Friday, January 7, 2011

Precision Dyeing continued

I want to pick up where I left off with the blogs on precision dyeing. The last blog on this topic, Seasons Greetings had the dye powders dissolved in water, strained to remove any undissolved dye, and the fabric wetted out.

7. At this time I will also prepare the salt (uniodized) and soda ash solutions. The amounts are worked out according to how much dye is being used. Simply, the salt pushes the dye into the fibres, and the soda ash makes it stick. For the 100gms dry weight of the fabric ie WOG, I need 135gms salt and 18gms soda ash. These I dissolve separately in boiling water. Salt is quite hard to dissolve (in cooking it gets absorbed by the food); the soda ash needs a dash of cold water first before adding the boiling water as it does have a tendency to fizz. The quantities of boiling water are sufficient to dissolve both the salt and the soda ash and this makes it easier for the fabric to absorb.

8. The volume of fabric to be dyed dictates the size of the container, it is important that the fabric has plenty of room to be manipulated in the dye bath. Although the Procion MX dyes are cold water dyes I am somewhat of a wimp and use hot water from the tap! Into this I add the dissolved dye and thoroughly stir to distribute the dye evenly. Then the wet fabric is immersed and the action starts - from now on the fabric is constantly on the move, it is turned, kneaded and manipulated so that the colour is spread evenly across the whole length (remember this is precision dyeing and needs to be like a 'bought' fabric - this is not tie dyeing!)

And just so I can give you some pics, the following show the value of keeping records! In all cases I am referring to the swatch second from left, which is silk:

Procion MX Navy Blue comes out lavender...

Procion MX Deep Purple comes out Cerise...

... and one part each Procion Mavy Blue and Turquoise HZ gives me a purple. I am not sure when I discovered that these two colours gave me a purple on silk but it was a relief to finally get a purple.


  1. Thanks Diana, I'll have to work out how to print these lessons out for my records - I'll never remember the details otherwise, but I'm following you so far!

  2. Thank you for sharing. I am finding this very interesting.

  3. I am a relative newbie at all of this dyeing, but I think that the value of notetaking is immense! I like your method and may adopt it, if you don't mind, that is! Until recently, I would never have entertained weighing either fabric or dye, but now I am seeing the wisdom in all of this.
    Thanks for another wonderful post Diana!