at the request of their recreation director. Since then I’ve had several groups of folks come and do some silk scarf dyeing. I will do it for as few as 4-5 and this party was for 11 (including a mom). It’s not specifically a workshop, but more of an activity. I show them my array of scarves and they pick colours from those.

Color Hue dyed silk scarves

We learn a bit about the colour wheel (what colors work together and what colours don’t) and depending on the group – some may even mix their own colours from the pre-mixed dyes I have ready for them. I instruct the folks how to use the medium – get them to practice with plain water as well as extra dye on paper towels before actually dyeing their scarf. When they feel comfortable with the tools, techniques, then we start dyeing scarves. It’s fun to watch as hesitation moves to comfort and experimentation.

Dyeing her own scarf

Depending on the group, what they want to do and how many scarves they want to dye, it usually lasts from 1-2 hrs. The girls and I had fun and they themselves some lovely scarves. I heard talk of them planning to wear them to school on the same day.

showing off their finished scarves

When everyone is all done, they put their wet scarf in a baggy to take home – with drying and care instructions.  Lots of happy faces here.  They were really pleased with their results.

all finished and ready to take home

 After they were done with their scarf dyeing activity, they did the usual birthday party activities.  I was even lucky enough to get to share in the birthday cake!  I should have take a picture of it.  Mom make a small cake iced looking like tie dye with assorted cupcakes around it in honour of the scarf dyeing.  Very creative.

Snow Dyed Scarves now at Traditions Handcraft Gallery

Today I took my snow-dyed scarves to Traditions Handcraft Gallery  in Regina  Since these are a limited edition due to the weather (snow gone!) she took most of them (13).  The remaining few will be put up on my ArtFire shop in May.  I have not had time to photograph the snow dyed scarves individually, but I did take  photos of them by size.

8"x54" snow-dyed silk charmeuse scarves

8″x54″ snow-dyed silk charmeuse scarves

14"x72" snow-dyed silk charmeuse scarves

11"x60" handwoven cotton snow-dyed scarves

11"x60" snowed dyed handwoven cotton scarves

14"x72" snow dyed handwoven cotton scarves

I I also managed to get to Milky Way Ice cream shop in Regina  I heard about it the other day on CBC.  It seems to be one of the signs of spring in Regina when it opens.  Their claim to fame is that they telephone folks and tell them what the flavour of the day for the soft ice cream is – oh yes – they have the regular flavours of soft ice cream – choc, vanilla , choc/vanilla twist, strawberry/vanilla twist - but also have a flavour of the day – today’s was creme de menthe so I passed on it.  It really is the best soft icecream I’ve had – and I’ve had some good stuff.  I think it may become a regular part of my Regina visits on Wednesdays – it’s only a few blocks from Broad Street.  It’s a family owned business and only takes cash.


Scarf Dyeing Activity

Today I had another group of 7 ladies come to do a silk scarf dyeing activity in the studio. I planned these workshops at the request of a local recreation activity co-ordinator. They are more of an activity for the folks that come than a how-to- workshop.  It sure is a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

Studio tables set up for silk scarf dyeing activity

I bought a kit of Color Hue Dyes last fall and had a great time using it to  dye silk scarves.  I tracked down a wholesaler, picked up my first order a week or so ago in Sweetgrass, MT,  and brought it back through Canada Customs commerically.  That was a learning experience in itself.  I now have all the colours available from this wholesaler so I can offer workshops like this in my studio or on site somewhere else.

We spend some time picking out colours from the scarves I’ve already made plus the colour samples and practicing how to apply the dye on paper towels.  This lets them get used to how the dye works and how they might want to apply it for the desired effect.  

 Since the first batch of scarves was made by me just having fun with the dyes, I didn’t write down amounts when mixing colors.  I remind them that they want something unique for themselves.  For these groups, I mix the colours for each person but other groups may want to do it themselves.

For privacy reasons, I am not showing students faces on the blog. All photos are clickable to see larger versions.

participants dyeing their scarves

some of the students' scarves drying before leaving

Our activity concluded with coffee and snacks brought by the rec coordinator.   Everyone seems quite pleased with the scarf they’ve created.  Some have taken the option of making a scarf for an additional fee to cover the scarf and dye costs.  Several of the participants have expressed interest in coming back to make another one.

Feedback from the recreation coordinator about last week’s participants is that they have been wearing the scarves they made to other activities.

SPRING has arrived so what am I doing – Snow Dyeing!

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 .  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

a good look at the layers - you can see dyeing moving and wicking through the fabric   

 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!