Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A new crafty endeavour

I got it into my head that I should have a go at dyeing my own fabric since I love the look of hand dyed fabric so much. I went on a bit of a hunt for dye and I scoured the internet for instructions, hints, tips, tutorials, and videos. I found some RIT dye at Michael's, but my internet research was not as fruitful. It seems that either people don't want to share what works for them because they don't want to lose business OR not many people hand dye cross stitch fabric. I followed what was on the manufacturer's website (the bulk of my knowledge came from there), and also took note of a few other tips and tricks that I had gleaned.

I gathered all of the necessary materials (dye, fabric, measuring spoons, disposable containers, rubber gloves, etc) and gave it a go despite feeling very in the dark about what I should be doing.

I must say I'm pretty damn proud of the results. My fabrics still need names (suggestions welcome), but I didn't keep recipe notes this time around, so I doubt I could replicate these. Next time though, since the initial thrill might have worn off by then, I will take copious notes.

I used either 28 or 32 ct lugana, RIT dyes, and low water immersion techniques.

First try on 32 ct:

I underestimated the strength of the purple dye, and it overwhelmed the initial teal colour I used. This is the most "tie dyed" look that I got.

Second try (28 ct):

I just used purple dye for this one. The dyeing technique is neat -- you cram wet fabric into a small plastic container, pour the diluted dye mixture over top, smoosh it around, then microwave it for one minute. Then you just rinse it out in cold water, wash it in warm water, and rinse again till the water runs clear.

Third try (32 ct):

Just teal dye, but this time I used a small plastic baggie instead of a plastic container. (No microwaving in this technique. I just let it sit in the baggie for 30 minutes.) It seems to give a much more subdued mottled look. In person, this is a much brighter, fresher teal. I can totally see a Mirabilia mermaid on this fabric.

Fourth try (28 ct):

Again I underestimated the strength of the dye. The mixture went on black, washed out kind of purple, and left me with a lovely dark green. I also used the baggie technique on this one. It looks more green in person. I think this piece would work really well with Christmas designs - reminds me of old pine needles.

Fifth try (32 ct):

Here I went back to the plastic container technique. I started with a very light grey dye mixture, then added 3 drops of the purple dye. BUT I didn't mix it together, I just plopped the fabric straight in. I love the subtle purple hints in this. To be honest, in non-natural light, it looks a lot more purple-y/lavender-y. I've already decided what I want to stitch on this one ... definitely Sabrina by Mirabilia.

Sixth try (32 ct):

I LOVE this one! I am so pleased with how it turned out. I actually double dyed it. I created a nice tan dye mixture, shoved the fabric into the plastic container, and nuked it for a minute. Then I carefully removed the fabric and left most of the dye behind, mixed in a little bit of grey dye to darken the mixture, put the fabric back in, moved it around, and microwaved it again for 30 seconds. This gives it a great antique-y look that would be great for a lot of LHN or Lizzie Kate designs.

I can't wait to dye again! Now to figure out what to do with all of this scrumptious fabric!!


  1. All your fabric looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing. Bravo!

  2. Lovely work. And thanks for sharing how you did it. When I saw No 1 it made me think about candyfloss and your description of No 5 made me think of what a sky looks like during a daytime storm.

  3. wow luv the new fabby. I often thought of dying my own too but I'm chicken and as you said people that dye fabby don't share there tricks of the trade.

  4. This is a great idea and looks wonderful! I can totally see fantasy and whimsical projects with these, or a Paula Vaughn on the last one.

  5. They all look wonderful! I'm sure they'll all have at least one perfect piece out there. Amazing work!

  6. I love the first one! You're very brave to give all this a go and get such great results.
    I've dyed small pieces using tea and fruit teas but never commercial dyes. I ought to take the plunge...

  7. Wow, these are amazing. I love them!!!

    I love the fifth and sixth ones so much! The possibilities for what to put on those fabrics are endless. Well done! :)

  8. That's super awesome! I've thought about dyeing my own fabric, but don't really stitch things where the fabric is visible through it. I did tea-dye some fabric (for my giveaway way back when) and loved the result of that! I think you did an amazing job! :)