Monday, January 24, 2011

Snow Has To Be Good For Something

This is definitely a crazy idea.  Using snow to dye fabric?  I think I have become housebound due to this cold weather, because I am thinking about it.  For the last few years, this has been a very popular topic each winter among the the art quilting groups and those who like to dye fabric.  Sounds like a way to cure the winter doldrums. So even though originally  I was not that intrigued by it, with all the snow we have been having and after spending so many days organizing my studio (although I am not done yet) and sewing sleeves onto my quilts, I decided to have a little fun.  As most of you know who have been following my blog, I do love dyeing.  So add me to the list of adventuresome fabric dyers. 

  So yesterday morning, I washed my fabric with Synthropol and then soaked it in a soda ash solution (1 Cup/gallon of water) for about 1/2 hour.  In case you have not done it before and are considering dyeing fabric, this is THE most critical step.  The soda ash changes the pH to make the dye "stick" to it.

For the dyes, I dissolved 1 Tbsp in 1/2 cup warm water.  After doing some research, I read that commercial dye mixtures were the ones to use because the colors separate with snow dyeing.  This supposedly is what gives the final product the unique coloration.  I did not use any of the pure dyes.

After soaking, I put 1/2yd pieces in the plastic containers in a loose, scrunchy kind of way. 

Then I covered them with snow.

 For the containers using 3 dyes, first I drizzled horizontally.

 Then I drizzled the second dye vertically.

And then I added the 3rd dye by drizzling it diagonally.  The first 2 containers on the left were done with 3 different dyes.  The 2 containers on the right were single dyes.

This is what the 2nd container looked like close up. I think this is beautiful.

I poured the first dye vertically.  Then I added the second dye horizontally and the third dye diagonally.

The containers were left to sit overnight at room temperature.  Surprisingly, it took over 6 hours for all the snow to melt.  In the morning, this is what I found.
The excess dye was poured off and the fabric was rinsed in cold water.  Then washed in the washing machine with Synthropol and hot water. 

And the results:
Mixture of Periwinkle, Orchid and Sky Blue
Mixture of Orange Rust, Mustard and Avocado
A lot of dye went down the drain using this method.  I thought the fabric was beautiful.  I'm not sure I would do it again, but I might if next winter leads to this copped up feeling.


  1. I think they turned out need to use them in a project!

  2. That was neat looking.
    Debbi F


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