Ice Dyed Duffel Bags for Bali

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:IMG_5225_preview.jpeg

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Jan's Duffel Bag.jpg

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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!

summer fun, ice dyeing

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 choices also, 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.

 

Dyeing in denim.

The last month has seen a number of custom requests for my dyed 10 ounce bull denim, so last week I embarked on a series of experiments with the denim. I folded several pieces using shibori and itijame methods. I also wondered what ice dying heavy fabric would do. Off we went on this experiment. I choose four colors: indigo blue, Pagoda Red, an emerald-green and a jade green. I had done a few yards in indigo blue and in a black, also a charcoal gray.

I was pleasantly surprised with the new colors. The blue was fabulous – lovely irregular stripes. The red piece in 3″ itijame squares just popped! The greens were pinned and tied more intensely than the other two pieces. This resulted in softer, more ethereal color.

Having gotten the shibori pieces under way and in the dye bath I set some fabric up for ice dying. As I had a piece of cotton duck from another project, I decided to see what it would do in the ice too. I must say the cotton duck is marvelous. The denim is softer and more muted. There are many reasons for any of these results. It will take further experiments to determine what works best for me!