The other day I recieved an inquiry about ice dyeing a large piece of fabric for a quilt back. It got me to thinking about how I use ice dyed fabric. While working on my year-end inventory I found several items where ice dyed fabric is used. Partly, I think, it is the contrast of whatever the focus fabric or design is to the subtle color that can arise from dyeing wth ice. There is an ethreal quality to the image, softer lines and muted color contrasting with some very sharp lines and bold color.
Ice melting on linen rayon.
One of the things I find fascinating about the ice dyed process is how the dye will travel following the melting ice. Also, how it will break into colors that define the color of the dye when fully wet. If you want to know what dye pigments your color is made from try this method. I think my favorite use of ice dyed fabric is as backing for a quilt top. I know some people just use what they have not really careing, but to me there is an aesthetic that goes along with all the hard work of piecing the quilt top. I try to use a backing that mirrors the colors in the top, or is the same as the sashing in the top, or just adds some kind of aesthetic. I don’t know about you, but my quilts get wrapped around, used as shawls, capes and tents, folded on the end of the bed or couch or chair… I want the visual of the back to be as pleasing as the front.
Whole Cloth Bedspread ice dyed in navy.
Periwinkle Blue Ice Dyed
Rail Improve Quilt
Navy Blue Ice Dyed
Rainbow Rail Quilt
Kingfisher Green Ice Dyed
I feel the same way about the inside of my hand dyed fabric bags. Ice dyed fabric for lining has a lighter feel then the exterior of the bag. It adds another layer of the uniqueness and ‘one of a kind’ attibute of my work.
There is a lot of blue here. I do lean towards that color spectrum. But here are two patches of Pagoda Red ice dyed on linen cotton for a new Baker Bag that is on the sewing table.
So visit my shop dailyhanddyedtextiles.com to see more of these creations. And have a lovely afternoon!
My friend Jan, who I am traveling with to Bali in just a few weeks… suggested we make duffle bags for the trip. She had a Betz White class from Craftsy. I bought it and we began, exchanging our progress by text other the next few months. Jan lives in Ohio. I live in Oregon.
I sent Jan the ice dyed canvas in peaches and oranges. I dyed mine in blues and purples. Here are the results:
WE have a few things to say about the construction. For the most part the instructions were easy to follow and made sense. Betz has a calming nature and made the explanation followed by video very useful.
Being my first bag of this skill level, I had to listen to class segments several times for some of the assembly parts. We both found that putting the bottom on was problematic – too many layers to sew through. There are a few things that I would differently next time, like make the iron-on fleece a tad smaller so that it was not in the final seams at the bottom.
But a fun example of what can be created with ice dyed canvas and contrasting Essex linen cotton. With hand dyed Kona Cotton for the lining. We are excited and amost ready to go!
Ice dyeing is a process of setting up the mordanted fabric and covering with ice. Then a small amount of dye powder is sprinkled on the ice. (I use a mesh tea strainer to help me sprinkle.) The tub with fabric, ice, and dye is left to its own devices and as the ice melts it carries the dye particles through the fabric and trickles down the folds and creases. The dye particles are diluted by the water that the ice makes as it melts, revealing intricate and lovely patterns.
Summer has brought us lots of hot weather. Intrigued by the patterns of ice dyeing, I set aside some studio time to explore ice dying on a variety of fabrics. The results were fabulous and very interesting. Each fabric has its own characteristics and each takes the dye a little differently.
I have found that cotton, maybe obviously, produced some of the best patterns. I assume that the fiber of cotton is more open then other fibers and thus takes the dye well. Here are my observations:
Cotton will yield some really bright colors along with subtle spaces where the dye has diluted.
Linen Cotton also lends itself well to ice dyeing.
Cotton duck (10 oz. canvas) reveals subtle patterns with intense color in places.
Linen rayon produces very soft fuzzy patterns. The color is somewhat diluted looking. It is not a look for everyone, but I think I may stencil some interest spots into the pattern. That is a whole other bog topic!
The color choicesalso, make a difference. What happens when the dye starts to run with the melted ice is a separation of the colors of dye particles that make up the dye. That was a mouthful! So look at the example: sapphire blue. What do you see? Blues, reds, lavenders? The dye has these color components to make the sapphire color when dissolved in water. As the powder is sprinkled on the ice, there is no mixing of the dye particles to make the one color of sapphire. Instead the individual components might separate, if they mix it is as the melting ice wets dye particles together. They do so at will. I find the results fascinating. Some I love, some I will cut up and use as sashing or borders in a quilt. There are endless possibilities for creativity!
There are a number of blogs and videos with steps about the process of ice dyeing. Give it a try. Let my know what you did! OR Step over to my Shop and see all the fabulous hand dyed fabrics and look for the iced dye category.