Low Water Immersion Dyeing

I tried three more shirts using the low water immersion dyeing method (mostly) as described by Paula Burch. The basic technique is

  • stuff a shirt in a jar
  • add dye(s) and just enough water to cover it
  • wait an hour for dye to move around
  • add soda ash to bind the dye to the fabric
  • wait another hour
  • done (remove shirt and rinse out dye)

Pretty simple. The results are much more random than when you use tying and folding to control the dye pattern.

The first shirt was made with a single dye called emerald green. The dye itself is a mix of other primitive colors, and this technique lets them separate a little before the fixer is applied.

For the second shirt, I put yellow dye in the bottom of the container and azure blue dye in the top. I had been working with color spaces and was imagining I would get something like the yellow-blue axis () in the CIE L*a*b* color space, but I forgot that blue and yellow would mix to make green instead.

For the third shirt, I included three colors in the immersion: magenta, yellow and lilac.

With the help of these three new shirts, I shattered last summer’s “record” of 18┬áby wearing a different tie-dye shirt for 25 days in a row. I guess I need to add 1.2 days to call it a marathon. Here’s a collage of the 25 shirts, in no particular order.

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