Snow Dyeing – What Fun!

Posted March 2nd, 2014 by Ellen and filed in Dyeing Tips, My Photography, My Work, Tutorials

Snow Yellow GreenSummer Garden

Snow Purple Blue DetSummer Sky

Note:  Fabrics have  been pressed.  Some may show a fold line.

Snow Dye Storm Sky Stormy Sky

Snow sunsetSunset

Snow Dye Rust BlueCrab Chowder

Snow Dye Screen 2

Fabric “batching” on an elevated screen.  Nearly all the snow has melted after 36 hours.

Here are more of the fabrics I snow-dyed recently.  Hard to believe we had 10″ of snow a couple of weeks ago.  Today was sunny and warm, and the daffodils are in bloom

Here’s my method for snow dyeing:    Be sure to wear a mask, preferably a respirator, and gloves when working with dyes.  Make sure utensils and containers are for dyeing only!  Do not grab something from the kitchen to use.   Mix a solution of nine (9) T. soda ash to one (1) gallon warm to hot water.   Let soak at least 30 minutes.  Wring out fabric and use wet, or let dry to use later. Manipulate fabric as desired by folding, pleating, scrunching, twirling and twisting.  Lay fabric on an old screen suspended over containers to catch dye run-off.  Cover with snow.  Using Proxion Fiber Reactive dyes, available from www.prochemicalanddye.com  in solution or in powder form, pour or sprinkle desired colors on top of snow.  Try to remember where your fabrics are placed for more accurate color planning.  I chose blue, golden yellow and pagoda red.  I regretted using pagoda red, as it has a lot of orange in it, causing a rust or brown effect when it mixes with blue.  I’ll use care next time to choose a true red.

I let my fabrics “batch” until the snow had completely melted.  Then they were rinsed many times prior to a machine wash with 2 T. Synthrapol (available from ProChem or Mary Jo’s Cloth Store near Charlotte) and hottest water.  Toss a Color Catcher in with the final rinse to ensure excess dye has been removed.  Damp dry fabrics and then press with a hot iron.  Enjoy!

The folks at ProChem have an excellent website which includes instructions for many types of dyeing.  For those on the west coast, check https://www.dharmatrading.com/ –  another very good source.

If you try this type of dyeing, follow safety precautions and have fun!  I stashed several gallons of snow in our freezer and will have another “snow day” soon.

Making Do

Posted December 13th, 2012 by Ellen and filed in Dyeing Tips, Holidays, My Work, Quilting Tips, Vintage


Vintage textiles and sewing goods have always been loves of mine.  I’ve  collected them for decades.  Amongst my stash of wares is a box full of cording, twill tape, rayon spools, rick rack and bias binding. This year, I’m making a few small Christmas gifts, but wasn’t pleased with my fabrics at hand for finishing.  Admittedly, I really didn’t want to search for and make binding from scratch either, thinking it would take too much time.  My solution?  Sacrifice a couple packages from my vintage collection and paint them with a wash.  I’m very pleased with the results!  Back in the day, Wright’s binding was made from a very nice cotton with a crisp hand.  It turned out exactly as I’d imagined.

My method:

1.  Moisten bias binding* and wring out.  Wrinkles are desirable.

2.  Shake out binding slightly and place in small plastic bag.

3.  Add a small amount of watered down fabric paint.  I used one made for silk.

4.  Squeeze bag, making sure paint gets on all areas of the binding.  Light areas are fine, as is an uneven tie-dye look.

5.  Lay slightly wrinkled binding on plastic or waxed paper to dry.  Press prior to use.

*I used vintage, 100%  white cotton.

Have fun!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted February 14th, 2011 by Ellen and filed in Dyeing Tips, Exhibitions, Quilt Events


Heart Strings

30″ square

I created this small collage quilt following our son’s  second open-heart surgery.  “Heart Strings” was exhibited as a healing quilt in the Sacred Threads show curated by Vikki Pignatelli in  Reynoldsburg, OH.  www.vikkipignatelli.com

Quilt Information: Appliqued collage, raw silk,  DMC  flower threads, charms,

hand-dyed cotton sateen by Judy Robertson.  Read more about Judy here:

http://creativehandstudio.blogspot.com/2010/06/innovative-dye-techniques-with-judy.html

Hope everyone is having a lovely Valentine’s day!  Thrifting Mondays

will be on Tuesday this week.  xoxox


Dyeing Wool

Posted November 10th, 2009 by Ellen and filed in Dyeing Tips
Original Wool

Dyed Wool

I’ve stockpiled a lot of wool over the years. Last week I overdyed some of it with Kool-Aid. This piece was done in strawberry. I love the transformation!

I did a google search and found several recipes. Next – Easter egg dye. Yes, I have it. Y’all should know by now I never throw anything away.

Sod House Memories

Posted October 18th, 2007 by Ellen and filed in Canada, Dyeing Tips, Other Artists, Personal

Sod House Memories, copyright 1972 – Frances Jacobs Alberts This book was invaluable to us in our research.

The portion written by my father’s cousin, Ava Speese Day, is used by Dr. Quintard Taylor in his History 313 class at the University of Washington. See his website: blackpast.org