2.18.2009

A reason to want snow

Last week I went to my first PAQA meeting--it's only about a half hour from my house, but somehow I'd either been busy or the weather was awful since I moved here. A good time was had by all.

Karen Hampton came all the way from my in-laws' home town of Evansville, Indiana, to get there. And she brought great things--fabric and shirts she had snowed dyed during their recent storm. One of the shirts came home with me.

I had been reading about snow dyeing online, but hadn't tried it. One useful tutorial is on Bunks' Blog, page down and see the pictures. From what I understood Karen to say, they approach it somewhat differently. Both presoak the fabric in soda ash. The blog writer scoops up snow and squirts liquid Procion MX dye on it. Karen, and I, mixed the dye powder into the snow.

The liquid method is probably a little safer because the only time Procion is really a hazard is when it is in powder form and inhalable. But I don't think you'd get some of the effects I got with the powder.

I laid my still wet fabrics in a shallow plastic tub, then went and scooped up snow in a bowl. I added a small amount of dye powder, and found the best way to mix it in was with my gloved hand. Then I sprinkled the colored snow over the fabrics. I used two different colored large batches of snow, spreading them around randomly. Then I mixed a small bowl of accent color and selectively added it. Next came the hard part, waiting overnight.

By morning the snow was melted, so I washed the fabrics as usual. They came out pretty cool, especially since I had chosen the colors by what I just had little bits left of. Here's a close up:



The haloing of color (the turquoise at the edges of the magenta) is something I haven't seen very often in dyeing--maybe it's the temperature slowing down the reaction, maybe it's the use of undissolved powder, maybe it's the snow. It's a pretty cool effect.

So will this become my primary way of dyeing? Probably not. Will I do it again? For sure. But hopefully I won't be able to play with it again until next winter...

That is all.

2 comments:

Ann said...

I am particularly fond of the piece that came in the mail today. Thanks!

Ann

kathy said...

This sort of gives one pause about Procion dyes needing 70 degrees, which is what I teach in classes. Do you think there is a difference in how it acts with cold?