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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Shibori Dyeing Experiment

I've been wanting to try arashi shibori dyeing for a few months now but it took some preparation. I needed some chemicals and a pole to use for wrapping the cloth around. I found a 2 foot plastic pipe from Home Depot that is about 4" in diameter that I thought would work well for this. This kind of pipe doesn't melt in hot water like PVC. So, I had this bolt of cotton fabric that I had bought at a garage sale a couple of years ago. Since the fabric was already dyed a rose color, I thought I might be able to do a dye discharge technique. So after I had tied up the cloth around the pipe with string and scrunched it down as far as it would go on the pipe, I boiled it in Rit dye remover. Unfortunately it worked too well and it took the color uniformly down to a light pink color. I had hoped that the dye remover wouldn't get down inside the string all the way to the pipe - but it apparently did. So, that was last weekend's attempts. I rinsed out the dye remover with clear water and let it dry over the last week.

This weekend, I decided to try adding dye to the fiber, instead of taking dye out of it. So I wet the fiber again, let it sit for about 1/2 hour or so, letting the water soak into the inside of the wrapping. I got out my ProChem fiber reactive dyes and chemicals and mixed up some urea water, alkalai powder and some dye. I mixed the urea water into the dye mix and added a teaspoon of alkalai powder which had some soda ash in it. I then poured this in little sections around the pipe. When all the light spots were covered in dye, I wrapped the pole in plastic wrap and let it sit for 24 hours in 70 degree or above heat (inside the house). It took several rinsings and a couple of washings with Saranthapol to get out the excess dye but it stopped bleeding after the 2nd washing with Saranthapol. It actually looks quite nice I think. It's only a yard of fabric. The fabric is very heavy and appears to be a double layer so it wouldn't scrunch on the pole that much. But I'm pretty pleased with it all in all. I need to try some different techniques now - smaller pole, more fabric, different kinds of fabrics. I would be able to get more fabric on a pole if the fabric was thinner: silk, thin cotton, cotton sateen?

I've been getting some books lately on fabric embellishing which look quite interesting. Also silk painting looks like a lot of fun. Painted silk would look really pretty inside a handwoven jacket.

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