Category Archives: hand-dyed fabrics

Ice-dyeing – “it’s all in the folding” – Part 2

As I wrote in Part 1, I had such a lot of fun with the ice-dyeing – folding fabric, placing in colanders and on racks, covering with ice and then sprinkling with dye powders, until I ran out of ice – ouch!  Weekend and local store closed early, I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow, so came up with plan B –  there was no point in wasting all that folding energy, and wicking would be a good way to use up left over liquid dyes.

I started with red – two different dyes mixed together and some poured into the bottom of a flat bowl, quickly dip the folded fabric into it, count to 5 and turn the fabric over, count to 5 again and remove to a clean bowl – leave overnight.

Wicking - various reds mixed together

Wicking – various reds mixed together

As you can see, there is a lot of white there – the fabric was folded very tight and not much liquid dye, and one of the reds separated, you can see the yellow circle.  It looked stunning on the wall.

For the next one I used 2 colours – Yellow 2R/yellow 8G mix for the first dip, and Violet RA for the second dip. This fabric was wetter than the red one above, and so the dye moved much quicker and further.

Wicking - Procion Violet RA and Yellow 2RA

Wicking – Procion Violet RA and Yellow 2RA

Some of these are two different colours, but most are of one colour made with two different dyes.

Wicking with Procion Indigo MX

Wicking with Procion Indigo MX

I love this Indigo colour, just like the real indigo without the mess, and you can get paler or darker much easier.  It is available from Dharma in the USA.

Wicking - Turquoise & Ultramarine blues

Wicking – Turquoise & Ultramarine blues

Wicking - Fuschia and Red 5B mix

Wicking – Fuschia Red 8B, and Red 5B mix

Wicking - pastel blue & purple mix

Wicking – pastel blue & purple mix

Wicking - Various yellows mixed

Wicking – Various yellows mixed

Wicking - Ruby red on only one folded edge

Wicking – Ruby red on only one folded edge

Wicking - olive green mix

Wicking – olive green and green MX mix

Wicking - Violet RA & Yellow 2RA

Wicking – Violet RA & Yellow 2RA

Close-up - Violet & Yellow wicking

Close-up – Violet & Yellow wicking

Wicking - sky blue & lime green

Wicking – sky blue & lime green

Lime green - split colour

Lime green – split colour

Close-up of lime green split

Close-up of lime green split

Wicking - sky blue & lime green

Wicking – sky blue & lime green

Close-up of sky blue & lime green wicking

Close-up of sky blue & lime green wicking

Wicking sky blue & lime green

Wicking sky blue & lime green

As you can see, wicking produces some interesting results, a bit more planned than dyeing under ice, even though the folding is the same.

The drier the fabric, the more white, and the wetter the fabric the more wicking and spreading of colour.

One dye which consistently separates is the lime green, sometimes there is more yellow and other times a hint of blue in the separation. I haven’t worked out what the catalyst is yet – sometimes it is the temperature of the water when mixing the dye in the first place, but not always, and other times I can’t work out a reason at all.

Thank you for reading this far, now it’s your turn to try out some of these techniques and leave a comment on your results below.

Keep smiling, the silly season is nearly over 🙂

A Happy New Year to all my readers.


Ice-dyeing – “it’s all in the folding” – Part 1

A few weeks ago I delved into my bucket of pre-soda-soaked cotton fabric – there’s always a few metres ready to use.  After a bit of ripping and tearing, I had enough fat quarters, half metres and bit-over-a-metre-squares, for a whole day’s dyeing.

Some fabric was still damp, so it was easy to fold, and the really dry pieces were dunked back into the soda ash.  A while later I had a basket ready for dyeing.

Fabric parcels ready to go

Fabric parcels ready to go

I am a great fan of the mandala, especially the kaleidoscopic designs.  Ice-dyeing is a quick and easy way to achieve them. It’s all in the folding ….

There are plenty of books available for fabric folding as well as videos on u-tube, so I won’t go into it here.

Place the fabric parcel in a colander or similar, suspended over a bucket, cover with ice blocks (e.g. party ice), and then sprinkle dry dye powder (Procion MX dyes) over the ice which is above the fabric, one, two or three colours will give you an amazing kaleidoscope.  Every piece will be a wonderful surprise, there are no bad results, only very different from what you thought possible.  Experiment, experiment, experiment….

Ice over fabric

Dyes sprinkled over ice and fabric

Dyes sprinkled over ice and fabric

Leave until ice melts, batch overnight and  next day rinse in the usual way – voila –

Kaleidoscopic mandala

The one above is a largish piece, a bit over the metre square, but the ones below are all fat quarters. The dyes used in the purple fabrics were Violet RA and Aubergine, mixed together dry, and sprinkled over.  One of them split the pale blue, very pretty.

The dyes used in the green fabric were olive, lichen and green MXG, mixed dry. In the bottom 3 fabrics, I used lime, lichen and yellow 2RA, mixed dry, fabric is actually more yellowy then the photo shows.



At this point I ran out of ice, and being a Sunday afternoon, the local store closes early, so what to do now?  Plan B is in the next post.

Till then, keep smiling.  🙂


Happy new year – and summer sale

Happy new year to everyone – may 2016 be a good year for you  🙂

The holidays are just about over and it is back to work again. 
I am having a fabric sale for the month of January –
Open daily Tuesdays to Fridays 10am to 4pm
30% – 50% off all fabrics – prices starting at $10/m.
to make way for lots of new fabrics due end of January.
Books, rulers, kits, threads, and haberdashery are also discounted.
Bundles of hand-dyes, bags of off-cuts.
Special prices for end-of-rolls.
Hand-dyed silk, wool, and cotton scarves are included in sale.
Flowerpot Quilts, 3947 Channel Highway, Flowerpot.
Ph 04 38  674  900.
contact email :- sue  @  quilts to dye for dot com.


Deloraine Craft Fair

Today is day 3 of the Craft Fair at Deloraine.  This is half of my stall, with my new quilt on the far right. On the left is the table with hand-dyed fabrics and my diaries and notebooks.

I would love to show a few more pics of the other stalls here, but there is not much internet coverage here where I am to upload large files…. and an update of my tablet has changed so many things, so I have lost emails and photos,  and google has taken over just about everything, and I cannot do anything without asking it’s permission, or that’s what it seems like !!
Oh, to have my laptop here instead.
Keep smiling 🙂

Deloraine Craft Fair and Tasmanian Art Quilt Prize

Only eight more sleeps before I head off to Deloraine for the Tasmanian Craft Fair, four days for the visiting public to see hundreds of wonderful talented artisans and craftspeople who are there showing off their art.

The countdown has started.  All my scarves have been washed and ironed and are hanging on clothes airers until it is time to pack them in boxes early next week. Later I leave them, the less fold marks will show when they are hanging.

scarves all pressed and ready

scarves all pressed and ready

The box of journals and small handbags are packed, hand-dyed fat quarters are colour co-ordinated in their baskets.

Usually there are hessian walls separating the stalls, but this year the powers that be decided to do away with the hessian and let us make our own walls!  Yes, I have mine all made, with a little bit of help from DD who sat on the other side of the table to hold the fabric as it went through the sewing machine, all 6 metres of it in length, by 2metres in height, and that’s just the back wall, the side walls are each 2.5metres long.

That just leaves the quilt to finish …. I started it on Monday with a bit of painting, bright splashes on a black cotton sateen background (it has a lovely sheen to it) –

and today got to work on the sewing machine –

That’s just a taster, you’ll have to wait until I have it finished before anymore photos to show.

Meanwhile, last Thursday evening, the winners of the Tasmanian Art Quilt Prize 2013  ‘What a Site’, were announced – Winner is Sandra Champion of Hobart with her quilt ‘From the Cove’, and Kath Wilkinson of NSW with her quilt ‘Traces‘.  The exhibition of the quilts is in the Bond Store Basement Gallery of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart, and is open daily until Sunday 3 November.

Sandra Champion's 'From the Cove'

Sandra Champion’s ‘From the Cove’

Kath Wilkinson's 'Traces'

Kath Wilkinson’s ‘Traces’

I hope some of my readers are able to visit the gallery to see these wonderful art quilts.

Markets and Dyeing to Felt

It’s been quite a while since I last wrote here. I’ve been home from my travels for some weeks I know, but I have been busy, first getting results of our quilt exhibition (which was the weekend we returned home) on to the Tasmanian Quilting Guild’s website, and other committee things for the guild as well. I will be putting up on a separate page some of my 2000 photos I took while in Europe, and including quilts from the festival in Ireland, soon.

Markets are happening every couple of weeks for me again, even though it is still winter they are popping up everywhere. I have been to Kingston Beach Handmade Market twice, back to Snug market (which was not good at all for me), and of course to the Tas Quilting Guild’s Friendship Day in Launceston, which is always a wonderful day for everyone there – members, friends, and traders alike.

Fabrics, threads & books at Friendship Day

Fabrics, threads & books at Friendship Day

KBHM market table

KBHM market table

Selection of scarves at Kingston Beach market

Selection of scarves at Kingston Beach market

All these markets have meant getting back to work quickly as stock in some areas is dwindling.  My dyed and felted cotton journals (which sell for $18.50) have all gone and only a couple of small ones (selling at $15.00) are left. Here are a couple of pieces of cotton felt.  The one with squares was indigo dyed a long time ago, and as the dye didn’t take very well to the dry cotton, I overdyed it with colour and it looks so good now. The cotton felt just soaks up the procion dyes so easily, whereas the indigo … well, I’m not sure …

Dyed cotton felt

Dyed cotton felt

Over-dyed cotton felt

Over-dyed cotton felt

The Guild’s challenge for 2013 is “Birds”, and I have painted some fabric which looks like feathers.  I took some to the Friendship Day last Saturday  as a sample, and before I could make the announcement that I had the fabric, it all sold except one piece – so when the sun comes out again, I’ll be painting some more feathers.

Feather fabric before ironing

Feather fabric before ironing

Feather fabrics after ironing

Feather fabrics after ironing

In the meantime, here are a couple of photos from last week.

Snow on Mt Wellington

Snow on Mt Wellington

Spectacular sunrise over the Channel

Spectacular sunrise over the Channel

I made a cake for my youngest daughter’s birthday last week, and put 21 or 22 raspberries around the top – (I couldn’t count to 40 could I?)  Absolutely no calories worth speaking about, and it was demolished in seconds !  🙂

Jen's birthday cake

Jen’s birthday cake

Keep smiling

Setting up at Deloraine Craft Fair

After a very wet start to the day, and rain all the way to Deloraine, 4 hours drive, the sun came out late in the day, hopefully a good omen for tomorrow.

Usually I stop in Campbell Town for a quick lunch when travelling north, but we decided to stop in Ross instead – able to park in front of the little cafe, instead of walking a distance in the rain at Campbell Town.  To cut a long story short, we sat in the car for lunch in front of the Scotch Thistle Inn, which had this magnificent specimen of wisteria, trained to look like a tree –

Wisteria tree in front of the Scotch Thistle Inn at Ross

By the time we reached Deloraine, the rain had eased and the sun came out.  Three hours later and my stall is all set up and waiting for the first visitors early tomorrow morning.  This is what you see when you walk in the door to the pavilion –

This is what greets you as you step in the door to the pavilion

I have a large strip light above, and the sun streams in through the clear roof, nice and bright.  This is the view back to the other end of my space –

Looking the other way

Not a good photograph, the camera didn’t like all the bright light, and my little spotlight looks like a torch in the night.

My ladies are now dressed in co-ordinating colours and outfits

You can actually see the tree in the quilt, the light is just right

My Fireworks and Tall Timbers quilts.  The tree is very hard to see in many situations, because of the organza overlay which reflects back any bright light, but here it is just right.

This lovely piece of art cloth will be draped along the front of the table tomorrow.

Piece of art cloth about 1m square

Hoping to see some of you over the weekend, keep smiling.  🙂

More procion dyeing results

Last weekend we had another basic learning to dye class using Procion dyes, and as usual we had a ball, not only did everyone enjoy the day but they had some great fabrics to take home.

We started the day with grading one primary colour, I demonstrated with red

Grading red to pink

Then using the other 2 primaries to make secondary colours.

Blue to green to yellow

With some of the left over weak dyes we made some lovely pastel neutrals

Pastel neutrals

After the weekend, I had to use up the left overs as there were many cups with little bits in them.

This fabric was folded and sat upright in the cup and left overnight. You can see how the dye soaked its way up the fabric even to the folds.

soaking up some aubergine dye

When washed out it looked like this

Aubergine soaked fabric

and the closeup with fine markings

Another piece was folded in triangles and dipped in 3 separate dishes – dilute lemon yellow, dilute fuschia and still plenty of colour diluted aubergine

Draining excess dye from folded fabric

And this is what it looked like rinsed out

Rinsed out triangular folded fabric

And another piece using the same 3 colours, but folded differently

Soft colours

And lastly the left over fuschia, moroccan red, weak yellow and blue on a 1.5m piece.

Red leftovers with lemon & blue

I already have a quilt in mind for this piece of fabric

Leftover results

Closeup of fabric

After finishing ironing all these fabrics, I went back to trimming the flying geese for my drunkards path quilt’s border, should be ready to show next week.

New page – Flowerpot Quilts

I have just now posted a new page here labelled Flowerpot Quilts.  It is a quick look at everything in my shop as of today.

My Flowerpot Quilts advertising sign

Next thing is to get my website professionally upgraded, and it’s happening.

Day 1 of the Channel Art Trail

A warm sunny day, and lots of people came down the Channel to see the exhibitions and artists’ studios.

Here at Flowerpot, we had plenty of visitors who came to check us out.  This picture shows a couple of ladies looking at the bags in Jen’s “studio space”, with Jen working on another of her lovely creations.

Visitors in Marcato studio space

On the back wall of my studio are some of my favourite quilts. In the centre and right of the picture is part of my Flowerpot Quilts shop, and some silk scarves hanging right in front.

Back wall of my studio

After having several enquiries today about dyeing , I think  it’s time to start my classes again, and get organised for the coming summer.  I’ll let you know soon.