Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dying to Tell You using a Microwave

I've been doing a bit of fabric dying lately.  I just love the colors.This past saturday, ASG Los Angeles had a silk dying workshop with Audry Durnan. Everyone had fun.
We started with 1-22 yards of silk chiffon for each  (www.DharmaTrading.com has all the supplies you need if you wanted to try this at home  --- and I recommend that you try this at home).  We finger gathered the chiffon, tied with string (kite string works well) and/or rubberbands, and then twisted the chiffon very tight. So tight that it coiled up on itself.
It helps if you have another person to hold one end while you twist.  If you don't have a "helper", then you can use a doorknob to anchor one end of your chiffon to.  We used acid dyes purchased from Dharma. My understanding is that these dyes are safe and not toxic.  We used three colors for each fabric (you can use more or less depending on the results).  After the fabric is twisted tightly and tied, you add your color using a turkey baster.  Make sure you saturate the twisted fabric well. and get it in all the knots, twists, and turns.  Keep in mind that the colors will run and that you will have several colors when done.

After the color is added, put your twisted and colored fabric into a zip lock bag and sprinkle with a bit of vinegar and water and let it set for about 5 mins.  After your  fabric is done "marinating" in the vinegar, take the bag with the fabric and pop it into a microwave oven.  Make sure the bag is not completely sealed and it has about 3" of breathing room.  Put the microwave on high for 3 mins.  Be sure you use a "spare" microwave, and not one for using food.  Not sure how safe the dye vapors are for food prep after you're done dying fabric.  When the fabric is done "cooking", open the oven and give it a few mins to cool.  Take the bag out, and open it all the way and let it cool a bit more.  After it is cool enough to handle, take to the sink, cut the ties and bands off, untwist and rinse using cold/cool water.

After it is rinsed and open, wring it in a towel to get a bit more water out and then run an iron over it to set the color a bit more.

Then place it in the sun or someplace to dry.  Silk chiffon will dry quick.  You are now done and can admire your work and all the beautiful colors!
For the pink on the left, I used fushia, yellow, and cherry red.  The next was sky blue, turquoise, and brown.  Next was fushia, turquoise, and yellow.  The far right is violet, brown, and yellow.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Early Spring Cleaning

I have not sewn anything... nothing... so far this year (ok, it's still January, but in a normal year, I would have sewn several things by now).  I think this is a first for me!   What have I been doing?  Cleaning, sorting, organizing, purging!  I think for the past 7 years (I had a fire in 2005 and HAD to clean)  I've been adding and collecting sewing items which means stuffing, stashing.... ok hording, and was feeling stifled with all the *stuff*!  So, my friend Kathi, emailed me her excel template and I starting going through my fabric, pile by pile, bin by bin, closet by closet.  If I didn't love it, the fabric went to the garage where it will be on its way to the Boys and Girls Club where ASG Los Angeles members mentor and teach sewing.  I think there are at least 10 boxes in the garage so far.

I pulled out all the fabric, measured and counted and sorted it.  I have over 700 yards that I'm keeping and 6 more bins to sort through. Those bins are in the guest room, so I may hold off on those until I finish the sewing room.   After I finished my fabric "cleansing", I almost stopped, but then thought, I really need to go through the closet in the sewing room where there are receipts, bills, photos, *stuff*, and supplies for other hobbies.  If I didn't sort it now, it would probably be another 7 years before I thought about it again.  So, I dove in, sorted, organized, purged, and shredded.  I then went to Target and bought new shelves, plastic shoe boxes, and bins and re-organized.  I have 1 last cabinet to go through... but I see the light at the end of the tunnel... at least in the sewing room.

What have I learned?  I have enough zips, buttons, interfacing, buckles, batting, fabric, thread, and supplies for at least the next 10 years!