This was an experiment in teal. According to the instructions on the box, one packet of Rit dye powder should be dissolved in three gallons of water (roughly 11 litres) and is sufficient for 3 yards of fabric.
I pushed my luck and dyed 155g of cotton warp, 2 metres of cotton fabric and a bit under 2 metres of undyed calico.
I prepared the fabric by scouring it for about 30 mins in pot of simmering water mixed with soap flakes and washing soda, with the objective of enhancing the fabric’s propensity to take up the dye. It’s what I learned when I did the shibori class.
My stainless steel dye pot has a capacity of maybe 9 litres. I followed the instructions faithfully other than the too small pot. The steps were:
- Heat a pot of water to almost boiling
- Mix the dye in separately in 2 cups of very hot water
- Add the dye mixture to the hot water
- Add 1 tbsp washing liquid and 1 cup salt
- Wet the fabric and yarn
- Stir for 30 mins or until the colour looks ok
- Rinse in warm and then gradually cooler water
- Wash in warm water with mild detergent and allow to dry
- Clean the pot with a solution of bleach
I skipped step 8 and did not wash the warp yarn as I didn’t feel like handwashing it and didn’t dare risking tangles by using the washing machine. As it happens, I got plenty of tangles anyway.
The results were good on the whole and for a first attempt. There was a very small amount of spotting and streaking on the fabric and the uptake of colour on the warp was not as even as it could have been but it’s all usable. I turned some ugly fabric into usable weft fabric. The photo, sadly, isn’t quite true.
I won’t be able to reliably measure the shrinkage on the 8/4 cotton warp but would guessimate it at less than 10%. Good thing I allowed for a bit extra.
What would I do differently next time?
I wound my warp into two skeins and bound each skein with several loose figure eight knots but the dye did not penetrate well to the threads that had been enclosed by the knots. Maybe a looser knot would help or a double figure eight configuration.
How do you dye your warps?