Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I love making my own fabric and this method is one of my all time favorites because the results are so unique and unpredictable!
Last fall I was rummaging through my stash of dye tools and I came across a 10" long haircurler - much like the ones I used to roll my hair up in when I was a teenager, except longer. I remembered using it ages ago in some sort of dyeing trial, but didn't remember the details except that the results didn't impress me. My mind began to imagine a new way to use it. This is what I did:
I took a white fat quarter and folded it so it ended up being a folded strip about 6"-7" wide. Then I rolled this strip onto the curler, being sure that the fabric favored one end of it. To secure it, I wrapped rubber bands tightly all along the fabric.
Then I placed it in a cut off water bottle, one tall enough hold liquid to cover the fabric. I placed the cylinder inside with a funnel down the center of the curler. Now I started pouring my dye solutions, followed by soda ash. I allowed a time interval between each color, perhaps 15 minutes. When full of liquid, I waited an hour or so, then I rinsed each cylinder in water and cut the bands off to see what miracles would unroll. These were beautiful!
It is up to the dyer to decide when to add the ash. Perhaps you want to dip the entire cylinder into soda ash, prior to pouring in dyes. Or start with the fabric either wet or dry. There are many variables to play around with here, as is true with all dyeing projects.
Now I have a nice array of tools for my "one piece wonders". I have purchased a variety of plastic placemats from the dollar store that I use to wrap my fabric. Actual curlers work well too. I know that some dyers are using pvc pipe with holes drilled into it. Anything that filters the liquids through the fabric will work well.
Did I say filter? One day Tom was changing our water filter in Mexico. With further inspection, I discovered that my long roller is actually the inside of the water filter. I carefully cut away the old paper casing and I had a new tool! Now all my friends and neighbors are saving them for me!
(That is, until I show them this technique and they start saving them for themselves!)
So the photos you are seeing here are taken from a "one piece wonder" day I had last week. I had a bundle of BLAH! fabric that needed help in the form of overdyeing, so I wrapped the pieces onto my filters and curlers and plastic placemats and went at it! I happily unrolled a dozen plus unique and beautiful fat quarters to add to my hand-dyed stash.

Try it, you'll like it!

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