Thursday, 3 April 2014

"It looks like something dyed in there!"

So following "The Quest For the Crossover Crinkle" there came the "Dyeing of the Crossover Crinkle". Or as I like to call it, "Making the Garage Resemble an Abattoir".

The pink crinkle cotton and the burnt orange linen needed to be dyed a rusty brown, so brown dye with differing levels of reddy tones had been purchased. I had also bought myself a large plastic tub approximately the size of a small bathtub. This was actually designed for mixing plaster and was bought from a builders' supply yard! I would recommend a similar setup for anyone wishing to hand-dye material. A larger surface area always yields better results and having previously done most of my dyeing in the kitchen sink I can say the difference is noticeable.

So at the point we started at, we had two very different shades of material, shown here with flash (left) and without (right):

As I explained in the earlier post, my first step was to try and get them closer by dyeing the pink cotton terracotta and the orange linen rosewood red.

Dyeing fabric in the plaster tub was a larger scale job than my previous experiences of dyeing a tshirt or pair of shorts in the sink. For a start it can't be filled from the tap so I filled it with the necessary 6 litres of 40 degree water by filling it with two kettle loads of boiled water and two of cold tap water. Then the dye goes in, dissolved in a jug of warm water, plus a small bucket load of salt (which completely eradicated our supply and resulted in some pretty bland cooking until the next grocery shop.) Of course I also took it upon myself to spill a portion of red dye on the garage floor so when the gardeners passed through the next day they must have been convinced we were slaughtering livestock in there.

The overall result of the larger dyeing receptacle is a shallower body of water with large surface area, so the fabric can spread out and dye more evenly. I did have to fold the fabric over on itself a few times but was sure to unfold, re-fold, and rearrange the material on the surface of the water as many times as was practical so as to get the most even result.

I also threw the peasant skirt in with the rosewood for half an hour to give it a warmer tone.

The end result has evened the fabrics out considerably here shown with flash (left) and without (right):

The difference shows up a lot more with the flash on, but as this was at close quarters I decided to take another photo with the flash from a greater distance to see how it might photograph indoors at a convention or similar:

The overall effect isn't bad but the colours I think need to be browner and a little less rich. In natural light they still show up very... well, orange. The next phase will be, I think, to over-dye with a darker brown to calm them down a bit, and quite possibly get them a shade closer. I know a perfect match will be impossible but let's see what we can get with a little perseverance and another bath full of salt and chemicals!

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