Tuesday, July 10, 2012
I'm a little late on the ice dyeing craze, and this may seem like a strange time to do it, but I finally made time to try it. I read about snow dyeing several years ago and thought it sounded interesting, although not very practical for someone who lives in a warm climate. Ice dyeing makes more sense, and summer is actually a good time, because the mess can stay outside.
The nudge to do this came when I was invited to participate in a friend's booth at the American Sewing Guild conference in August. She invited me to sell my books and DVDs and said that fat quarters would be great, too. Ice dyeing seemed the perfect way to create unique fabric for fat quarter sets.
After doing an internet search, I realize there are many variations. I chose to work with the dyes in their powdered state rather than mixing them into a liquid. I placed a tarp on the ground outside and used a plastic grid from a commercial light fixture to raise the fabric out of the melting ice/dye. I didn't document the process, but I'm doing more later this week, so I'll take photos of my setup. At that time I'll also give more detail about the process I used.
I am pleased with the results, although I have to admit that while it was in process I was not impressed. I had read some comments that the results are similar to what you get with low water immersion dyeing. I found a significant difference. The patterning is hard to describe, but it has a distinctive look. Here are my results (I used Dharma Bronze and ProChem Tobacco on all these pieces):
This is a full and detail shot of a piece of silk dobby noil (from Thai Silks). It is a wonderful fabric and it took the ice dyeing beautifully.
This is a heavy-weight cotton. See how much difference in how the colors took?
This is silk habotai, and it was underneath the two previous fabrics to catch the dye as it dripped down. This looks like a typical low water immersion dye.
This is also cotton, and it was dry when I placed the ice cubes on top. The other fabrics were all wet.
This piece was underneath the plastic grid to catch the drips from the previous cloth.
Have you tried ice and snow dyeing? What was your experience?