Category Archives: procion dyes

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.  🙂



Summer time – and time for ice-dyeing


Next month, actually it’s almost next year already, I will be having the first of my ice-dyeing classes.  This type of dyeing doesn’t need to be only in summer, I have had some wonderful results in mid-winter, like this one –


Fabric before rinsing out


After washing this gorgeous piece of fabric, it became my Angel Wings quilt.


Angel Wings

Dates for my classes are weekends 7-8 January, 14-15 January, and 21-22 January.

So if you would like to create your own piece of fabric, and would like to participate in any of these classes, then  send me an email  –  dombros2 at bigpond dot com , with the date you prefer and I’ll get back to you with the details.

Day 1 will be the ice-dyeing, day 2 will be the rinsing and reveal of your fabric, followed by another technique using Procion dyes or Indigo. A fun weekend.

Here is a sample of the different designs you can produce, “It’s all in the folding”.


Thank you for reading this far, I hope you all have a happy Christmas and New Year.

Till next time 🙂


Dyeing classes for summer 2015-2016

the grass is riz, the lawn needs mowing, but to the studio is where I’m going! Apologies to whoever wrote the old phrase “Spring is sprung, the grass is riz……”

With longer days and warmer temperatures, I’m spending lots of time in my studio dyeing and painting, and I can’t wait for really warm (hot) weather to start up an indigo vat also.

Dates have been set for my dyeing classes (play days for fabriholics) .  If you are interested in any of them, leave a comment below and I’ll send you the list of requirements.

Dyeing workshops – summer 2015–2016.  Second Saturday each month

October 10 – Dyeing day with Procion MX dyes. Using pure primary colours and not-pure primary colours, we will create some stunning bright and pastel neutral shades. Cotton or silk fabrics only.

November 14 – Painting day. Hoping for a sunny day, we will do some sun dyeing, shibori painting, and sun printing using found objects as a resist. Any fabric except wool will work for this.

December 12 – Dyeing with indigo. Explore this ancient method of changing colours. Try various shibori techniques. Works with any fabrics that are light to medium in colour.

January 9 – Create a piece of fabulous art cloth. Explore various methods of transferring designs on to fabric, using rubber stamps, wood blocks, gelli plates, monoprinting, and removing colour from the fabric with discharge paste and/or bleach products.

February 13 – to be decided.

March 12 – long weekend, we may change the date.

All classes are held here in my studio at Flowerpot, 9.30am to 4pm-ish.

Dyeing silk scarves for lime design of Salamanca and Tas Craft Fair Deloraine

I probably mentioned this a few months ago that I will be having a stall again this year at the Tas Craft Fair in Deloraine.

On the weekend I received the notice that I have the same space as last year, #775 Furmage Pavilion, at the Showgrounds, just inside the door as you get off the bus.  I found this to be a good spot for me, and I am working on a ‘stunning’ quilt to hang so it draws the visitors my way immediately!  My ‘Fireworks’ quilt last year did just that.  It’s been hard to come up with something new that will have the same impact.

Dates for this year’s show are Friday to Monday 1-4 November, open times 9am to 5pm, except Monday closes at 4pm.

The other piece of exciting news I have is that I have been invited to join lime design of Salamanca, one of the galleries in Salamanca Place in Hobart, to sell my silk scarves.  It is a collective and to be a member I will be working there for a day every couple of weeks or so. I’ll tell you more as it happens, soon.

Before this happened I was busy dyeing lots of scarves to take to Deloraine, and now a lot of those scarves have been set aside for lime design, and I need to start again for Deloraine.  It’s a little over 6 weeks to go, so I will be a bit busy – that should read very busy !

Here are a few pictures of what has been happening in my studio lately.

Washed and ready for dyeing

Washed and ready for dyeing

I wanted to use Procion dyes because I like the bright colours I get, but with such a lot of scarves to dye in a short time, I decided to try the method of using procion as acid dyes and the microwave.  Instead of pre-soaking in soda ash, they were soaked in vinegar for the same time – a half hour or so – until the fibres were well saturated. Then I mixed the dye powder into solution with salt water instead of plain water.

Each scarf was in its own small container, pour the dye solution over, squish the way I wanted, maybe add another colour, lid on, then into the microwave for a couple of minutes, until any liquid in the bowl was clear.

I had quite a production line going, I was faster at preparing each scarf than the microwave was in its cooking time.  So each scarf had unintentional extra time to take up the dye which was very good for the resulting colour – it did mean that I had to add some more water before putting in the microwave so the silk wouldn’t get too hot and scorch or dry out and become brittle – I know from some past experiences on that one. 😦   And this method also means less dye wastage in the rinsing out later, clear rinsing water in the second tub.

Anyway, here is what they looked like later –

Spotty scarves drying

Spotty scarves drying

A rainbow of spotty scarves

A rainbow of spotty scarves

Satin devore silk scarves drying

Satin devore silk scarves drying

Satin devore - purple

Satin devore – purple

Satin devore - red

Satin devore – red

Satin devore - green

Satin devore – green

All lovely bright fresh colours for spring.

And it is a lovely sunny day today, could be warm by lunch time.  🙂  🙂

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

Cotton felt and Quilt Festival in Ireland

It’s all happening at last.  I’m off to Ireland in June for the International Quilt Festival of Ireland, 3 days of quilt heaven (sigh 🙂 )  I have my tickets and booked to do classes with Ineke Berlyn, a quilt artist I have long admired, and who I met when in Birmingham some 7 years ago. Only 3 months to go, and counting down …..

Meanwile, I haven’t been idle textile wise …  I have been dyeing and felting cotton batting to see if I can get similar results to the same techniques with wool batting.

soda soaking cotton backing

DSCN6978 cotton batting batching 6Feb2013

This time, being cotton, I didn’t use the microwave for the felting procedure, but with Procion MX dyes and the agitation and hot water of the washing machine, the result was a beautiful soft fabric.

When it was half dry/still a bit damp, it looked and felt like chamois (shammy), and there was quite a bit of shrinkage, so I was glad I hadn’t cut into very small pieces before dyeing.


After stitching, I lined each piece with a cotton interfacing for strength.

Don’t they look luscious …

And while I was in the mood for book covers, I used up some scraps to accompany this tie-dyed flower.

Now after all that fun, it’s back to finishing off some more fire relief quilts, counting down, only a couple left to quilt and bind.

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.